If you are looking for answers when it comes to improving the sound of your speaking voice, there are 3 things you should seek in your training because there are sseveral different approaches. You will find articles, books, CDs, and DVDs all promising to improve your voice. Which approach is the best?
Many courses in voice offer various exercises for you to practice in order to change or eliminate the characteristics which you don’t like. Unfortunately, those types of courses are missing the point: they are not aware of and indeed not instructing their students or their clients how to find their real voice by means of the chest cavity. In that sense, they are working on the voice you already have. And, certainly there will be some improvement; however, if you don’t like the sound of your speaking voice on your voicemail or other recording equipment (which is how everyone else recognizes you), that approach will make little difference.
The correct approach is to work on the voice you don’t know you have.
The voice you don’t know you have is what I refer to as your ‘real’ speaking voice. We have 5 resonating cavities which are responsible for the production of voiced sound. They include the voice box, throat, mouth, nasal and chest cavities. Because 99% of mankind is not using the largest of those cavities – the chest – to power the voice, the result is a sound lacking in depth, richness, warmth.
Why do I say that 99% are not doing it correctly? Because 99% of the population are lazy or shallow breathers. Thus, if you want to improve the sound of your speaking voice:
- the 1st thing you need to do is find someone who will teach you to breathe with the support of your diaphragm.
This is a priority because the only way your chest can be involved in your phonation (production of voiced sound) is if you are breathing with the support of your diaphragm, a muscular partition, separating your chest cavity from your abdominal cavity. All mammals breathe in this manner and you were as well at birth. Unfortunately, during childhood development, chances are that you reverted to upper chest breathing.
Once you have established good breathing techniques:
- the 2nd thing you need to do is to discover the optimum pitch of your speaking voice.
In most cases, your voice will be lower in pitch (highness or lowness of sound – not volume which deals with the loudness or softness of sound).
After finding your optimum pitch:
- the 3rd thing you need to do is to use your chest to power and/or amplify your voice.
The result will be a richer, warmer, deeper sound that vibrates in your mid-chest region when you speak. Because you will be taking the pressure off of your vocal folds (cords) and throat, you will discover an end to vocal abuse (if that has been a problem); you will have the ability to increase your volume without shouting; and will discover the best means of controlling your nervousness in any form of public speaking.
By finding your ‘real’ voice in this manner, most of your vocal problems will automatically disappear without additional work; i.e. if you have a child-like voice, you will suddenly sound mature; if your voice quivers when you speak, the quiver will be gone.
So, if you are in the market for some voice improvement, make sure the course or coach you select makes diaphragmatic breathing a priority. It is the most important thing you will learn in a good voice training program.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes The 5 Characteristics of Dynamic Public Speaking.
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