World Voice Day
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Have you ever stopped to think just how important your voice is? Something you use every single day whether it’s with loved ones, work colleagues, clients, friends and whether in person, on the phone, whether singing or speaking. Your voice is uniquely you. Today, April 16th, is World Voice Day devoted to the importance of our voices and to taking care of this vital communication instrument. Every voice projects the personality of its speaker – you – and has the ability to persuade, empathise, lead and influence. And yet we underestimate the impact of our voices.
One of our most powerful assets is our voice and the way we use it. We tend to focus on WHAT we are saying more than HOW we are saying it. So much of the impact we make is through our voice and on the phone, for example, it’s over 80% because there are no other visual cues to go by!
Here are 4 key elements to help raise awareness of your voice and how you use it:
The best way to handle this is to drink some water and take a few (not deep) breaths to settle yourself. Practise this every time you speak in public.
3. Rhythm – Good rhythm is an essential part of a great voice. Simply put, you want to sound smooth, not choppy. One of the best ways to sound smooth is by extending your vowel sounds and sliding your words together. For instance, when you say “bus stop,” it should sound more like “busstop.” Sliding sounds and words together is more pleasing to the ear than a choppy, staccato sound pattern.
To develop rhythm, move your arm across your body in a smooth manner as you speak. Focus on connecting your speaking with the flow of the movement. Notice how your vowel sounds extend naturally. Notice the full, rich sound you make as you concentrate on connecting.
4. Pacing – Pacing is critical to add depth and dimension to your voice. Try speaking in short sentences–not long, complex sentences. When you speak in long, complex sentences, you tend to cram more words into one breath. When you compress your sounds, you are fitting more words into a breath and sucking out the tone and color of your voice. So remember, pace yourself. Speak in short sentences supported by small breaths.