How to Improve Your Speaking Voice (and Sound Authoritative)
Have you ever heard two speakers with the same voice?
Everyone has a unique voice, but that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement. Whether you are looking to project more confidence or simply sound more pleasant, there are several things you can do to improve the quality of your voice.
Like any other muscle, you should exercise your vocal cords regularly to stay strong and healthy. Daily simple vocal exercises can help keep your cords in good condition and improve overall speech clarity.
Importance of a Better and More Authoritative Speaking Voice
Many believe that having an authoritative speaking voice plays an important role in many life aspects. An authoritative speaking voice is the key to success in many aspects of life.
A commanding voice can help you get what you want, persuade others to see things your way, and be respected in various situations.
Whether you’re asking for a raise at work or trying to win over a jury, the ability to project confidence and authority can make all the difference.
Even in social settings, those with a commanding presence tend to be more successful in getting what they want. If you’re looking to improve your chances of success in any area of life, developing a better speaking voice is a great place to start.
Valuable Tips on How You Can Improve Your Speaking Voice
1. Drink Plenty of Water and Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Before Speaking
It is vital to keep your vocal cords hydrated, mainly if you use them frequently throughout the day. Drinking lots of water is useful and help your throat stay hydrated.
Throat hydration plays a vital role in preventing harshness in the voice. If speaking in a dry environment, such as a conference room or auditorium, consider sucking on lozenges to keep your throat moist.
Caffeine and alcohol can have a drying effect on the vocal cords, so it is best to avoid them before speaking. If you want to consume caffeine to start your day, it is better that you drink a lot of water after that.
You should avoid alcohol altogether before speaking, as it can make your speech slurred and may affect your ability to concentrate.
2. Warm Up Your Voice by Humming or Singing for a Few Minutes
Before you speak in front of an audience, it is important to warm up your voice. Warming up is essential in keeping away the stress on vocal cords.
One way to warm your voice is to hum for a few minutes, which helps improve your speech authority and quality.
You can also try singing a simple song or scale. If you do not like to sing, simply humming will still be beneficial.
3. Speak From Your Diaphragm for a Deeper, More Resonant Voice
Use your diaphragm when you speak, as this helps you sound more authentic and profound. You can practice speaking from the diaphragm by keeping one hand on your stomach.
Breathe in and see your belly expand. You can exhale when you speak. Additionally, speaking from the diaphragm will give your voice more power and control.
4. Pause Between Sentences to Give Listeners Time to Process What You’ve Said
Taking occasional pauses in between delivering a speech is essential. Doing this will help your audience catch up and get a better chance to understand the topic.
Your audience may miss important information or become confused if you speak too quickly.
You can also use pauses for dramatic effect. For example, pause before the climax to add suspense if you are telling a story.
5. Pronounce Words Clearly and Enunciate Each Syllable
When you are speaking, be sure to use proper pronunciation and enunciation. The right articulation plays a significant role in delivering the right meaning of what you are saying.
Moreover, your audience will get what you are communicating correctly.
We recommend you consult Google or a dictionary to confirm the correct pronunciation. Make sure to choose the proper pronunciation according to your region.
To enunciate properly:
- Deliver each word clearly with your mouth and tongue.
- Do not mumble or rush through your words, as this can make them challenging to understand.
- Practice speaking slowly and deliberately, and be sure to annunciate each syllable.
6. Use Gestures to Help Communicate Your Points
Use gestures to improve your communication skills. Gestures can be very helpful in emphasizing certain words or ideas, and they can also help to keep your audience engaged and interested in what you are saying.
However, you should avoid using too many gestures. Your audience can get annoyed or distracted by doing so.
7. Smile and Make Eye Contact With Your Audience
Smiling not only makes you look more approachable and likable and can also help improve your voice quality.
Smiling helps your face relax, allowing you to speak more slowly and evenly, which can help prevent your voice from sounding shaky or nervous.
It can be tempting to stare at the floor or focus on a single person in the crowd but try to spread your gaze as much as possible.
Looking around will help you to engage with more people and project a more powerful voice.
8. Practice Good Breathing Techniques and Avoiding Throat Irritants
To speak with a strong, clear voice, you must ensure that your vocal cords are healthy. Practicing good breathing techniques and avoiding anything that could irritate or damage your vocal cords is beneficial.
Remember to take deep breaths. It is better if the oxygen reaches your stomach rather than staying at chest level.
Your breathing exercises should involve the expansion of your stomach so that you can properly use your diaphragm while speaking. Strengthening your diaphragm will help you to breathe more efficiently and support your vocal cords better.
In addition to practicing good breathing techniques, you must avoid anything that could irritate your vocal cords.
The list of items you should avoid is long and includes caffeine, cigarettes, spices, alcohol, etc. These substances can all cause inflammation and damage to the vocal cords. If you must consume them, do so in moderation and stay hydrated.
9. Use Appropriate Volume and Pace
When speaking, it is important to use an appropriate volume and pace. Ensure that your audience can hear you properly. Thus, you should avoid speaking too loud and too slow.
If you are unsure how loudly to talk, ask a friend or practice in an open room. Moreover, you can also check in the mic before you speak and ask if everyone can hear your voice.
You should also pay attention to your talking speed. If you speak too quickly, your audience may have difficulty understanding you.
However, if you use a slow pace, people will find it difficult to get a grip on your story. Thus, find a balance between the maximum and minimum speed.
If you are going to speak at an international conference, keep your pace slow and the volume slightly high. A high volume and slow pace will help non-natives understand what you are saying.
10. Avoid Clearing Your Throat Too Often
Clearing your throat is a natural reflex that helps to remove mucus or other irritants from the throat.
However, if you keep cleaning your throat, it can cause raspiness in your voice. The best way to avoid clearing the throat often is by staying hydrated.
11. Practice Speaking Regularly
Daily practice is essential to improve your speaking voice. Daily practice can also strengthen your vocal cords, as they can become weak and strained if you don’t use your voice often. There are many different ways to practice your speaking voice.
One way is to read at least ten pages aloud daily. You can read anything from a short article to a chapter from a book. When you are reading, pay attention to your diction and pronunciation. Moreover, form each word clearly with your mouth and tongue.
Another way to practice is to take acting or public speaking classes. These classes will teach you how to project your voice and use proper diction.
Another way of exercising your vocal cords is recording your reading voice. Listen back to your recording and see if you can find any errors.
Moreover, take notes on how you can improve the errors. You will see a positive change and authority in your voice after a few days of practice.
12. Avoiding Common Speaking Pitfalls
There are a few common speaking pitfalls that you should try to avoid.
The first thing you should minimize in your speech is the filler words. Avoid saying “like,” “actually,” “um,” and other related words. These words can make you sound unsure of yourself and interrupt your speech’s flow.
Second, avoid jargon or technical terms your audience may not know, and if you must use such terms, be sure to explain them clearly.
Finally, avoid speaking in absolutes such as “always” or “never.” This can make you sound dogmatic and rigid.
13. Take a Deep Breath Before You Begin Speaking
A lot of speakers find it helpful to take a deep breath before speaking. This is because it helps them relax their muscles and allows them to speak without stress.
14. Consult a Professional
Suppose you have tried all the above tips but are still unsatisfied with how your voice sounds. In this case, consider consulting a professional speech therapist.
On the off chance that there might be some issues with your vocal cords or tissues, a professional can help you in a better way. Speech therapists can assess what is causing any problems and give you specific exercises to improve the quality of your voice.
How Can I Be My Vocal Coach?
Anyone can benefit from having a vocal coach, even professional singers. Vocal coaches help singers learn how to sing with proper technique, improve their vocal range, and reduce strain on their voice.
Even a motivational speaker or comedian can also see a major difference in speech delivery after consulting a vocal coach.
Undoubtedly, a vocal coach can help you in improving your speech, but they charge a lot. Fortunately, you can take the help of many free and workable exercises.
- Start by recording yourself singing so that you can hear your voice
- Pay attention to pitch, dynamics, and breath support
- Make notes of your mistakes and improvements
- Find a book or online resource that covers proper vocal technique
- Practice the exercises regularly
- Warm up your voice before singing or speaking by doing some humming exercises
You need to keep practicing these tips daily to see some results. You can be your own vocal coach and save money by following these steps.
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Improving Their Speaking Voice?
One of the most common mistakes is speaking too loud and quickly. A rapid pace can make it difficult for listeners to understand what you are saying.
Another common mistake is failing to articulate clearly. Moreover, many people believe that speaking with a more powerful voice requires them to speak louder. However, this is not necessarily the case.
Conclusion: How to Improve Speaking Voice
A great speaking voice can be an asset in personal and professional contexts. If you are not happy with yours, you can take steps to improve it.
Relaxing your jaw, breathing from your diaphragm, speaking slowly, avoiding a rapid pace, using expressions and gestures, and practicing regularly will help you project a stronger, more confident voice. If needed, consult a professional for further assistance.
In addition to exercising your vocal cords, staying hydrated is also important. Drinking plenty of fluids helps to keep the mucous membranes surrounding the vocal cords moist, which allows them to vibrate more easily.
Finally, be mindful of your posture when speaking. By paying attention to these simple tips, you can significantly improve the quality of your speaking voice.