Sound Advice: Three Ways To Ensure Your Voice Doesn't Fail You Onstage Frog in your throat? Cat got your tongue? Regardless of the animal you want to put the blame on, having a moment where your voice fails you onstage can be a nightmare to many.

By Anna Roberts

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Frog in your throat? Cat got your tongue? Regardless of the animal you want to put the blame on, having a moment where your voice fails you onstage can be a nightmare to many. It can happen to anyone- but only a polished and rehearsed speaker can recover! Here's your chance to know better and do better next time you find yourself struggling to get words out, nail that difficult pronunciation and give your voice a chance to convey depth, meaning and impact.

1. Avoid eating or drinking beforehand

Just like you wouldn't eat a big meal right before exercising, you don't want to be chowing down right before you get on stage. Having a balanced meal a few hours before a presentation will line your stomach, help settle nerves and regulate blood sugar- but it can wreck havoc on your voice and throat. Dairy products in particular can line your throat with mucus, making it harder to sound concise and clear. Nuts on the other hand can get stuck in teeth even after you've brushed, and move around while you're talking, or worse, tickle your throat. The other foods to look out for are citrus fruits that dry your mouth, while foods high in salt can also do the same.

2. Practice the Rainbow Passage

This is a technique that is used by speech therapists around the world to cover all the sounds used in the English language. But it includes some fun things that many other reading passages don't, like the syllabic m in "prism' and the syllabic l in 'Aristotle'. It's helpful to read through the Rainbow Passage as a warm up prior to getting on stage or once a week, in order to see where your tongue needs to hit to produce certain sounds or amount of air you need to amplify syllables.

"When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act as a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Throughout the centuries people have explained the rainbow in various ways. Some have accepted it as a miracle without physical explanation. To the Hebrews it was a token that there would be no more universal floods. The Greeks used to imagine that it was a sign from the gods to foretell war or heavy rain. The Norsemen considered the rainbow as a bridge over which the gods passed from earth to their home in the sky. Others have tried to explain the phenomenon physically. Aristotle thought that the rainbow was caused by reflection of the sun's rays by the rain. Since then physicists have found that it is not reflection, but refraction by the raindrops, which causes the rainbows.

Many complicated ideas about the rainbow have been formed. The difference in the rainbow depends considerably upon the size of the drops, and the width of the colored band increases as the size of the drops increases. The actual primary rainbow observed is said to be the effect of super-imposition of a number of bows. If the red of the second bow falls upon the green of the first, the result is to give a bow with an abnormally wide yellow band, since red and green light when mixed form yellow. This is a very common type of bow, one showing mainly red and yellow, with little or no green or blue."

3. Practice your phonetics

You don't want to be tripping over important names or titles of people when you're up on stage, so the best way to give your mind a step by step guide to getting through it is to rehearse beforehand and write out phonetically.

Studying the way a word sounds not only helps with your ability to communicate accurately; it also helps you remember the words because it ties the words to muscle memory. As your mouth moves to sound out a word, your muscles are learning those words as much as your brain is learning the word. Writing down words over and over again you increase your ability to remember the word, and lastly, constantly rereading the word helps you concentrate on pronunciation. A few websites to help you nail that pronunciation include, and

Anna Roberts

Founder and Managing Director, Nudge

Anna Roberts, a radio and TV presenter in Dubai, is the founder of Nudge, a communications advisory specializing in public speaking and media training. Anna has interviewed the worlds most high profile sports stars and corporate leaders and believes that business success stems from authentic and effective communication.

Her belief is that everyone should have the tools and confidence to give their ideas a voice, from entrepreneurs pitching for investment through to keynote presentations.

See her work across print regional publications and online on her website where she discusses everything from how to handle a media scrum through to elevating your confidence on stage. Visit and talk to her on Twitter @ImAnnaRoberts #TheNudgeEffect.

Related Topics


Who, What, Where and Wine Are the 4 Keys to a Great Launch Party

Few people will think your product sucks when the party includes an open bar.

Money & Finance

How to Make Money Online: 10 Proven Ways to Make Money Online

Need to know how to make money online as a side gig or new career? Check out this breakdown of the 10 top online money-making methods.

Business News

'I'm Not a Very Good Businessman': Kevin Costner Is Risking a Ton of His Own Money on New Project

The "Yellowstone" star discussed how he bankrolled his new epic movies — and his accountant isn't happy.


Chris Hemsworth Used to Bomb Auditions. Then This Mindset Shift Made Him a Movie Star, and the Founder of a $200 Million Startup.

The Australian actor won't let himself forget where he came from, and what the point of success is.


If You Want to Be an Industry Leader, Be an Industry Innovator. Here's How to Inspire Innovation in Your Business.

Innovation isn't just about making something new; it's about improving something.

Thought Leaders

10 Lessons I Learned as Someone Who Has Spent 10 Years Running a Business

If you're starting or growing your business, these ten tips are essential.