Do you want to speak with influence and endurance?
Are you vocally tired, struggle with projection and have a husky, raspy voice when you have been speaking for too long?
As a leader or motivator who wants to continue to influence others to follow and be inspired your voice is the tool and instrument to carry your message. You cannot replace your voice and you can loose your vocal resonance with a damaged or fatigued speaking voice.
What would you feel like if you woke up one day, you had a training delivery day ahead and did not have a voice to speak with?
A damaged voice will require you to put in much more effort to speak and be heard.
When you have greater control over your voice you will be able to have more flexibility in your speaking expression and this helps your audience engage and go on a journey with you because they can feel the emotion in the words you speak and can relate to it. If your voice is damaged or run down you will loose the ability to vary your vocal tonality and you will have less choice over your speaking style and presentation.
A Voice Problem: is an unexpected change in the sound or feeling of your voice which doesn’t suit your vocal needs. Two-thirds of voice problems are due to bad use of the vocal muscles and this can lead to pathology such as swelling, nodules, cysts or bleeds in the cords.
Here are 12 things you can do to maintain your vocal endurance
1. Limit the hours spent talking
The voice is not designed for unlimited hours of constant use. Know your personal limit and don’t compare yourself to others as vocal stamina is different for everyone. Body rest is important to increase your vocal stamina. Don’t do all the talking and create breaks during your day.
2. Drink 8-12 large glasses of water per day
This will help you create vocal resonance (projection) with less effort. Dehydration causes you to work harder as a speaker because your volume is effected. Alcohol, coffee and lozenges are dehydrating so increase you water intake. Drinking five hours before your speaking is much more useful for your body rather than leaving your drinking to when you are actually speaking.
3. Avoid Smoking and using inhalants
This causes your vocal cords to be coated with substances that effect the muscles and cartilages in the larynx resulting in issues with volume and pitch when you are speaking.
4. Don't expose yourself to constant loud noise
This creates ringing in the ears and then effects your voice tone. Your pitch is effected when you hearing is damaged. The higher frequencies are usually what goes first and this makes you sound monotone and mumbly when you speak.
5. Avoid trying to hear yourself in loud environments
This will force and push your voice to do so. Instead block one ear with your finger and you will hear your own sound. You will loose your voice when you strain it. Your voice is acoustic; you can never expect your voice to be louder than electronic equipment so don’t even try. Move closer and face the person with whom you are speaking. Use amplification when speaking. Even if you were to do all the right things, constant use of your voice will affect your speaking quality. Invest in a DymeTech portable amplifier for speakers.
6. Keep fit
This energises the voice by increasing breath capacity, muscle strength and staves away illness. The voice requires energy and the quality of your body health effects how you energise your speaking.
7. Be aware of what you eat and drink
Avoid thick phlegm on your vocal cords. Thin phlegm is good but not thick phlegm as it will make it difficult to speak due to throat clearing which ends up causing cord irritation. Certain foods such as sugar and white products such as dairy, wheat, potatoes, cheese, butter, yoghurt, carbonated and high acidity drinks like soft drinks, lemon and orange juices can create acidity in the mouth and this changes the pH of your saliva effecting your vocal cords. It also causes gastro reflux which creates a husky raspy vocal quality making your speaking feel heavy and laborious.
8. Stress and anxiety effects cortisol in your body
This increases swelling of the vocal cords, making speaking more fatiguing. The larynx has three nerve pathways and one of them is the limbic nerve system which is activated by the environment and emotions. It also regulates the breathing and heart rate. It has a strong grip on the larynx. It controls sounds like cries, grunts, screams, squeals and laughter, these are flight or flight sounds. So prepare yourself internally and externally to avoid unnecessary negative stress.
9. Regularly warm up and exercise your voice
Vocal exercises remove limitations and enhance vocal endurance and quality. Have scale patterns and exercises that you can use regularly eg: vocal warmups and warm-downs, vocal range stretches and breath flow that will help enhance resonances (projection) and volume when you speak. With proper exercising you will learn to use your voice with as little unnecessary effort and tension as possible. Click here for a vocal warmup & exercise package.
10. Avoid throat clearing and voiced coughing
Throat clearing and harsh coughing are traumatic to the vocal cords and should be reduced as much as possible. One of the most frequent causes for throat clearing and coughing is thick mucus (due to dry vocal folds) or too much mucus (as with a cold) on or below the vocal folds. The safest and most efficient way to clear mucus is by using a gentle, breathy productive cough where there is high airflow with little sound. This can be achieved by using the following strategy: take in as deep a breath as possible, momentarily hold your breath, and produce a sharp, silent “H” sound while you expel the air.
11. Become aware of your body posture
Are you standing/sitting well? Is your breath/voice supported fully? When you slouch, your voice and breath will be constricted and you lose power physically and psychologically.
Your body posture empowers your body energy and passion. Your body is an essential part of non-verbal communication and your body must always match your message. Eg you cannot speak about something joyful whilst being in a closed, head down body posture. It just does not make sense. Look at yourself in the mirror as you rehearse your speech or song.
12. Be aware of optimal speaking techniques such as:
- Good abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing and support.
- Using your voice with as little unnecessary effort and tension as possible.
- Take frequent breaths when speaking long sentences.
- Maintain a smooth legato speech pattern with clear articulation, avoiding hard glottal attacks.
- Allow the neck, tongue, jaw, and face to be relaxed.
- Be aware of your speaking pace if it’s too fast or too slow.
- Use good vocal inflection and cadence
- Speak in phrases rather than in paragraphs and breathe before each phrase.
To arrange a voice coaching sessions or to arrange a workplace workshop that will help you have a stronger speaking voice please contact me.