I joined West Kent Speakers Club in 2007 to be truthful I had just come out of my marriage after twenty years and I was looking for something interesting to do to get myself out of the house and rebuild my confidence. I realise now, I was intuitively drawn to public speaking having been a professional singer for many years before my marriage. I think I was looking for ways to exercise my voice as well as grow in confidence and regain my self-esteem. You just never know where popping along to a speaker’s club can take you! Here I am today coaching entrepreneurial women in the art of public speaking to promote their businesses and loving every minute of it.
It occurred to me as I worked through the Speakers Guide and the various assignments there was little information and guidance about how to use this amazing instrument we all possess in our voice. I realised that much of what I had been applying to my own singing voice over the years came in extremely useful when it came to speaking.
The human voice is an amazing instrument. Using it really effectively increases our ability to communicate our message with impact, depth, resonance and volume.
Did you know that your voice has the capability to produce at least 325 different pitches? Most of us never experiment enough to discover what even half of these pitches might be. Imagine what incredible speakers we could be if we did!
Did you know that apart from the muscles around your eyes, there are more nerves in the muscles of the larynx than any other muscle in your whole body? This indicates how sensitive this area of the body is.
Did you know that you use three quarters of your body energy to make a sound? This means that if you have an injury like a broken leg, arm, or a sprained muscle this affects the strength available for your voice. You can appreciate how important looking after your voice is when it can be so easily be affected by stress or when we become over excited.
As we age the muscles that help to produce our voice and sound in general weaken and we can lose volume. However, if we took the attitude that many people towards exercise or yoga and keep working on these muscles we can maintain strength and tone in our voice no matter what age we are.
Voice training, including using exercises like these in the video links below will help to increase vocal strength and the elasticity of your vocal chords, giving you a better tone, more volume and more durability. It is important to build strength and volume. Think of the marathon runner who runs every day to build strength in his/her legs. This is exactly the same with the voice. The muscles that help to produce sound need a daily workout. The concert pianist does not arrive at the Albert Hall ten minutes before his performance and expect to play brilliantly. He works for hours warming his body, hands, and the instrument until when he plays we cannot tell where he ends and the piano begins. All brilliant musicians are ONE with their instrument. So this should be when we speak but often, it is not. We are often guilty of taking our voice for granted, we have always made sound, since birth, and so it will always be so. Then one day we have a cold or sore throat and we hope our voice will not give out on us when we step up to speak. We need to build a relationship with this incredible instrument long before that happens. It will help us to limit the effects of a cold or cough.
Here are some exercises to help you build strength, durability, resonance and volume. Use the link below to go to the videos where I demonstrate how to do each exercise.
Do not under estimate the power of doing these exercises.These small exercises will help you to get your voice into shape, and help you to control any quivering, squeaking, tremors and wobbles. Notice how doing them daily increases your volume and helps you to become familiar with this amazing instrument that lives inside of you just waiting for you to notice, and serve you well in your public speaking adventures.
Exercises for your Voice:
- Kundalini Breathing– to help clear blockages within the throat chakra.
- Sirening– to start to warm the vocal chords
- Bubbling– to start to wake up the sinus chambers which act as echo chambers for the voice. This exercise will also help you to understand how important creating and shaping sound is.
- Vowel Sounds– This will help you to place your voice in different scales and increase the strength,
I have a Face Book Group – Speak Inspire & Shine where I do a FB Live every week on a topic about speaking. You can ask to join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SpeakInspireAndShine/about/
Aly Harrold is a member of West Kent Speakers Club and stood as President for 2015/16
She works as a Speaking Coach specialising in helping entrepreneurial women find their voice to deliver their message to a wider audience within the business arena. She has coached several TEDx Speakers and currently runs workshops and programmes for speakers in the South East.