Do you want to speak with influence and endurance ?
Do you lose your voice and struggle with projection after you’ve been speaking for a while?
As a leader who wants to to influence others, your voice is the tool and instrument to carry your message. You cannot replace your voice and you can lose 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 can to have more flexibility in your speaking expression. This helps your audience engage 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 voice 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.
The only reason to master technique is to be sure the body does not interfere with the the soul’s free expression.La Meri
Here are 12 ways to not lose your voice when talking.
1. Drink 8-12 large glasses of water per day as this will help you create voice resonance (projection) with less effort. Dehydration causes you to work harder as a speaker because your volume is effected. Alcohol, coffee and lozenges dehydrate you, so increase you water intake. Drinking five hours before your speaking is much more useful for your body rather than leaving your drinking when you are actually speaking.
2. Limit the hours spent talking. Your voice is not designed for unlimited hours of constant use. Know your limits and don’t compare yourself to others because voice stamina is different for everyone. Body rest is important to increase your voice stamina. Don’t do all the talking and create breaks during your day.
3. Avoid smoking and using inhalants as 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 as this creates ringing in your ears and then affects your voice tone. Your pitch is affected when your 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 as you 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 lose your voice when you strain it. Your voice is acoustic; you can never expect it to be louder than electronic equipment so don’t even try. Move closer and face the person to whom you are speaking. Use amplification. 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. Stay fit as this energises your voice by increasing breath capacity, muscle strength and staves away illness. Voice requires energy and the quality of your body health affects how you energise your speaking.
7. Be aware of what you eat and drink to 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 causes cord irritation. Certain foods such as sugar and white products such as dairy, wheat, potatoes, cheese, butter, yoghurt, carbonated and acidity drinks like soft drinks, lemon and orange juices can create acidity in the mouth and this changes the pH of your saliva, affecting your vocal cords. It can also cause gastro reflux which creates a husky raspy voice quality, making your speaking feel heavy and laborious.
8. Stay relaxed. Stress and anxiety effects cortisol in your body, increases swelling of vocal cords, making speaking more fatiguing. The larynx has 3 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. Voice exercises remove limitations and enhance voice 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.
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 taking in as deep a breath as possible. Then 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 you speech or song.
12. Be aware of optimal speaking techniques such as:
a. Good abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing and support.
b. Using your voice with as little unnecessary effort and tension as possible.
c. Take frequent breaths when speaking long sentences.
d. Maintain a smooth legato speech pattern with clear articulation, avoiding hard glottal attacks.
e. Allow the neck, tongue, jaw, and face to be relaxed.
f. Be aware of you speaking pace if its too fast or too slow.
g. Use good vocal inflection and cadence.
h. Speak in phrases rather than in paragraphs & breath before each phrase.
The way you use your larynx muscles is your speaking power potential and protection
If you have any concerns or would like to know more please don’t hesitate to contact me on my website Harness Your Voice .
For a complimentary vocal strategy session please click here.
Thank you for reading this blog and I look forward to your feedback.