12 Easy 5-Minute Vocal Exercises to Improve Your Speech

December 14, 2022

5 min read

A man with dark skin and curly, dark brown hair practices vocal exercises with his right arm raised.

We’ve all heard (or delivered!) a truly moving speech that invoked a wide range of emotions. Or a well-researched analytical speech whose depth of data, and confident tone left listeners in awe. However, if you step back and think, do these people just get up and boom, an excellent speech is ready? Or does it take hours, days, weeks, or even months to prepare for it? Most likely that they’ve practiced vocal exercises for months.

Yoodli’s blog on vocal exercises that improve speech will provide you with a tailor-made list of exercises you can use to get your vocal muscles up and rearing before that speech. If you’re reading this, you most likely know what you’re going to talk about, and have a rough framework set in your head, but you’re looking for some last-minute exercises to get an edge.

Vocal Exercises

Would Michael Jordan make so many game-winning shots without warming up before matches? Would Usain Bolt set world records without stretching his muscles before races? Probably not. Similarly, you need to warm up your vocal muscles in order to ace that upcoming presentation or meeting!

What is vocal exercise? Vocal exercises are short drills to help you warm up your voice and body before speaking, and they’re key in making sure you are performing to the best of your abilities when it’s crunch time! Here are some vocal exercises you should try before your speech along with links that have specific instructions on how to do each of them:

How to Use AI to Practice Vocal Exercises

You can record yourself doing these exercises and see how you did on Yoodli! Yoodli’s AI-backed speech coach allows you to upload yourself doing these drills and get real-time feedback on how you did, areas you need to work on, and advice on body language.

You can also learn statistics such as the percentage of eye contact you’re making, the number of filler words or non-inclusive words you have used, and pace variation in your speech. 

It can be helpful to practice a few vocal exercises on Yoodli before your speech.

Practicing vocal exercises on Yoodli before your speech is a great way to get more comfortable. Of course, you can also practice your full speech with this AI-powered communication coach for best results. The actionable feedback Yoodli provides can set you apart from others.

Fun Vocal Exercises before Your Speech

About 73% of the population suffers from stage fright, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. This makes it the most commonly cited fear in the eyes of the public. Thus, it is important to refurbish this anxiety into excitement (Harvard Business Review)! Try these fun exercises to get some adrenaline flowing through those veins and allow yourself to let loose before this seemingly daunting task:

  • Yawn-Sigh technique: Try yawning and sighing simultaneously for a few minutes. This will stretch those jaw muscles and also help you with the pronunciation of words.
  • Say anything: Pick a word, like Yoodli, and find creative ways of saying it. Elongate word pronunciations, incorporate sudden changes in tone and loudness, get really high pitched for a part of the word, or really low pitched for another. This will help you get those tongue muscles ready and raring to go.
  • Sing a nursery rhyme: It sounds silly, but that’s the point! Sing the ABCs multiple times at varying paces. This will help you loosen up and prepare your throat for the speech as well.

If you want to listen to yourself do these vocal exercises, to see how you did, or maybe just for a laugh, you can record yourself on Yoodli. This is a judgment-free zone where you can work with our AI speech coach and improve.

5-minute vocal exercise games

Thespians before getting on stage famously indulge in physical and vocal games that help them get into character. Similarly, you can try these short games to get yourself calm and composed before your speech:

  • Impromptu speaking: One of the best ways to get yourself ready before a speech is to speak on random topics beforehand. This gets the speaking juices flowing without the pressure of sounding well-researched and authoritative. If you can’t get someone to make these topics up, you can try this game on Yoodli, where you can get instant feedback on your performance!
  • HAM (Half-A-Minute): Try speaking on various topics and see whether you can speak for 30 seconds without using any filler words or breaking the flow of your sentence! This may sound easy, but it is an extremely effective way to reduce filler words in speech. You can try this on the Yoodli website here, and see how many tries it takes you to ace this!
  • Metaphor mania: Try giving yourself a phrase and come up with metaphors or similes to explain yourself. Like “He is brave” could become “he is a lion” (metaphor) or “he is brave like a lion” (simile). See how many you can do within 30 seconds!

These games will not only help your speech but also the way you think. One of the things public speakers struggle with is on-spot thinking. These exercises are made to help you with that and make you a better thinker, problem-solver, and communicator.

Breathe before your speech

Calming down those nerves is really important before delivering your speech, according to Harvard Business Review. Take these last 30 seconds before your speech to get composed and set. Try the following breathing exercise:

  • Cover your right nostril, and breathe in.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds.
  • Breathe out with the other nostril.
  • Repeat this three to four times.

This vocal exercise will help you get centered and deliver the speech you’ve been working for.

The Bottom Line on Vocal Exercises

Now that you know what to do before your next speech, head on to Yoodli every time you need to practice and get those vocal muscles up and going before a speech, presentation, or meeting.

You can also record yourself practicing your speech and note all the feedback our AI-speech coach has to offer! Use Yoodli’s transcription tool to make sure what you’re saying is clear and understandable.

Lastly, just remember to be calm and composed before your speech and to speak slowly and clearly. You got this!


Start practicing with Yoodli.

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