Do you like the sound of your voice? If not, you are not alone.
First of all, there is the shock of hearing what you sound like on an audio or in a video recording. We are so used to how we sound from inside our own heads, that it is hard to believe that the sound of our voice from an external source is really our voice.
Second, there is such a demand these days to make videos, host podcasts, and lead webinars, that we really can’t avoid listening to ourselves far more often than we had in the past.
Video guru and mentor, Lou Bortone, reports that many of his clients are reluctant to make videos of themselves, either promoting their business or sharing their knowledge, simply because they don’t like how they sound on video.
So here are 3 things you can do to improve the sound of your voice, none of which requires any fancy high tech tools.
First: always take a breath before you start a new sentence or phrase. When you support your voice with your breath, you are able to access the resonance in your chest as you speak.
The other benefit of supporting the sound of your voice with your breath is that you don’t overwork your vocal folds (aka vocal chords), whose job description does not include supporting the sound of your voice (even though they often get stuck with the job).
If your voice is always tired by the end of the day, overworking your vocal folds by not using proper breath support may be a contributing factor.
Second: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!! Forget the old advice about drinking 8 glasses of water a day. Do you really think this advice works as well for both Peewee Herman and Michael Jordan? No way!
A better rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water a day. Yikes! That’s a lot more water than most of us are used to drinking.
Third: indulge in long-lasting yawns. And I don’t mean measly little barely opening your mouth yawns. I mean what my late mother called a Mammoth Cave Yawn. You should be able to feel the muscles at the back of your jaw stretching, and also see all of your lower teeth in the mirror, right to the back of your mouth.
Among other benefits, this type of yawn opens up the hinge of your jaw. As you finish yawning, focus on keeping open that internal space between your back upper and lower teeth. Placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth will make it much easier to keep the jaw relaxed.
The more space inside your mouth when you speak, the more resonance you will hear in your voice, as the mouth is one of the important resonating chambers of the voice.
To really get a sense of the difference this makes, experiment with saying the same sentence with your jaw closed down, and then again after you have yawned and opened up the hinge at the back of your jaw.
I like to start my day with at least five minutes of yawning off and on as I do my morning isometric exercises. Then I continue to yawn regularly during the day.
This has made a huge improvement in the resonance of my voice – which was actually pretty good already, given my training as a singer and voice actor.
When you indulge in some Mammoth Cave Yawns before you need to speak, you will not only enhance the sound of your voice, yawning will also help to wake up your brain cells so you function better, as well as reducing your feelings of nervousness – a true bonanza of benefits from a simple yawn.
Also published on Medium.