A strong, dynamic voice is essential to projecting confidence in professional speaking. It doesn’t matter how strong your material is: if your speaking voice is weak or unpleasant to listen to, your message will be negatively impacted. Developing a strong, effective speaking voice begins with taking care of your voice so it functions well. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that they have habits that are damaging to their vocal cords. Take a look at our four tips below to keep your voice clear, strong, and ready for professional leadership:
• Relax! Excessive muscle tension can put extra strain on your vocal cords and cause injury over time. Before speaking in front of a group (or even before an important meeting or conversation), take time to do some brief stretches, concentrating on your neck, shoulders, and face (jaw, lips, tongue).
• Breathe for Better Speech: Your breath is the power behind your voice. By supporting your voice through proper breathing, you reduce tension in your vocal cords, minimizing the risk of injury and improving the strength and quality of your voice. When speaking, try to breathe deeply from your abdomen instead of your chest to get the strongest breath support possible. You should feel your stomach and ribs expand out as you breathe, instead of feeling your chest rise.
• Don’t Forget to Hydrate: Parched vocal cords can be easily damaged and decrease the quality of your voice; drink plenty of water, especially before speaking for a long time or in front of a group.
• Recognize and Nix Bad Habits: Avoid habitual throat clearing—each time you clear your throat, your vocal cords slam forcefully into one another, which can cause inflammation and injury over time. If it’s a nervous habit, try pausing when you feel the need to clear your throat. If you feel like your throat is actually irritated, try swallowing or taking a sip of water instead.
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