the Real Power in Your Voice
W. Richardson, CSP
go to the gym to exercise and strengthen our bodies, and as a result
we feel very good. What
about your voice . . . what do you do to exercise and strengthen it?
voice is a critical part of our message.
We've all heard everything from the high, squeaky voice to
the low, gravelly voice. There
are speakers who need a microphone if there are more than 5 people
in the room and those whose voice seems to carry into the next room.
listeners make judgments about our level of professionalism and our
trustworthiness simply from the sound of our voice. If we truly want to take charge of our communication style,
we must develop our verbal skills.
you are a pitcher in a baseball game.
Instead of throwing the ball, you are throwing your voice.
That ability comes with practice.
voice should express conviction, vitality and enthusiasm to seize
attention. A weak voice
is dull and uninteresting. As
you develop your vocal power, you will improve the quality of your
voice -- even for those times you choose to speak very softly.
source of power in your voice is your diaphragm which is a group of
muscles and tendons located between the chest and the abdominal
cavity. The diaphragm
controls the action of the lungs, the "bellows" of speech.
A column of air is forced from the lungs, through the trachea
and to the larynx, where tone is generated.
The tone then resonates in the holes in the head and the
organs of articulation further define the sound.
proper use of your diaphragm, your upper abdomen (not your upper
chest) will expand when you inhale and contract when you exhale. If you do not use your diaphragm properly, your breathing
will be shallow and will not support your voice adequately.
four steps in the production of voice are:
the quality of your voice depends primarily on the tone support
generated by the diaphragm and your breathing.
you speak, prepare your voice with the following exercises.
Continued practice will permanently improve the sound of your
- Remember this is going to be FUN!
a few times.
your shoulders and hold them tightly for 10 seconds - then release
them and relax.
your fists (tighten your entire body) and hold your muscles tight
for 10 seconds - release and relax.
Breathe - Without a continuous flow of oxygen your entire body will become
extremely tense. KEEP
like a dog. FEEL your
diaphragm muscles functioning.
your hands below your rib cage and around your sides. With your thumbs pointed towards your back and your fingers
around your stomach, FEEL your stomach fill with air and PUSH it
- Imagine the gas pedal on your car.
You are about to accelerate.
can say any sentence but think of starting out slowly and then
stepping firmly on the gas.
on one side of the room and say your name and address to someone
on the other side.
- The depth and quality of your voice project professionalism.
Tarzan? Give a strong
Tarzan yell. Let you
voice create the warbling affect.
your vocal cords - this is a very deep gargle effect. You must totally relax your throat and slowly let the air
flow out. If done
correctly, you will feel a deep vibration of your vocal cords.
For many people this takes considerable practice but don't
give up because the results are noticeable.
last word of advice -- PRACTICE these voice exercises every day.
Get into a habit. You will be pleased and amazed at the improvement in the
quality of your presentations.
you have an accent you would like to modify or get rid of (e.g.,
deep Southern, harsh New York, ethnic, etc.)?
Please fax your business card with the word
"accent" written on it to 480-415-9372 to receive "5
Tips to Help Lose That Accent" or
send an e-mail with the subject line "accent" and
including your name, telephone number and company information to email@example.com.
Schedule a Speaking Engagement or
Free Twenty Minute Consultation with David W. Richardson, CSP
Call 1-800-338-5831 or e-mail us at