There is nothing more frustrating than listening to someone who speaks with an excess of nasal sound. In a study done some years ago on how people react to a nasal voice, it was reported that it is frequently associated with less-than-average intelligence and a sign of immaturity.
Ridding yourself of excess nasal sound is not difficult; however, you will need to practice and retrain your inner ear to recognize the difference between what is nasal and what is not. (See my former article - Do You Know Which Sounds Are True Nasals? - in which I discuss both types of sound.)
The best means of recognizing the twang or the whine is to first exaggerate it by pushing all of your sound up through your nose. Read the passage below, forcing your voice up through those passages:
The sound of your speaking voice should be produced by means of 5 resonators or cavities including your chest, voice box, throat, mouth and nose.
Now I want you to drop your jaw and read the above passage again, sending your words along the floor of your mouth. You should notice quite a difference. If you are unsure if your jaw is in a dropped or open position, place your hands right below your ears and clench your teeth tightly. Feel the knot. Now unclench, unclasp your teeth and feel your jaw relax.
Your ‘homework’ for this drill is to train your inner ear to begin to recognize when you are nasal and when you are not. Practice something you know from memory, like a poem or the words to a song, for example, when you are driving or ironing or mowing the lawn. It is the back and forth, between the exaggerated nasality and the non-nasal delivery, which is one of the best ways to retrain your inner ear. Then bring this awareness into your everyday speech. You want to get to a point that when you say a word which rings with nasality, your inner ear recoils.
Another method of getting rid of a minor twang is by discovering your ‘real’ voice. In order to accomplish that, you will have to use your chest cavity as your primary sounding board. In doing so, you will find that your nasality is gone. One of my customers recently told me that just by learning to breathe correctly and relaxing her jaw, her nasal voice was gone.
You don’t have to live with the whine or twang in your voice. Just a little bit of training can make all the difference in how you sound.
If you would like to hear the difference in a nasal versus non-nasal voice, watch Katie's dramatic 'Before & After' Video and then check out The Voice Lady's other video clips in the menu bar of Voice Dynamic.