Renee Grant-Williams, voice coach to the country stars, offered these tips at the Master Class for Singers. I think they are equally applicable to speakers:

1. Breathe from below your belt. Yes, we’ve all heard about speaking from the diaphragm, but forgive me as I don’t have a medical degree. I don’t know where the diaphragm is. I know where my belt it. Thank you Renee! My voice is deeper and has a fuller timbre when I remember to use this simple technique.

2. The public expects you to be bigger than life. This might fly in the face of people who suggest speakers relate as peers to their audiences. I think both ideas are valid. I’d just like to think that when Tom Peters speaks, I want to walk away saying WOW instead of “he’s just like me.”

3. Smile. “I never have to teach people to frown,” she says. I LOVE that line!!!

4. Before you sing, think about WHO is singing the song, WHO she is singing to and WHAT is she feeling. Since most country music involves telling a story, this is phenomenal advice. As speakers, I think the parallel is apt, as we frequently tell stories to illustrate points. Renee’s format helps put us in place and time so we relive the story, not just re-tell the story.

You can learn more about Renee at