OK, let’s be honest.
Are you avoiding speaking up sometimes because you don’t like the sound of your own voice? Perhaps you’re even avoiding recording a voicemail because you can’t stand listening to yourself back!
After recording an audio or video, so many people are faced with the reality of what they really sound like to others. And a lot of them say “Oh, my God, do I really sound like that?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes. That’s what other people hear when you speak.
But don’t panic.
Your speaking voice and sound can change.
So, relax and settle in, because today I’m going to help you improve the sound of your speaking voice with three effective exercises.
We can change and improve the sound of our speaking voice by learning how the different muscles work. Just like learning a dance routine, or learning how to juggle – it’s just a matter of muscle coordination.
There are specific exercises that can improve the sound quality and timbre of your voice so that you can feel more confident about the way you sound when you speak.
When you love your voice and the way you sound, your confidence will soar and you will feel more passionate about sharing your voice and your message with others.
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FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
We’re going to dive right into improving the sound of your voice so that you can feel more confident about the way you sound when you speak…
TIP #1: Record and Analyze
The best way to do this is with a voice memo recorder on your phone. So, grab your phone right now and grab out a pen and paper to write some notes.
This is what we’re going to do:
Step one: first, simply read a passage from a book into the phone for just a minute, and we’re going to analyze that shortly.
Step two: this time, I want you to record again for one minute, but just speak off the cuff. No preparation. Just talk about anything that comes to mind for one minute.
OK, now that you’ve done these two exercises, you’re going to listen to them both back and write some notes. The very first place that we’re going to start is with the reading passage. Have a listen to your recording for the following things: Does your voice sound raspy? Or croaky? Or perhaps weak and airy? Is the pitch too low or too throaty? Perhaps it’s a little hard to understand or follow? I want you to listen to the recording a few times with your eyes closed and write down what you hear.
Next, let’s listen to the second recording. This time we’re going to listen for different things like this: Did you ramble? Are you using filler words like err… or umm…a lot? Are you articulate and clear sounding? Do you sound pleasant or not? Or worst, does it sound boring and flat?
If you need some help with getting quality feedback on your speaking voice, play the recordings to a friend or colleague and ask them to write down some of those descriptive as well. It’s always good to get someone else’s opinion as to what you could improve.
TIP #2: Playing Opposites
Our voice is like a musical instrument. A piano, for example, has 88 keys but makes beautiful sounds from higher pitches to low pitches. Our instrument here doesn’t have quite so many notes, but we can use at least eight to 12 notes easily when we speak, which makes our voice sound very interesting. If you’re using only one or two notes, it’s going to sound very dull and boring every time you speak. So, let’s play with some opposites now to find out some interesting and engaging ways to speak for you. For instance, if you heard in your recording either one or two that your voice was high pitched, try the opposite. Try a lower pitch, and feel and hear the difference that it would make when you speak. If you felt that your voice was too tight sounding and you were squeezing your sound, I want you to go the other way and make it more open sounding by adding more air flow. Try a completely opposite approach of what you heard in your recordings.
Another problem that I hear a lot is someone sounding a bit too nasally when they are speaking. It sounds a little bit too much in the nose and when it sounds in the nose, its going to make you sound like you’re a little bit overly posh or maybe you’re not really interested in what the other person is saying. In any case, you’re going to give your listener a very bad first impression. If you’re too nasally, you want to make the sound more oral, more sounds out of the mouth. So, listen back to your recordings with your eyes shut. Write your descriptive down and then I want you to try the exact opposite of what you hear.
TIP #3: Goldilocks Airflow
Do you remember the children’s story Goldilocks and the three bears? Inside the cottage, there were three bowls of porridge. One bowl of porridge was too hot. The other one was too cold. The third one was just right.
Now, this is one of the most important elements of a balanced speaking voice. It’s something that a lot of people don’t really think about when they’re speaking and that’s air flow. Air flow causes that beautiful magic in the sound. If you actually stop the air flow completely or partially and try to hold it back, you’ll hear that you’ll get a very squeezed and tight sound. If I’m trying to speak or sing like that, and believe me, I’ve heard that a lot, there’s literally not enough air flow flowing through the vocal folds. The more air flow we have flowing through the vocal folds makes it sound aesthetically pleasing. If the air flow is too little, it’s not flowing. The more airflow we have, the more relaxed and pleasing our voice becomes. Now this takes a little bit of time and practice but anyone can use a good balanced air flow. Anyone…guaranteed! So, give it a try.