A Guide to…


By CeCe Sammy Lightfoot

Table of Contents

Hack Your Voice

Lesson 5 is for Public Speaking


According to a study conducted by the National Institute of mental health, public speaking ranked as the number one fear, even over death, for over 75 per cent of people.

Whether or not public speaking is scarier to you than death, it is nerve-wracking for many people, including myself – and I have been doing it professionally my entire life!

More often than not, the first place this nervousness manifests itself is the voice. Never fear, I am going to share the tips I have developed for myself and my clients.

Being born in Trinidad and starting my career in London as a backing singer for Diana Ross, I went on to grow a hugely successful; vocal coaching business in London and Los Angeles and I believe that in utilizing a combination of key lessons in music, vocal and performance techniques gives everyone a new perspective on public speaking and that is that we are all ORATORS as its core is performance.

I have researched this by doing sample workshops where I have seen transformations in people’s lives.

Roberta Lucca, Top 50 Women in Tech/ BAFTA Winner/Keynote Speaker and Startup Advisor was recently one of the judges on The Apprentice. As a client of mine, she has said:


“CeCe’s exercises are wonderful for me because they capture what’s best in my voice and allow me to reach new vocal areas I was always afraid to play with.”

Case Study featuring a Cambridge University Student, Felix:

As you watch the video, have you noticed that even though Felix has attended one of the top universities in the world, he still has anxiety about public speaking and gets nervous?

Everyone, from every walk of life, has similar worries. This is why I say to all of my clients, and what I am trying to share with you, is that assessing the voice, and thinking about how you can control and make the most of the power of the voice, can help us throughout our lives.

Felix said that he felt unnatural when he spoke in front of an audience and did not know where to put his hands or where to focus whilst speaking.

My Vocal Assessment of Felix was that he naturally had a voice in the middle part of his range and he already gave eye contact, however, he had to learn an acting exercise called “Circles of Concentration”.

This will be explained further in the Top Tips section. Have a look.

Top Tips


Hack 1: Tongue Twisters

By doing tongue twisters, we improve our concentration, repetition of a sound, learning how to be clear whilst improving in a fun, relaxed way to be fluent with our words. Doctors will often agree that our brain enjoys being engaged and tongue twisters will help our speech on all levels.


Hack 2: Reading from a book

By doing this, we get accustomed to listening to the sound of our own voice. Many people do not like listening to their own voice, so reading from a book will gently allow us to speak with more confidence


Hack 3: Circles of Concentration

This is a technique that actors will often use but it is a technique that everyone should learn as we begin to develop the loudness of our voice.

The first circle of conversation is where you are fully aware that you have an audience looking at you, but you are in your own world talking to yourself and thinking about what you are saying. Knowing that they are watching you, your body language will be aware that they can still see your face and expression. This is important so they can still be interested.

The second circle of concentration is looking directly at one person and they can see and feel that you are looking at them, which in turn, will keep them engaged

The third concentration is looking at the centre of the room but also looking to the right as there are people on that side, then back to the centre; soon after in a relaxed way, looking to the left where you pay attention to the people on that side; and once again, you look back to the centre.

The fourth concentration is talking to the world and looking at the masses.


Hack 4: Recording and being your own healthy Judge



Hack 5: Repetition

It is important to repeat yourself to get points across. Repetition will show your passion; and your passion will draw people in and they will remember the overall points, especially when you repeat the headings and sub-headings of your key points


Partners & Clients