Read Time: 4 Minutes
Did you know that 38% of the meaning in face to face conversation is conveyed by how you use your voice, and only 7% is conveyed by what you actually say.
When I learned that I decided to go to a voice coach to learn some basic techniques to be a stronger public speaker.
I also started to pull from all the sources which were readily accessible, singers I know and even online singing tutorials.
From toying around with some techniques to change the quality of my voice I have seen one unexpected result. I have been receiving the odd compliments recently of "You should do radio!" or "You should do voice overs!"
These interactions coupled with the noticeably more positive reactions people give me when I speak now are what has prompted me to write this post.
Here are my top 3 tips for improving the resonance, volume, and smoothness of your voice.
1) Stand up straight!
The first lesson I received from my voice coach was that as a singer or speaker, your voice is your instrument. If your instrument was a trumpet and you smacked into things and it got dented and twisted, it would sound terrible. And in just the same way if your body is tense, and twisted and hunched, your ability to use it as an instrument is greatly lessened.
So here is your action item: imagine that you are being pulled up by the crown of your head (where a yarmulke would sit if your were Jewish.) By doing this you will effortlessly hold a posture that allows you to breathe deeper and use your voice more freely.
and speaking of that...
2) Breathe into your belly
Because of our sedentary lifestyle most of us breathe very shallowly. We breathe using only the top part of our lungs and our belly remains more or less stationary when we are breathing.
Compare this to the way that babies breathe. How they relax thier stomachs and how with every in breath their stomach pushes out. With every exhale their stomach pulls back in.
This is our natural breathing pattern. When we breathe fully our belly moves because the lungs need room to expand downward. When we utilize the full capacity of our lungs as well, we are able to have more air with which to power our vocal cords.
Your exercise: Practice breathing from your diaphragm. As you breathe in, keep your shoulders relaxed and feel your belly pushing out. Imagine your lungs expanding downward and outward into your diaphragm. Take 10 breaths like this and don't be surprised if you get lightheaded.
3) Speak into the roof of your mouth
By far the most interesting (and weird) tip which I picked up from my voice coach was speaking into your palate.
What does this mean?
Well the roof of our mouth actually has air pockets in it. If you look at the skull, the roof of the mouth has plenty of air pockets and the nasal cavity is located just on the other side of the palate.
Most of us have never been taught how to utilize this though. We point our voice outward, we tense our throat and we try to push out the sound.
The result is a harsh and nasal voice.
But when we speak into the roof of our mouth those air pockets allow the sound to reverberate and resonate more.
Here is your exercise to practice this:
First tense the top of your throat, right under your chin. Speak and notice how tinny and nasal your voice sounds.
Now stop doing that.
Then, relax all the muscles of your throat and imagine that you are creating more space in the back of your mouth. As you do this, speak or make a constant sound. Doing this, imagine pointing the airflow of your speech straight up, straight at the roof of your mouth and watch as the tone of your voice sounds more substantial, more resonant.
Those are my top tips to creating and conveying confidence using your voice and I hope you like them and use them when practicing for and delivering your next presentation.
If you tried out these exercises, let me know which one you liked most.
Until next time, take care.
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