The question that I’m often asked by many of my clients is if they can fix the sound of their voices. The sound of your voice is more of your signature calling card in business, career, and your relationships than most of us realize. Speech Coaches can indeed improve the sound of your voice if you are not using your best voice, or feel there is something annoying about the sound that you want to change. If there is a medical issue; then a speech pathologist or other medical specialist should be consulted. However, a speech coach can advise you and offer some exercises to help your problems.
The main areas of breathing, vocal range of your breathing, and physical articulation skills are often looked at to assess and remedy your sound and voice quality.
1. Maximize Your Breathing: If you have problems with your voice sounding too breathy; or the opposite, you don’t have enough breath to complete a sentence; then a few exercises to show you how to breathe effectively will help. You may have other issues with your breath that are caused by smoking, asthma, or allergies that come into play with your everyday routines.
One of my clients had difficulty with colleagues hearing her speak in conversation or at staff meetings; and she was always being asked to repeat herself. Once we worked with centering her body alignment and breathing with the diaphragm, she was able to support and project her sound farther and louder without shouting so everyone could hear her better. With this transformation she was asked more often about her opinion; plus, her confidence grew, and she eventually got a promotion.
2. Extend your Vocal Range of Tone: If you sound too high in pitch or whiny; or too low and growly in your tone; then most people find this annoying to listen for any length of time. They may avoid approaching you or inviting you to join them for a work project or personal time away from the job. The remedy is to vary you tone within your highest to lowest range and not get stuck in the same tone all the time. This can take more time to change because it has become a habit locked into your speech. However, with practice and exercises repeated periodically throughout your daily routine, you can replace any annoying tone to become your new vibrant vocal tone. Your speech coach will help you find your best pitch level and get you to use it consciously when you answer the telephone or talk to friends.
3. Exercise your Speech Muscles: Another client came to me with the issue that no one really understood what he said; as a result, they would move on quickly to avoid speaking to him. Once I heard his voice, I knew immediately that it was an articulation problem of mumbling; because he rushed through his speech that no one could catch most of what he said. In addition, he did not open his mouth wide enough to let the sounds out; instead, he was swallowing the words in the back of his throat. Once he recognized the physical action needed to use his jaw, tongue, lips, and palate to make his speech clearly enunciated; then he was able to slow down. What came out of his mouth next were wonderful resonated and clear vocal tones that everyone could understand.
According to writer, Sue Shellenbarger, who compiled a list from her research and interviews with several of us speech coaches for her recent article, “Is This How You Really Talk” in the Wall Street Journal, she found the most common annoying sounds. These are: too loud, too immature, too unnatural baritone authoritative, too whispery, too gravelly, too monotone, too nasal, too many fillers (‘um’, ‘ah’, ‘like’), and speaking sentences ending in questions. Today, have a variety of tones available for your use. Work colleagues and friends will react positively to your sound if you aim for an energized positive and natural tone. You will shine with confidence and it will attract most people to you, and advance your careers.
Do you have someone in your workplace who has an annoying voice sound? Leave a comment below. If you need helping fixing your sound to improve your life or career let me know so I can help you. http://bit.ly/fHQh0u