Voice Quality

Improve Your Voice quality.Improve your voice quality

So many people ask me about my voice quality “How do I get a good sounding and strong voice?”  ” No body seems to listen to me”, “I think I must have a weak voice”

It is best to not try to change who you are however you can develop your voice quality and how you use it with practice. Several tips we have used seem to work well when practiced often.

We’ve often hear people using uptalk  or HRT ( declarative sentences sound like questions) where you uttered with rising-pitch intonation at the end of your sentences.  This shows a little insecurity that shines through as if you are seeking some confirmation you are saying the right thing.

Your vocal fry is when our voice tapers off to being low and scratchy, especially at the ends of sentences. I often don’t hear the ending of the sentences from both men and women although it appears more from women, perhaps because women already have a soft voice anyway.

Both these modes are constantly attributed to female speakers, however I hear them often in both men and women — and the solution to both uptalk and vocal fry is deeper breathing.  You can begin with the exercises below.

Exercise One


Breathing

Guess what? It’s breathing.  Your voice after all is air passed through your voice box so breathing from your diaphragm provides a steady evenly controlled flow.  When you breathe shallowly into your chest instead of deeply into your abdomen using your diaphragm, your voice will sound weaker and nervous like.

Example is –  Put one hand on your belly button and one hand on your chest. Breathe in deeply, and notice which hand moves. I see lots of people breathe while heaving their chest up and down. Keep your chest steady and think about breathing into your stomach as you inhale.

Then exhale slowly, like letting air out of a balloon. If you’re having difficulty? Try “wall sits” – when you lean against a wall with your back flat against the wall and your legs slightly bent. This posture helps you focus on your abdomen while breathing, instead of breathing with your chest.

Remembering to breathe properly when you’re nervous or stressed can be a challenge until you form the habit, by taking full-relaxed breaths you will sound more confident and it will improve the depth of your voice.

“To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh

Exercise  Two


 Hydrate

Plain water – Gods wine – has magical powers.  Keep yourself hydrated it helps the quality Voice Quality of your voice, your voice eminates from a natural organ that needs to be at its fittest.

Drying agents like coffee, tea, soft drink (soda), sugars, crisps, nuts, lollies etc etc etc will not help your voice sound the best it could be.  Again this requires you to develop the habit of only drinking water the day of and before your talk.

When giving long presentations have room temperature water handy to sip, not ice cold water.

 Exercise  Three


Tone

Pinch your nose closed with your finger and thumb. Yes,  grab your nose and now say something.  You will hear that nasally sound, a bit like a 1940s news reader.  Why? You don’t speak through your nose.  Because you’re generating your sound from within your head and vocal chords.

We usually generate this sound when talking in conversation. However, Presentation skills aren’t normal conversations. You’re commanding your audiences attention. You want your voice quality to flow.

The remedy. Holding your nose closed again and speak as normal. Listen carefully to your nasally sound,  now I want you to focus on generating your sound using your diaphragm. Continue by going lower into your abdomen (don’t try to make your voice lower, just bring the sound from lower in your body) hear how your nasal sound almost becomes Voice quality a normal sound.

By being centred and grounded we are generating our sound from our core. Your voice quality sounds more confident and allows you to command the attention you deserve while being pleasant to listen to.

 Exercise  Four


Slow Down

This is one of my weaknesses that I need to convert into a strength. I nearly always get excited and speed up a bit.  Mostly people speak quickly when they’re nervous or unsure about what they’re saying.  You will improve the clarity of your message when you slow down.  Comprehension and confidence and control are noticeably enhanced when a speaker uses an measurable pace. Listen to speeches by Martin Luther King.

To practice to speak slow enough, speak as if you are reciting a phone number so a person listening would have time to write it down. Use this method to practice your speaking speed, speaking a long string of numbers, jotting them down as you speak will create the right cadence of your voice quality.

If you are excitable like me then you will need to wash off some energy and then try to control the amount you allocate to your voice.  I tend to mix up my volumes and different pitch with expression to disguise my excited pace.

Exercise  Five


Posture

First I am going to promote TED talks and Amy Cuddy. I watch this often and find her advise very helpful.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, distribute your weight equally on both feet, now  raise your arms up over your head whilst breathing in deeply. As you exhale, slowly lower your arms down to your sides and keep your ribcage where it is.

Make sure your shoulders are back, not bunched up behind your ears. Keep your chest pressed out front. I practice this every day.  This is the best posture for speaking, you are projecting confidence, you are standing straight and tall, and you are owning your full height and presence.

Voice  Quality

it’s all about you letting your body allow your voice to shine as an integral part of you. Like anything it takes practice experience and care for your self. A way i use to help me with breathing and voice development is going and singing in a choir once a week.


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Cheers
Terry

Article by Terry

Over the years Terry has learned to be a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Keynote Speaker, Presenter, Teacher, Coach, Mentor, Business Owner/Manager, Trainer, Facilitator, Teacher, Sailor, Dancer, Worker, Gardener, Reader, Music Lover and someone who thoroughly enjoys helping people to become better. We are all evolving by learning all the time, how and what we choose to learn makes us who we become. The key to Terrys passionate and enthusiastic approach is savouring the experience of contributing to the growth, action and enjoyment of the individual with their career.

9 Comments


  1. Many years ago I was interested about speaking in public because you never know when you may be called upon to say a few words and if you are one that is not use to speaking in public those few words will feel like it is taking forever, one thing I did not know all this other stuff about training your voice that you have pointed out here in your blog. This sounds very interesting and also very effective.

    1. Hello Norman, T

      hanks for your observations. Agreed to be totally effective it is important to have an in-depth knowledge of the subject. However to do the occasional speech there are short cuts that can make you earnest and entertaining enough for the special occasion or random event. Having a grasp on the pointers here will always help the amateur or the pro.

      Anytime I can be of service to you or friends just drop me a line.

      Cheers

      Terry

  2. Hey Terry, you have some very timely information here. I have had the occasion to speak before some fairly large groups and I can say I have 2 things I need to always be aware of.
    One is posture and the other is talking too fast which drys the mouth and things have a tendency to go downhill from there.
    Thanks for the research and the tips.
    I like how you laid out your site with short paragraphs and spacing.
    Dennis

    1. Thanks Dennis,

      I appreciate your views and I love compliments. Do you have any suggestions of improvement I could put into place?

      Cheers

      Terry

  3. Hi Terry, this is a very interesting read. Although I am not a presenter of any kind, speaking is a big part of my day job. I work in a clinic and speak to patients/families everyday. What we say and how we say things to these people affect their perception towards the condition that they are having.

    I’ve always noticed that if I am more calm, my thoughts would line up better and I am able to deliver the message in such a way that they understand me without confusion. Rushing through this kind of conversation can have its consequences on both sides.

    1. Thank you so much Cathy,

      I didn’t specifically cover being calm although I did cover the elements of calm. Our daughter is also a nurse consultant and a good speaker so understanding calm and effective language use is critical for her. It is no different in front of a group of people.. Do you have any suggestions of improvement I could put into place?

      Cheers

      Terry

  4. Hey Terry:

    I spend some time speaking my poems and this article is definitely a help with that.

    Learning how to use your voice to give the words you speak more “punch” is definitely connected with the way you stand and how you breathe. Your body’s like an instrument in that way. If you hold yourself all cramped up and twisted, your voice will be affected as well, I am finding.

    Practicing saying the words out loud and listening to how you sound then making adjustments to the way you stand and trying it again and again can make a song out of the way you speak. Playing with the intonations and rhythms makes your way of speaking more interesting to others as well. It helps them listen better.

    1. Thank you Neeta, Yes you are absolutely right. And I find people respond more to the tone and rhythm than they do to the words. Our bodies and minds put the life into the words with expression. I am glad you too use these techniques with your poem readings. I find the same with singing as well. It seems to me the more you are involved and in the moment the more effective you are. Great coaching tip thanks.

      Cheers

      Terry

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