Imagine the call of the crow, the screech of the blue jay, or the laugh of the hyena. All irritating sounds and all sounds which are harsh on your ears. Now imagine the voice of Fran Drescher. Not much difference is there?
While the English language has 3 legitimate nasal sounds, which include the n, the m, and the ng, too much nasality is the result of other sounds travelling through your nasal passages when they have no business being anywhere near your nose!
Gently place a finger on each side of your nose and say the word we . Don’t squeeze it, just graze it. Did you feel any vibration?
If you did, then you should consider voice training in order to get your sound out of your nasal cavities. Ideally, you should be speaking along the floor of your mouth and not through your nose.
Some years ago, it was reported that a woman in California had seizures after listening to Mary Hart on Entertainment Tonight. Hart’s voice is high-pitched, shrill, nasal and loud. And while it may be very recognizable, it is by no means pleasant to hear, resembling the sound of nails scratching a blackboard.
You also do not need to hail from one of the 5 boroughs of New York City to possess nasality. Mary Hart was raised in Minnesota. There are pockets throughout the United States and Canada where there is too much nose in the voice, such as the cities of Detroit and Mississauga (in Canada’s province of Ontario). Texas, on the other hand, has its own version of a nasally twang.
To begin working on eliminating your nasality, start with the following exercise.
Say the sentence below by sending it up through your nose. Yes, it will sound ridiculous so make sure you are alone when you try this.
For the 2nd part of this exercise, you will need to relax your jaw. In order to accomplish this, first tense your jaw by closing your mouth and clenching your teeth together. Now unclench your teeth, unlock your jaw and open your mouth. Do you feel the difference?
With your jaw relaxed in this manner, again repeat the sentence above. This time, however, say it along the floor of your mouth. You should hear quite a change between the nasal and non-nasal renditions.
If you can train yourself to hear the difference in excessive nasality and the normal nasal sounds, you will have taken the 1st step towards impressing your listeners.
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. If you would like to hear the difference in a nasal versus non-nasal voice, watch Katie's dramatic Before & After Video at Voice Dynamic.