For years, Luciano Pavarotti was known to millions of opera lovers as "King of the High Cs" because he regularly hit that elusive note. Did he take for granted that he would just open his mouth and effortlessly produce that sublime sound? I think not.
He cared for and protected his voice as if it was the most precious jewel, because it was essential to his career. As presenters, we can benefit from some of the same techniques.
Have you ever heard a presenter who sounds as if he has just run up 3 flights of stairs? Shallow breathing from the chest is responsible. Far more effective is breathing from the diaphragm which provides enough oxygen to support and control your voice.
Try this diagnostic: put your hands on your chest and breathe deeply. If your chest rises and falls, you are breathing too shallowly. Now put your hands on your stomach. Make your breath push your stomach out (inhale) and in (exhale) while keeping your shoulders and chest still.
Deep breathing not only helps your vocal pacing and projection, it also calms the adrenalin that may be coursing through your body.
VOCAL WARM UPS
Just as a musician warms up before playing an instrument or a baseball player before stepping up to bat, so should the presenter warm up his voice. Hum, say tongue twisters, say the alphabet...all these techniques loosen the vocal muscles. While you're warming up your voice, don't forget to do some stretching exercises to loosen your neck, jaw and face muscles.
Avoid dairy products before a presentation because they tend to produce excess mucus. Alcohol and caffeine (coffee, tea, some soft drinks, chocolate) should also be avoided because they dehydrate the body. Drink room temperature (not ice) water to keep the vocal cords well hydrated.
You may not hit any high Cs, but taking care of your voice will both protect it and make it a lot easier to listen to.