8/25/2009

Improve your speaking voice with this simple trick




Last year, one of my intentions was to strengthen my voice and develop more confidence while speaking. My biggest challenge, whenever I spoke, was the lack of power behind my words. Because of this, I would often times be asked to repeat my self or speak louder so the other person could hear what I was saying. Another bad habit of mine was talking too fast. Again, I believe that had something to do with my confidence levels. I didn't slow down enough to fully articulate so that others would clearly hear and understand what I was saying.

Because of my despair in this area, I decided to take a voice coaching class offered locally. After researching the credentials of the instructor online, I was all too excited about learning the secrets to a stronger voice. I'll share with you some of the sound principles I learned in the class. Some of the information was new to me, some of it I'd heard before. One thing I would say is that all of the info was extremely practical and would make a difference if applied consistently.

So here are some practical techniques to improving your speaking voice:

Open your mouth:

Most of us, when we speak, tend to keep our mouths relatively closed. When we do so, the sound that we create is altered. The voice doesn't come out as rich and supported as it does when we open our mouths a little bigger to allow the sound to naturally flow out. I'll be the first to tell you that it feels a little weird at first, when you open your mouth wider while speaking. But in all honestly, this really does make an impact on how far your words will travel.

Make your voice travel:

Opening your mouth wider is the first step, the second step to improving on your voice quality is to support your words with your breath. It's the air you use that will allow your words to travel and not fall flat. Words that aren't supported by air go absolutely no where. Then you're tasked with having to repeat yourself once again. What you should try to do is be mindful of your breathing while you speak. Are you caring your words with a smooth exhalation? Or do your words struggle to reach it's intended destination? You should be taking in natural breaths before sentences and allowing the breath to be released as you speak. The advice my speaking coach gave me was to make sure that I "splash" the other person with my voice. If my voice were to actually travel, it should land behind the person or people I am speaking to. It makes all the difference in the world.

Relax:

Nervousness will affect your voice more than anything else. When we lack confidence or feel unsure, our voice will certainly reveal it. There are two surefire ways you can overcome feeling nervous, adequate preparation and mental toughness. I strongly believe that confidence follows action and preparation. So I suggest you first start with preparation. This means that you should never present to a group of people without feeling absolutely comfortable that you know the information like the back of your hand. I know there will be times that you won't have the amount time you'd like to adequately prepare, in that case, use whatever time you are given. Preparation is the speaking equivalent of giving yourself steroids before a body building event. It gives you an edge that you might not otherwise have. Soon, you'll begin receiving compliments on how well you are at presenting (because you were well prepared), not long after, you'll find yourself feeling more assured and transferring that same confidence with you when you're asked to speak on the spot.

Finally, I'm going to give you the very best piece of advice I've heard yet on improving your speaking voice. This tip comes from the audio book 100 ways to motivate yourself from author Steve Chandler. Steve has a deep strong voice that really resonates with the listener. What really surprised me is that Steve claims to have once had a voice that was weak and nasally. So what did Steve do to completely change his voice? He sang. That's right, Steve claims that he was able to both strengthen and develop his speaking voice by making it a habit to sing to his favorite tunes at the top of his lungs. With the consistent practice, his voice (and lungs) became stronger with each passing day.

I heard this advice weeks ago and have been implementing it daily in my practice ever since. Today, I am more than excited about how much better of a speaker I am today than I was a few weeks back. My breathing is now consistent, my voice tone is richer and my confidence levels are sky high. I do want to mention that I am a terrible singer. I probably have the worst signing voice around. But I don't this to become a better singer. I do this to exercise my vocal chords and to develop my lung capacity and regulate my breathing when I speak. The change I've experienced in the past couple of weeks is amazing. I even received a compliment the other day because someone on a conference call noticed that my voice sounded more confident. I know for a fact that my preparation for the call, along with my stronger, more conditioned voice, is how I was able to present this information with confidence.

The best part of all is that signing doesn't seem like it's hard work. I get to enjoy my favorite songs while benefiting myself in the process. There's nothing better than that. Because I actually enjoy this practice, I find myself being consistent in doing it every day. The more I do it, the stronger and better my voice gets. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking to improve their speaking voice. Give it a try for a few weeks, before long you'll be signing its praises.


5 comments:

Public Speaking said...

Never heard of the singing tip before in realtion to public speaking but will be sure to give it a go. Thanks

Lynda Stucky said...

I like the idea of using your singing voice for the exploration of your range. But untrained singers are likely to breath incorrectly and focus the sound inappriately. This could create problems for the speaking voice. Exaggerating your mouth movements with a wider mouth opening has many benefits including better diction, a slower rate of speech, improved resonance, better vocal projection. When a person slows down, he can breathe and relax. That's good advice for the speaking voice! www.clearly-speaking.com

keon said...

Your article is super! Thank you. I am one of those who does well in front of an audience but mess up in 1-on-1 situations.

Sheik Shoyeb said...

/*... My biggest challenge, whenever I spoke, was the lack of power behind my words. Because of this, I would often times be asked to repeat my self or speak louder so the other person could hear what I was saying. Another bad habit of mine was talking too fast. Again, I believe that had something to do with my confidence levels. I didn't slow down enough to fully articulate so that others would clearly hear and understand what I was saying. .... */

This paragraph completely resembles me..
this raised an anxiety towards reading the whole article for me..
;)

And I m glad i read it :)
Thnx once again :)

Anonymous said...

Good tips. Do you have any more? How is your speaking voice now? it would be great if you could follow this up :)
Thank you for sharing this information!!! Greatly appreciated.