What does your voice communicate about you? Would you like to connect with your audience with confidence and clarity when you speak?
Your voice is closely linked to your state of well-being and confidence. How you project your voice and your energy impacts how you feel as well as how you help your audience to feel.
Have you ever stopped to consider how you feel about your own voice and how it impacts others? Have you ever considered spending some time and attention on developing your voice?
Some of the benefits of developing your clear, confident, and connected voice, or what I call your ‘voice of leadership’ include:
Building trust & rapport
Being more effective as a speaker or a business person
Attracting more clients
Presenting yourself more successfully in any personal or professional situation.
There are four interrelated aspects of your voice to develop. I refer to these aspects in four categories: body, heart, mind, and spirit:
Physically, there are certain vocal and breathing techniques you can use to produce a confident and resonant voice.
Emotionally, your voice reflects your inner feelings as well as your level of warmth and interest in another.
Mentally, your voice contains the thoughts behind your message which are ideally well-framed, well-developed, logical, and clear.
Your voice reflects how connected you are to your sense of purpose, your mission, or
and to ‘the bigger picture’ in your life.
As a speaker, you work on creating a clear message as well as connecting to others to build rapport emotionally. It’s less common for speakers to focus on their physical vocal technique. Here are some techniques you can use to physically develop a confident, clear and connected voice:
1. The Three R’s of Projecting Your Voice:
Release: When the body is relaxed and released, the voice follows - spend some time freeing your body by sighing, swinging, and shaking loose tension which may stop you from voicing yourself fully.
Respiration: When you breathe fully into your lower diaphragm, you begin to lower your stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. As you calm and centre yourself through
breathing deeply, your voice also becomes fuller and more authoritative.
Resonance: There are two kinds of resonance you can access. The resonance in your chest area is used for more one on one conversations, whereas the resonance in your ‘mask’ or nose/ cheekbones area is more for presentations and projecting to a larger audience. To access these types of resonance, practice speaking as if the sound is literally coming through your sternum (for the one on one conversation) OR through your cheekbones (when projecting to a larger audience).
2. Articulation - speaking clearly
Practice tongue twisters - as if speaking to a deaf audience who needs to read your lips -
this will give you more clarity and authority in your speech. There are numerous tongue twister sites on google - here is one...http://www.uebersetzung.at/twister/en.htm
3. Vocal Dynamics
When you speak, avoid falling into a monotone by practising the five vocal dynamics - either through reading children’s stories, reciting poetry, or practising your presentation. Dynamics give liveliness to your speaking and keep your client’s attention and interest. Examples of dynamics include altering volume, pace, pitch (high-low), and the length of words (short-long) and adding pauses.
Remember, your voice is a powerful instrument.
The poet Rumi knew the power of his voice and often referred to his voice as a drum:
‘My voice is beating on the drum in your ear...don’t think that’s a casual thing.’
Sally Mabelle, ‘The Voice of Leadership’ Specialist. www.sallymabelle.com - Inspiring clear, confident, and connected communication for personal and cultural transformation.