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12 Vocal Warm Ups For Meetings, Speeches, and Presentations

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Voice plays a vital role in presentations, shaping how the audience interprets the speaker and the message. One fascinating study1 showed that different voice qualities influenced listeners’ perception of personality traits—in other words, your voice matters!

If you’ve ever spoken up in a meeting or given a presentation or speech, you need an essential vocal warm-up exercise.

Watch our video below to learn 5 vocal warm-up exercises before meetings, speeches, and presentations:

How your voice is used, including variations in pitch, tone, and emphasis, can create a positive vibe of energy and interest in the audience, making the presentation more engaging and impactful.

Now, let’s unlock the potential of your voice for meetings, speeches, and presentations with 12 effective vocal warm-up exercises in this guide. Prepare your voice for success!

Why Are Vocal Warm-Ups Necessary?

Vocal warm-ups are essential. Just like athletes warm up before a game. They prepare your voice, boost quality, and enhance confidence and clarity.

Most people think vocal warm-up exercises are only crucial for singers. Wrong! Every professional should be using vocal warm ups:

I want to teach you all of my vocal warm up exercises. Watch the video above to see them in action, and try them with me.

Here’s the Problem:

We often prepare for our first few lines of a speech or meeting, but we rarely think about how we deliver those lines.

You can say the most significant line in the world, but if you sound nervous, your message is ruined!

I do a vocal warm up exercise before every presentation, meeting or speech where I speak for more than a few minutes. Here are the 12 vocal warm-up exercises you can try:

5-Minute Vocal Warm-Ups

A 5-minute vocal warm-up is perfect for when you have a little preparation time before your speech or presentation.

  • Allocate 5 minutes before your speech or presentation to complete this warm-up routine.
  • Find a quiet space to focus and perform the exercises without distractions.
  • Avoid rushing through the warm-up; take your time to benefit fully.

#1 Loosen Up and Shush

The first thing you want to do is loosen up. Wiggle your shoulders, relax your neck, release your jaw, and take deep breaths. This helps you shake out excess nerves and creates more space in your body. This is important to ensure you don’t sound anxious or tight.

Now, take some deep belly breaths. The trick here is not to breathe with your shoulders–keep them down as you live; good vocal breathing is all in the belly. Try this:

  • As you breathe, put your hands on your belly and push your stomach into your hands—like a balloon filling up with air. Now, try pushing the air out from your stomach through the front of your mouth.
  • Pretend you are a librarian shushing ornery students. Give a big “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Just remember to keep your shoulders down. Do this “Shhhhhh!” a few times.

Step #1 should take no more than a minute of shaking loose and deep “shush” breathing.

#2 Tongue Trills

Oh, this is fun—you are warming up your tongue. It’s helpful to have it nice and loose while you speak. A tongue trill is when you roll your tongue as quickly as possible in your mouth. Once you have done a few of these, try doing some with descending and ascending tones. Do these tongue trills about five times each? See me do this in action in the video above.

And if you’re further interested in leveling up your skills, check out this goodie:

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#3 Hum It Up

Humming is the following best way to warm up your vocal cords and mouth. The humming vibrations are essential here because they loosen up your vocal cords. If you are speaking early in the morning, humming will be your most crucial step. Start with the basics:

  • Do one long “hmmmmmmmmm.” Hold it for as long as you can.
  • Now try loosening up your lips and mouth as you hum so you are not pressing your lips together. Keep your jaw and cheeks nice and loose, too.
  • Now go up and down with your hum. Alternate between descending and ascending hums.

Do this five times.

But that’s just the beginning. “Hum It Up” offers two distinct warm-up techniques to supercharge your vocal prowess:

Regular Hum:

This warm up can be done using scales, chords, fourths/fifths, slides/glides.

  • Start with gentle lip closure and lightly press your tongue against your bottom front teeth.
  • Produce a “hmmm” sound, beginning with the lowest note of a scale (e.g., C Major).
  • Glide your “hmmm” up to the highest note on the scale.
  • Then, smoothly descend back to the first note in the scale.
  • Repeat, this time starting from the top note and going down to the bottom note.

Straw Hum:

This technique amplifies your vocal finesse.

  • Grab a regular drinking straw.
  • Place one end in your mouth and seal your lips around it.
  • Hum with a steady “hmmm” sound.
  • Glide smoothly through your vocal range while continuing to hum.
  • Repeat a few times.

#4 Chant

Did seeing the word “chant” make you nervous? This one might feel a little odd, but it’s probably the most crucial step to a solid vocal warm-up. We are going to say the exact four words over and over again:

“Meem, Mime, Mohm, Moom”

These words go naturally right after your humming because they all start with the letter “M.” After you finish Step #3, go right into opening your mouth and slowly saying each of the words above. Start off by using the same tone, then try ascending and descending ones. When you feel very warmed up, try fluctuating your tones for each word.

Please do this for as long as it takes to get a really comfortable resonance. You know you are warmed up when the sound coming from your throat is long and clear. When you first start, these sounds might be a little raspy or rough. By the end, they should be smooth. By the way, if you do not know your maximum vocal resonance point, be sure to watch my video on it here:

#5 Pronounce

Get your mouth ready to enunciate your words and sounds clear. We are going to add a “P” and a “T” sound to our “M” sounds. Try adding these sounds to your chant:

“Ma, Pa, Ta, Ma, Pa, Ta”

Hold these for short sounds and long ones. Try ascending and descending. Then, really try to enunciate these sounds and open your mouth wide on the ‘A’s.’

Do this five to ten times, and then you’re done!

Altogether, these exercises shouldn’t take more than five minutes. You can do a quick version if you are hiding out in the bathroom before a meeting or a long version if you are driving somewhere. I like to do this while I am putting on makeup or on my commute. Here is the short version you can copy and paste into your phone or print out:

The Short Vocal Warm-Up

1. Breathe

  • Shhhhhhhhh
  • Shhhhhhhhh
  • Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh
  • Shhhhhhhhh

2. Tongue Trill

  • Dddddddd
  • Dddddddd
  • Ascending
  • Descending

3. Hum

  • Hmmmmmmm
  • Hmmmmmmm
  • Ascending
  • Descending

4. Chant

  • MMmmmmmmmmmmmeem mime mohm moom
  • MMmmmmmmmmmmmeem mime mohm moom
  • Ascending
  • Descending

5. Pronounce

  • Maaaa paaaaa taaa maaa paaa taaa
  • Maaaa paaaaa taaa maaa paaa taaa
  • Maaaa paaaaa taaa maaa paaa taaa

And that’s it! You now should be vocally warmed up. Please save this video to practice before your next speech.

You can even listen to the audio while you are driving, putting on makeup, or getting dressed.

Vocal warm-up exercises are easy to do while multitasking if you are in a crunch for time.

Want more on vocal power?

Going deeper…

Now that we’ve covered a quick and effective 5-minute vocal warm-up routine to get your vocal folds (vocal cords) limbered up and ready let’s delve into a more comprehensive 10-minute vocal warm-up.

10-Minute Vocal Warm-Ups

This comprehensive warm-up routine is perfect for when you have an extra 10-minute time before a performance, presentation, or recording, providing deeper vocal conditioning and thorough preparation.

So, let’s dive in!

#6 Tongue Twisters

Tongue twisters aren’t just playful word games; they are powerful tools for improving your tongue’s lingual agility2 and enhancing speech clarity. Try this:

  • Start slow, emphasize each word, and then increase your speed while maintaining clarity.
  • Begin with easier words such as “Unique New York.” and work your way up to more challenging ones.

Don’t worry if you stumble at first; practice improves your tongue’s agility and speech precision. Think of it as training your tongue, like saying, “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,” for clear and articulate speech.

But some tongue twisters have become so familiar that their usefulness is somewhat diminished. Try some you haven’t heard or done. 

Try these:

“She sells seashells on the seashore. The shells she sells are surely seashells! So if she sells seashells on the seashore, Then I’m sure she sells seashore shells!”

“Red lorry, yellow lorry.”

“How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?”

“Scissors sizzle, thistles sizzle.”

“Irish wristwatch, Swiss wristwatch.”

Practicing tongue twisters improves speech in these practical ways:

  • Precise Articulation: It helps you pronounce sounds clearly, enhancing your overall pronunciation.
  • Quick Transitions: They boost vocal agility, enabling smoother transitions between sounds in everyday speech.
  • Overcoming Pronunciation Challenges: By tackling challenging words and sounds, you improve pronunciation and speech clarity.
  • Warm-up for public speaking: Tongue twisters are used by actors, politicians, and public speakers as a warm-up exercise to sound clear when speaking.

#7 Sustained Vowels

Incorporate this exercise into your professional communication to sustain breath control and maintain a steady, confident voice, such as “A,” “E,” “I,” “O,” and “U” at various pitches. This will strengthen your diaphragm and help you maintain steady vocal support during speeches.

Select a vowel sound and say it (or sing it) for an extended duration at different pitches. Focus on maintaining a consistent airflow and pitch.

  • Begin with the vowel “A” and sustain it for 10 seconds. Focus on maintaining a clear and steady tone.
  • Move on to the vowel “E” and repeat the process, sustaining it for 10 seconds.
  • Continue with “I,” “O,” and “U,” each for 10 seconds.
  • Challenge yourself by transitioning smoothly between vowels, like “AEIOU,” in one breath.

Reminder: Maintain good posture to ensure proper breath support during the exercise.

Watch this video closely to see how it’s done!

#8 Resonance

This exercise helps you shift your voice between nasal and chest voice resonance, enhancing vocal control and communication skills.

You can start with a simple “me” (Mmmm) to “you” (Yooo) exercise, gradually moving the resonance from your nasal passages to your chest. This will help you achieve a more dynamic and resonant voice, making your presentation more captivating. Try this:

  • Begin by saying “me” with a high-pitched, nasal tone (like “Mmmm”).
  • Transition to saying “you” with a deeper, chest-focused resonance (like “Yoooooo”).
  • Alternate between “me” (Mmmm) and “you” (Yooo), gradually moving the resonance from your nasal passages to your chest.

To exercise how to, check out this:

#9 The Fog Horn

Fog Horn vocal warm-up is a unique exercise that focuses on breath control, lip resonance, and vibration. This technique improves breath control for longer sustained phrases in singing and speaking.

This exercise also promotes face muscle relaxation, reducing tension that can impede vocal performance. Try this:

  • Inhale deeply from your lower abdomen for maximum lung capacity.
  • Shape your lips into a narrow ‘O.’
  • Produce a quiet, breathy ‘oo’ sound (like ‘oops’) on a low note.
  • Relax your cheeks, letting them puff out.
  • Maintain gentle airflow through your lips, like a flickering candle.

You should feel a vibration in your lips or nose if done correctly. If there’s no vibration, try a lower pitch and more airflow.

Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Reminder: Adjust the pitch and airflow to suit your comfort level and voice range.

#10 Articulation

This exercise ensures that your words are crisp and comprehensible during meetings, speeches, and presentations. Practice saying each letter distinctly and with exaggerated pronunciation, such as “b,” “d,” “g,” and “v.” This warms up your articulators and enhances diction. You can also try this:

  • Recite the alphabet deliberately and clearly, emphasizing each letter distinctly. For instance, “A-B-C-D…”.
  • As you practice, gradually increase your speaking speed while maintaining clarity.

#11 Yawn-Sigh

Relaxation is key to a confident voice, and if you want to speak confidently, the yawn-sigh exercise is your gateway to vocal ease.

Research3 suggests that the Yawn-Sigh technique is a powerful voice therapy method capable of not only relaxing the vocal tract but also aiding in the improvement of vocal fold nodules. This technique proves effective in alleviating common vocal issues such as hoarseness, vocal fatigue, and potential injury. To practice it effectively, follow these steps:

  • Simply take a deep breath, exhale while making a “haaa” sound to do it.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose as if preparing for a yawn.
  • Exhale slowly while making a sighing sound, allowing your vocal cords to relax.
  • Feel the tension in your neck and vocal cords melt away, leaving you with a clear and centered voice.

For visual or auditory learners, check out this:

#12 Sirens

This technique is typically associated with singers, BUT it can benefit anyone who uses their voice regularly or needs vocal flexibility and control. Actors, public speakers, teachers, and even individuals looking to improve their overall vocal health.

Just like a siren smoothly transitions between high and low pitches, this exercise helps you glide from your lowest vocal range to your highest and back down again. It’s a great warm-up for achieving pitch control and vocal dexterity. Try this:

  • Begin at your lowest comfortable pitch (“uhhhhh…”).
  • Gradually ascend your voice as if saying “eeeeeee…” to reach your highest note.
  • Smoothly glide back down, similar to “ahhhhh…” for a seamless transition.
  • Maintain a steady, controlled glide without sudden pitch jumps.

To learn more about vocal sirens exercise, check out this!

As you wrap up these 10-minute vocal warm-up exercises, you’ve taken an important step towards developing your vocal prowess and maintaining vocal health. 

Now that we’ve explored a comprehensive set of vocal warm-up exercises, it’s time to shift our focus to a critical aspect of vocal care and performance: addressing common voice problems. Regardless of whether you’re in a singing lesson, in a meeting, or simply someone who uses their voice regularly, you may encounter challenges such as vocal fatigue or strain.

Now, let’s delve into some of the most prevalent voice problems and how to incorporate the right warm-up and exercises!

Common Voice Problems and How Vocal Warm-Ups Help

Common voice problems can sneak up on us for all sorts of reasons – maybe we’ve been talking non-stop, feeling under the weather, or not using our voices quite right. But don’t worry! Vocal warm-ups are like a fun little workout for your voice, getting everything in tip-top shape so you can speak your best.

They limber up your vocal cords, loosen those throat muscles and facial muscles, and get everything ready for optimal performance, ensuring you speak effectively.

Here are some common voice issues and how warm-ups help:

Vocal Strain

A vocal strain4 occurs when the muscles of the larynx are overworked or stressed, leading to discomfort and potential damage to the vocal cords.

Vocal warm-ups act as a spa treatment for your voice, relaxing and stretching the vocal cords. This enhances breath control and reduces strain, ensuring you sound and feel your best during speeches and presentations. Just like a day at the spa helps you unwind and loosen up, the best vocal warm-ups relax and stretch your vocal cords.

Action Step: Dedicate 5-10 minutes to top-notch vocal warm-ups, such as tongue trills or sirens. These exercises work wonders in relaxing your vocal cords and honing your breath control, preparing you for confident and effective speeches in any professional setting.

Reminder: Listen to your body and pay attention to any signs of vocal strain or discomfort during warm-ups and speaking engagements. If you experience vocal strain, pain, or tension, take breaks and modify your vocal intensity as needed. Prioritize vocal health and avoid pushing your voice beyond its limits.


Hoarseness5 refers to a rough, raspy, or strained voice caused by inflammation of the vocal cords due to overuse or misuse. When your voice is feeling rough, it’s likely due to inflammation. Vocal warm-ups can help by improving blood circulation, reducing inflammation, and promoting clear vocal production.

Action Step: Soothe your vocal cords with warm water and honey, and perform gentle vocal warm-ups the next day to enhance blood flow and reduce inflammation.

This article on Medical News Today suggests that drinking warm water and honey helps relieve pain and inflammation, as honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory substance6 that is often used as a home remedy for soothing a hoarse voice.

Pitch Problems

A monotone voice is often a result of difficulty in hitting the right pitch. When your voice lacks variation in pitch, it can sound monotonous and less engaging. Vocal warm-ups are essential as they enhance pitch accuracy by training your ear to recognize various tones and improve pitch control.

Practicing warm-ups regularly can help you break free from a monotone delivery and add more dynamic range to your voice.

Action Step: Practice scales as part of your vocal warm-up routine, gradually increasing the difficulty. This will train your ear and improve your ability to hit the right notes.

Breath Control Issues

Running out of breath while giving a long presentation. Warm-ups focus on diaphragmatic breathing and breath support, improving control and projection.

Action Step: Practice deep breathing exercises such as inhaling for a count of four, holding for four, and exhaling for four. Incorporate this into your warm-up routine for improved breath control.

Breathing exercises are essential for enhancing your voice and ensuring it sounds strong, clear, and well-projected. Here are some simple techniques for proper breath control:

Diaphragmatic Breathing:

  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose, letting your abdomen expand.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth, engaging your abdominal muscles.
  • Repeat, focusing on the rise and fall of your abdomen.
  • This technique improves breath support for your voice.

Counting Breath:

  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Exhale slowly while counting to five.
  • Increase the count as you get more comfortable.
  • Aim for a steady and controlled exhalation.
  • This exercise improves breath control and endurance.

Breath Support Practice:

  • Take a deep breath, then exhale while saying a long “ah” sound.
  • Focus on keeping the sound steady without running out of breath.
  • Practice using various pitches and volumes while maintaining strong, supported sound.
  • Add lip trill (lip buzz) exercises to your warm-up routine by pressing your lips together lightly and exhaling to create a buzzing sound. This strengthens your lips, tongue, and breath control, enhancing vocal projection clarity.

Pro Tip: Hissing sound is another effective warm-up technique, as it strengthens breath control and enhances vocal endurance. Inhale deeply, then exhale slowly while producing a hissing sound, like a snake. Focus on consistent airflow and controlling the duration of the hiss.

For more breathing exercises, check out these: 8 Breathing Exercises For Next Time You Speak In Public.

Tension and Stress

Neck, jaw, and throat tension negatively affect vocal quality. Feeling tense in the throat and neck before an important meeting? Vocal warm-ups include relaxation techniques to release tension and produce a more relaxed, resonant sound.

Action Step: Use progressive muscle relaxation7 techniques as part of your vocal warm-up. Focus on releasing tension in the neck and shoulders, allowing for a more relaxed voice and paralanguage expression.

Vocal Fatigue

Vocal fatigue8 is a condition that occurs when the muscles of the larynx tire out and cause a feeling of pain. Experiencing vocal fatigue after a day of teaching? Proper warm-ups prepare the vocal apparatus, reducing fatigue risk and aiding in faster recovery.

Action Step: Start your teaching day with a vocal warm-up regimen that includes lip trills, tongue twisters, and gentle siren exercises to condition your voice and reduce the risk of fatigue.

Remember, a well-prepared voice can conquer any vocal challenge!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Vocal Warm-Ups

Why do vocal warm-ups matter before a meeting or presentation?

Vocal warm-ups are essential as they prepare your vocal cords, ensuring they are flexible and ready to perform optimally. This prevents strain and fatigue during speaking engagements, allowing for clear, confident communication that leaves a lasting impact on your audience.

How long should my warm-up be for meetings or presentations?

The duration of your warm-up depends on the length of your presentation. For shorter meetings, a brief 5-10 minute warm-up suffices, while for longer speeches, aim for 10-15 minutes to adequately prepare your voice for sustained delivery without strain.

What are quick vocal warm-up exercises for presentations?

Quick vocal warm-up exercises such as lip trills, sirens, and deep breathing techniques engage your diaphragm and relax your vocal cords swiftly. These exercises are ideal for preparing your voice efficiently before presentations, ensuring clarity and resonance.

Are full-scale warm-ups needed for short or informal presentations?

Full-scale warm-ups may not be necessary for short or informal presentations. Instead, focus on simple exercises that promote relaxed breathing and vocal clarity to ensure effective communication without unnecessary strain.

Can vocal warm-ups reduce nervousness before speaking?

Absolutely, vocal warm-ups can help alleviate nervousness by promoting relaxation and confidence in your vocal delivery. By calming your nerves and boosting your vocal confidence, you’ll feel more poised and in control during your presentation.

Should I include articulation exercises for clearer speech?

Yes, incorporating articulation exercises such as tongue twisters and enunciation drills can significantly enhance the clarity and precision of your speech. These exercises improve diction and ensure that your message is conveyed clearly and effectively to your audience.

Can warm beverages like tea replace vocal exercises?

While warm beverages like tea can provide temporary relief and soothe the throat, they should not be seen as a replacement for vocal exercises. It’s important to complement tea with vocal exercises to ensure that your vocal cords are adequately prepared and primed for speaking engagements.

What exercises maintain vocal stamina during lengthy presentations?

Exercises focusing on breath control and pacing are crucial for sustaining vocal stamina during lengthy presentations. By mastering these techniques, you can maintain vocal endurance and deliver a compelling presentation without experiencing vocal fatigue.

How can I reduce throat and neck tension in my warm-up?

Incorporating gentle neck stretches and relaxation exercises into your warm-up routine can help alleviate throat and neck tension. These exercises promote vocal ease and comfort, ensuring that you can speak confidently and without strain.

Are there age-specific guidelines for older presenters?

Older presenters may benefit from slightly longer warm-up routines and increased hydration to maintain vocal flexibility and reduce dryness. By adapting warm-up practices to accommodate age-related changes, older presenters can ensure that their voices remain strong and resilient during presentations.

Key Takeaways

Now that you’re equipped with the essentials of vocal warm-ups and exercises, it’s time to extract the key takeaways that will elevate your vocal performance in meetings, speeches, and presentations.

These practical insights are designed not only for singers but also for professionals across various communication contexts. Let’s unravel the secrets to enhancing your vocal projection, confidence, and clarity. Here are some key takeaways to remember:

  • Warm it up before you speak: Just like stretching before a workout, vocal warm-ups are a must for pros in meetings, presentations, or speeches. It’s like giving your voice a high-five before showtime!
  • Quick Vocal Spa: Spend a few minutes doing deep breathing exercises to relax and get your vocal cords ready to roll. Loosen up those muscles for clearer, more confident speech.
  • Tongue and Humming Tricks: Tongue trills and humming aren’t just for singers! They’re secret weapons for getting your tongue and vocal cords in sync so your words flow smoother than butter.
  • Chant for clarity: Chanting “Meem, Mime, Mohm, Moom” might seem odd, but it helps improve resonance and clarity in your voice. Give it a try to see the difference.
  • Articulation practice: Practice those “Ma, Pa, Ta” sounds like a pro! They’re like vocal calisthenics for your mouth, getting you ready to articulate like a boss. It helps you speak more clearly and confidently during your presentation.
  • Resonance Sweet Spot: Find the resonance point where your voice sounds best. When you hit it, you’ll know you’re warmed up and ready to go.
  • Balance your warm-up routine: Mix relaxation, breath control, articulation, and resonance exercises for a well-rounded warm-up session that covers all the bases.
  • Extended warm-up for long talks: For longer presentations, upgrade to a 10-minute warm-up routine. Tongue twisters, sustained vowels, and breath control exercises help you maintain vocal clarity and endurance.
  • Avoid vocal strain: Regular warm-ups aren’t just for professionals; they’re essential for preventing voice strain and fatigue. Keep your voice in top shape with consistent practice.
  • Speak Like a Pro: With vocal warm-ups as your secret weapon, you’ll speak like a pro, whether it’s a boardroom pitch or a TED Talk. Get ready to wow the crowd and leave them cheering for an encore! It’s a small investment of time that pays off big when you’re in the spotlight.

Vocal warm-ups are the foundation upon which your voice stands. Just as a runner stretches before a race, a singer or speaker should warm up their instrument. It’s not a choice; it’s a necessity for unlocking the true potential of your voice.

To your vocal success,


For more interesting topics, check out this! How to Speak with Confidence and Sound Better

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