Love The Sound Of Your Voice?

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With its rich harmonic content of sounds, enabling one to express a variety of emotions, it’s a wonderful kaleidoscope of colours and nuances that reflect every emotion we feel. It’s called the human voice, your voice.

As you enter into this world, bellowing out your first cry, you stamp the universe with the impression of the very
essence of your first sound, your voice. You are announcing to the world, ‘Here I am!’ and from that moment, with every breath you take, your voice is your instrument to communicate – as human beings, we are born to communicate our emotions with our most sacred and unique instrument, our voices.

Why, then, do so many of us speak too fast or mumble, speak high-pitched or monotone, run out of breath or become nervous when speaking in front of a group? It’s simple – somehow, along the way, we lost our connection of how to breathe with our voice.

You could be one of many that may fall into the category of not knowing how to breathe properly when speaking. Often, when people take a breath and especially before having to speak before a group, many breathe through their nose. Unfortunately, that is the first mistake. Why? If you continue to breathe through your nose while you are speaking, you will tighten your larynx and put more tension in your throat.

Breathing through the nose is for sleeping, yoga and any form of meditative relaxation. When speaking, it is important to breathe with your mouth slightly opened, to let the air pass through and then to exhale gently, not
letting the shoulders slump or your chest deflate. Keep your posture straight and gently push in your abdominal muscles, again, breathe in through your mouth and now exhale with the sound ‘Ahhh’ or ‘Ohhh’. Try this a few times, to feel the connection between taking a breath and exhaling. Great. Now, breathe again and, when you exhale, instead of sounding a vowel, say your name. It probably felt strange, because more than likely you said your name too fast, or did not pause between your first and last name. Also, how did you sound? Were you too soft, rushed, bored, distracted, shy, etc?

Remember, your name is your identity. You were born with a magnificent voice, the ability to speak and a wonderful name describing who you are. Now let’s breathe in again and exhale and, while saying your name, actually taste the consonants and slowly try to elongate the vowels. Try this a few times and you will hear, each time, that the sound of your name has more ‘presence’. If you want to verify the difference, record your voice in the old way and try it a few times following the exercise, you will hear your name and the sound of your name. Remember, not only your name, but how you say your name, is part of your identity.

Today, we live in a multicultural world that’s bursting with diversity, we meet so many people from many different
cultures. Therefore, when you say your name on your voice-mail, it is often the introduction that another person hears. Remember to take time in saying your name, pause after your first name before saying your family name and try at least three different dynamics (meaning volumes) when saying your name. Most importantly, not too fast. How many times have you heard ‘could you repeat that please’?

Because we live and work in such a diverse world, it is vital to communicate with clarity, colour and sustainability. It is important that your voice be used to enhance your position at work.

Let it be understood that there are differences between male and female voices as men have longer vocal chords, which produce a deeper sound, and a deeper resonance because of their larger physique. Therefore, if men don’t support their voice, their sound comes across as mumbling, monotone or in some cases too high, whereas women have shorter vocal chords, which gives them a naturally higher sound. In general having smaller physiques than men, women’s resonance is also higher and, because of these differences, women’s voices tend to sound more expressive. If a woman does not properly support her breathing while raising her voice, her voice will go up in pitch and/or her sentences may sound like questions instead of statements and, consequently, she may be interpreted as being emotional, nervous or insecure, when she is not.

When you take into consideration these important elements of the human voice, you can at the same time appreciate and discover your own voice’s vast capabilities for communication. If you can think about these simple steps and then gently apply them when you have to introduce yourself, speaking on the telephone or in front of a group, you will be that much further towards optimizing your unique communication tool.