Have you ever been told that you have a soft or weak speaking voice?
Many of my clients complain that they have trouble being heard at work and they constantly asked to speak up and repeat themselves. Well, this becomes tiresome for both the speaker and the listener. Today in this video, I’m going to give you three exercises to improve both the sound quality and the volume of your speaking voice. So, if you’re ready to sound more confident and powerful when you speak, then stay tuned.
- Learn how to master the art of back pressure so you can speak with a strong, confident voice forever!
- Speak up and allow your voice to be heard. Your message is the legacy your leave behind.
- Your Voice is made up of muscles that need to be exercised and strengthened. If you don’t use the muscles correctly, your voice will be weak sounding and under confident.
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FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Let’s face it, if people can’t hear you easily, they’re not going to pay much attention and in today’s world of goldfish attention spans, we actually have shorter attention spans than ever before. Let’s get you heard. Your voice and your message matters. So, let’s stand up, stand tall and let’s get going.
Exercise #1: Building vocal strength .
To build strength in the vocal folds there’s a secret weapon that I use that no other speaker trainer talk about. It’s called back pressure. It doesn’t have anything to do with your back. What it is, is the pressure that builds up behind the closure of the vocal folds in the thorax cavity before you open your mouth. So, let’s put back pressure to the test for a second so you can actually feel it for yourself.
Back pressure can be explained with two different analogies: one is a garden hose. The second is a balloon. Let’s start with the garden hose. Now imagine that you’re back in the garden and you’re turning on the tap and you’re holding the hose. Now when you close the aperture to the hose, the water pressure is actually moving through the hose because the tap is turned on but the pressure is built up inside the hose behind the closure of the aperture that is the hose nozzle. Now if I open the aperture the nozzle really wide, the water will spray out like a big fan all across the garden but it won’t be very powerful because the aperture is wide and it’s letting out a lot of pressure very fast but not very powerfully. Now with the same pressure coming through the hose, we’re going to now make the aperture really small. What’s gonna happen? It’s such a tiny hole that the water now is backed up under pressure and when you open a tiny little opening in the hose? The water actually goes right across to the end of the garden or and maybe over to your neighbor’s garden. It’s so powerful because of the back pressure.
Now let’s move to the balloon for a second. The balloon is a similar sort of analogy so it’s easier to imagine maybe. Let’s have a balloon in front of us. We’re going to fill it up with air and we’re going to hold on to the neck. Now, we can feel the pressure inside the balloon but when we hold the neck if I just let go of that neck, the aperture which is about that big, lets out quite a lot of air very fast. So now there’s no air left in the balloon. It doesn’t make a very great sound when it’s flying around the room. Lots of fun for the kids but guess what kids figure out really fast. How to drive you crazy with the sound of a balloon with back pressure. So now let’s put air back into the balloon. We’re going to hold the neck feel the pressure inside the balloon. This time we’re going to only open the aperture a tiny little bit. What’s gonna happen now? It’s going to make a really loud squeaking sound because the air is still under pressure and it’s only allowing a tiny little bit of airflow to escape. That is back pressure at work. So, when you hear a really powerful singer sing with a really big note. When you hear a singer with a very strong powerful voice then you can hear the back pressure at work because the sound is so powerful and strong there’s very little airflow being allowed to escape through the vocal folds. That is what helps us have a very strong speaking voice. So let’s give that a little go. The easiest way to feel it inside the thorax cavity is to take a breath and then hold your breath as though you just remembered that you were going to tell somebody something but you didn’t know what it was. Can you feel that the pressure is built up inside the thorax cavity behind the closure of the vocal folds is called pre phonatory setup. So now the vocal folds are closed, the aperture is closed. The airflow is already inside the lungs in a pressurized cavity and then suddenly when you open the aperture and let a tiny little bit of air flow through, the power is really big. You get a big powerful sound because of the back pressure.
Now most people don’t do that. So, when they take a breath, they usually take way too much air in and then use way too much air when and they’re speaking. When you do that, it really waters down the vocal sound. So back pressure is your secret weapon.
Exercise #2: Non-voiced sounds to build strength
Now, let’s put back pressure actually into action to build some strength and coordination of the respiratory muscles before the phonation system gets activated. These are called non voiced fricatives and we’re going to do it in four different sounds.
The very first sound is “S” for Sally. The next sound is “SH” for shell. The next sound is “F” for Fred. The next sound is “TH” for thistle. Now what we’re going to do is we’re going to do these sounds in succession really utilizing the diaphragm and the abdominal system to make sure that the system is being used correctly. This is how you know that it is being used correctly. When we put our hands on our tummy muscle, and we make an S sound. To make that nice and strong with back pressure, we want to pull that tummy in towards the spine on the out-breath. Now when I’m doing it correctly, it will look like this – hands on your side. You’ll see that your side muscles pop for you at the side and become quite strong and engaged and when you’re using your teeth and your tongue correctly to make the sounds “S”, you get a very strong crisp sound. That exercises the respiratory muscles and the support muscles. These muscles are the ones that power the vocal folds. So, you can’t build strength until you teach yourself to use the right muscles. So, let’s give it a try. Hands on the waist into your super power position. Then say S for Sally. Ready. Let’s do it four times. Now SH for shell. Now when you’re doing it, you should feel your tummy moving in and your side muscles moving out. That’s what you should be feeling so it should feel quite strong but you don’t want to have it strong here in the throat. Remember we’re only using muscles down here. We’re using back pressure and support muscles. Let’s do the last two sounds: “F” for Fred and “TH” for thistle.
So, when you practice these exercises is boring in as simple as they are, these non-voiced fricatives really teach your respiration system how to work properly and I bet you you’re not doing that right before you saw this video. Guaranteed, you’re not powering your voice from your stomach. You’re probably breathing from your chest in your upper lungs. It’s not the place that we need to power our voice. We need to use our muscles down here, the diaphragm and the support system. Let’s do one of each all the way through: “S”, “SH”, “F” for Fred and “TH”.
Now, the idea is to do that every single day for five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night. preferably on your tummy. If you lay down on your tummy with your hands in front of you and your head to the side your body will be fully aligned on the floor and you will be breathing in the right way with the right muscles. Guaranteed.
Let’s move on.
Exercise #3: Voiced fricatives
Now, we’re going to put these respiration and support muscles to the test and drive the airflow up the trachea blow the vocal folds into a beautiful vocal wave and make sound at the same time. This will be a great precursor to vowels and a whole sentence but we’re still building strength.
The first exercise is similar to the “S” but now we’re going to vocalize it. So, the sounds were going to use now are: “Z” for zoo, “ZH” like the word vision, “V” for Victor and “TH” for this. So, you’ll see that now the airflow is coming up the trachea blowing the vocal folds into a beautiful even strong wave and then we make sound and we color it and shape it with the articulation: the teeth, the tongue, the lips and the jaw.
Let’s do 4 “Z”s and 4 “ZH”s. No we are going to move on to “V” for Victor. And “TH” for this.
Now the goal is when you’re making the sound, you want it clear and even and stable sounding and you want to also choose the right pitch for your voice. For example, if I do this: it’s too low and it gets stuck in my throat. It doesn’t feel good. It’s like speaking down here. It’s not very effective. It’s way too low for me to speak. It’s not going to be bright enough for you to hear me so you want to practice all these sounds, the voice sounds, not the non-voice sounds, on the correct pitch. So, try a few different pitches and see how you go.
So, every time we’re practicing this again for five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night, after the non-voiced fricatives, we’re going to be watching our tummy coming in and our side muscles popping at the side. Now, you’re well on your way to strengthening that speaking voice or singing voice for video.
Now, let’s do a quick recap:
- Master the art of back pressure otherwise known as pre phonatory setup
- Practice your non-voiced fricatives
- Practice your voiced fricatives
Doing these things as part of your daily routine is going to help you build a stronger more stable speaking voice. Just 10 to 15 minutes per day is all you need to do to build strength and consistency with those muscles. Then, also, you need to start speaking louder during everyday conversations to practice your skill. Speak up. Speak out. Be ready to be heard because remember: YOUR VOICE MATTERS.