It allows us to form connections, influence decisions, and motivate change. Without communication skills, the ability to progress in the working world and in life, itself, would be nearly impossible.
As a broadcast journalist presenting news and sport for over 10 years I quickly learnt how to control my voice and how to use my voice to capture people’s attention, using different tones and emotions.
The voice is made up of muscles, cavities, tissues, nerves, fluids, etc., it can produce hundreds of different pitches. There are more nerves in the muscles of the larynx than any other muscles in your body, with the exception of your eyes. In addition, you use three quarters of your body when you speak a word, and even a stubbed toe can affect the sound of your voice. So it’s not surprising that your voice can be adversely affected by excitement and stress.
Just as with the rest of your body, some people naturally have more vocal strength, while others need to pump up theirs just to keep up with their daily vocal requirements. Voice training using proper vocal exercises can make a big difference in both control and endurance.
When you speak, your vocal chords vibrate and just like you warm up your muscles before working out, you need to warm up your vocal chords, by using simple techniques and breathing exercises.
Breathing is so important for us to survive and using exercises can be really beneficial to control your speech and sound.
Here’s a little exercise to try:
• Begin taking deep breaths in and out, remember to use your diaphragm. The chest/ stomach should go out as the lungs fill up, don’t let your shoulders hunch up. Hold for a few seconds and release then repeat about couple of times.
• Next, take a deep breath again, but this time expel it out in a different way.
• HA! – expel all the air out of your lungs in one “pop” by saying “ha!”. This should get louder as it’s repeated and whenever anyone is talking too quietly in the future, remember how loud they got with this!
• Hiss it out – hiss for as long as possible, until you’re all out of air
When public speaking or talking on air it is vital to feel relaxed, the exercise above is a good way of making you feel like you are in control.
When we are relaxed our breathing is stabilised and in control and our mind is fully focused on the task ahead. Being relaxed helps to ease any nerves and anxiety.
There have been many times that I have fluffed my words as I went 'live' and started to tense up and feel panicked and you know what… that’s ok and it’s completely natural and as long as you stay calm and recover well, most of the time many people won’t notice. (only you will know)
Record a conversation you have with a friend and compare it to how you sound on the air or when doing public speaking.
What you want to hear is the tone of your voice. A conversation has peaks and troughs in inflection, speed, and emphasis. Too often, a voice sounds flat, especially when you are reading from a script. The opposite extreme is a vocal delivery with a repetitive punch, which sounds sing-songy because the pitch goes up and down at the same rate in each sentence. The speech should flow nicely.
Once you start to get used to listening to what your voice sounds like you will notice how you want to sound. Think about how you want people to hear you. Do you want to sound like someone with authority and friendly? Smiling when talking is a good way to change the tone of your voice.
Once you start getting used to listening to how you sound, practice delivering your speech before your present. Watch yourself in the mirror while you deliver your talk, this will allow you to see your gestures and body language. The mouth often dries up so drinking plenty of water before and small sips during will help keep your mouth hydrated.
If you are looking to power up your voice, storeymedia delivers in-depth workshops in voice coaching. For more information get in touch.