August 26, 2012

Speak Better By Looking At Your Voice With Audacity

by Promod Sharma, CC

To improve your speaking, record your voice and listen to the playback later. You probably know this.

Recording is easy and inexpensive. You can use your smartphone or a portable recorder. A video camera is even better because you see yourself too.

Audio Only

When you speak in person , your physical presence helps communicate your message. Foibles get overlooked.

On radio or in a podcast, your voice is much more important. Mistakes become more glaring. Listening to yourself helps but watching the waveforms in your voice is even more helpful.

Be Audacious

Record yourself with Audacity, a free application that works on Windows, Mac and Linux. The installation is easy. If your computer doesn’t have a built-in microphone, you’ll need to get one. A desktop mic feels more natural than using a headset.A USB mic is easier to setup and has higher quality.


You can monitor the audio while you speak but this can be distracting. Instead, record yourself for a few minutes. You could read one of your speeches or an article. If you’re good at speaking impromptu, simply talk.

In the beginning, the microphone may be intimidating. I'd forget to breathe. You'll get better with practice.


After you finish, watch the screen as you listen to the playback. You’ll be able to see when you take a breath. You’ll see if your volume decreases as your lungs run out of air. You’ll see if you speak louder at some points such as the start of a sentence.


As you master recording with Audacity, start editing. This is good practice if you want to learn video editing later. What do you do with the recordings? You could to create a podcast.


Promod Sharma records a weekly podcast, Riscario Radio. There are over 180 episodes. You’ll find them on the Internet Archive, iTunes or the Riscario Insider blog.

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