Some people naturally have an excellent speaking voice that sounds pleasant and interesting. most of us are not so fortunate. Some can have real problems and when they open their mouths what comes out does not match the message. For example, a very competent and professional lawyer with a rather squeaky voice may find it difficult to be taken seriously. First impressions count, so when you start to speak you need to be prepared.
A real challenge can be when others realise you have a problem, but cannot raise it because they fear your reaction and they cannot offer a solution.
What I do is teach people how to breathe and how to ensure their voice feels and sounds confident and resonant. There are simple exercises that will develop your voice and add to your confidence. This is important whether speaking to a large audience in a hall, in a small meeting, in a radio studio or on camera.
If you practise the exercises you will know and feel the difference. You will realise that you can control your voice so that people will listen even when you speak quietly, as they can still hear exactly what you are saying. And, when needed, you will be able to raise the volume and improve audibility, without having to shout.
You will be confident at varying the pitch and pace of what you are saying. None of this is a trick, but a matter of learning the right skills and how to use them.
I know you can breathe, but lying on the floor will help you to understand how to breathe, so that’s where we start. Lying on the floor relaxing helps you to feel how your lungs work.
At the same time as learning how to breathe, we start working on your voice, and we will use humming a lot! Why? Because your voice needs to be supported by your body, powered by your lungs, and fill your head! And humming is very good for that. Hmmmm…
Lips & Tongue
Musicians spend much time practising scales and arpeggios, dancers spend time exercising, and athletes develop their muscles and minds. The reason they do this is to ensure their equipment is working easily and ready to do what’s required. That’s the reason we will use tongue twisters and other exercises of the lips and tongue. Remember Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers…???
"After having regular complaints that people could not hear me, even when I was using amplification, I now get people thanking me for speaking so clearly and for being easy to understand. Credit for this goes to Steven. He patiently taught me to find my voice and introduced me to techniques which I now find invaluable. I now often address 80 plus people in a mid-sized room with no amplification, and have had no complaints about being heard." (JS – financial adviser and preacher)