Speaking Tips: 7 Ways to Improve and Soothe Your Voice

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Workshops and seminars can be hard on your voice. And as a seminar leader, your voice is your bread and butter.

When I was attending a webinar by my friend, Melanie Kissell recently, she mentioned some ways to get your voice ready for a seminar that I had never heard off.  So naturally, I invited her to come over to my blog and enlighten us.  And boy, did she come through!

Speaking Tips:  7 Ways to Improve and Soothe Your Voice

Guest post from Melanie Kissell

Your voice is a valuable and delicate instrument.

You’ll want to keep it finely tuned as if you were a pianist who must keep her piano tuned.

“When you think voice, think variation in pacing, volume, tone, and emotional feel. Variation provides interest and keeps attention as you orchestrate your message to the heart, to the head, and to the funny bone.” ~ Terry Paulson

Although humorous, here’s what you DON’T want people saying about your voice:

A voice like a concertina that had been left out in the rain – Max Beerbohm

A voice like a coyote with bronchitis – O. Henry

A voice that could have been used for paint remover – Raymond Chandler

A voice you could have cracked a brazil nut on – Raymond Chandler

Before you step in front of your next seminar audience or prior to hosting your next virtual event, gather up some tried and true techniques for putting your best voice forward.

Ways To Improve And Soothe Your Voice:

1.) Don’t drink like a fish — drink like a whale! (And we’re not talking alcohol here) Keeping your vocal cords wet is an important part of improving them. Drinking at least 64 ounces of fluids spread throughout the day will keep your voice lubricated.

The voice likes wet and warm – don’t drink ice water, drink tepid water.

2.) Fatty foods compromise voice quality. Although stereotypes suggest heavier people have better voices, it’s a proven fact regular exercise improves the health and quality of your voice.

3.) To comfort a fatigued voice, many professional speakers choose to drink honey and lemon in warm water. Warm peppermint or chamomile tea with or without honey can also be very soothing to the voice. The natural peppermint will give you energy and the chamomile will calm you.

If you are under the weather, rest your voice.

Don’t strain your voice. Use a microphone, if possible.

4.) Can’t make it to the gym? No worries. Exercise your voice from the comfort of your home. Most of us are aware of the importance of exercising the body but few people realize the voice needs exercise, too.

Doing a few minutes of simple warm-up exercises can increase your vocal power, variety, range, and fitness and dramatically improve the overall quality of your presentations.

  • Make as many funny faces as you can to exercise all of your facial muscles and massage other tense areas like your temples, forehead, eyebrows, and scalp.
  • Yawn a few times to open up the back of the throat.
  • Hum — holding any pitch for 10 or more seconds feeling a tingling sensation around your lips and nose.
  • Flap your lips making a “Brrrr” sound. Start on any pitch. Then go up and down your vocal range.
  • Vocalize on an open “Aah” sound going up and down your range.
  • Sing or hum any song that uplifts or inspires you!

5.) Good Foods to Eat Before You Step Up to The Microphone:

Honey

With its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, public speaking experts tout honey as a soothing remedy for rough, scratchy throats. Vocal cords are delicate structures and even the slightest injury can have serious consequences for your voice.

A Light Meal of Whole Grains, Protein, Fruit, and Vegetables

It’s important to keep your body nourished so you’ll have the stamina and spunk to make the most of your moment in the spotlight! Chicken, fish, eggs, and rice are suitable to eat before a speaking engagement. A couple of slices of green apple and vegetables are also excellent choices.

6.) Foods to Avoid Before Your Next Speaking Gig:

Caffeinated Drinks

Caffeinated drinks are a no-no due to their tendency to cause dehydration, which can leave the mouth, throat, and vocal cords dry and parched. They can also aggravate acid reflux.

Dairy Products

The consumption of dairy products can increase mucus production which can lead to excessive throat clearing — a process that can injure the vocal cords.

Carbonated Beverages

Fizzy drinks can also promote acid reflux and negatively impact the voice.

Citrus Fruits

Fruits such as oranges and grapefruits can dry out the lining of the throat.

7.) Voice Production Tips from Keith Davis, my dear friend and phenomenal Public Speaking Expert:

  • Breathe from the diaphragm – “belly breathing”. Breathe in and belly goes out, breathe out and belly goes in. Practice breathing out by blowing out gently.
  • Resonance – say MMMMMMMM and feel the vibration around your “mask” area, nose, mouth, and eyes. Then try and keep that resonance / vibration as you speak.
  • Don’t increase volume by shouting, rather increase the resonance. Resonance gives power shouting gives you a sore throat.
  • Make sure that you bend your knees slightly – don’t lock them. Try this: Stand and speak with knees locked then kneel forward slightly and feel your back and neck adjust. Locking your knees pushes out your stomach.
  • A good exercise: Stand up and start walking whilst reading your script. At each punctuation mark, comma or full stop, change direction and hear your voice change. The RSC do that in their training.
  • Practice saying PTK, PTK and BDG, BDG. Makes you move your tongue from front to middle to back of your mouth – speed it up, faster, faster.
  • Move your tongue quickly with: tip tapity tip tap tip, tip tapity tip tap tip, tip tapity tip tap tip.

And finally …

Your voice is most beautiful when its sounds come from deep within your authentic self. Your voice may not be perfect, professional, or even what others call “on pitch” and that’s okay.

To really WOW your audience …

Give yourself the green light to let your inner voice roar!

 

Melanie KissellMelanie Kissell is a single mom who is keenly aware of what it’s like to have a BIG supply of expertise and passion and a SHORT supply of time and money to build a business. She guides solopreneurs in being able to say “Too-da-loo” to confusion and chaos, “Bye-Bye” to a long learning curve, and “Hello” to building a business on a shoestring budget!

Speaking Tip from Daphne

Now that you have your improved and soothed your voice, be sure to put it to good use!. You can get more speaking gigs when you have a powerful Speaker One-Sheet. These customizable speaker one-sheet templates make it super easy to create your own speaker marketing materials and updating them takes only minutes!

Check them out here. Then create your beautiful one-sheet, get more speaking engagements and fill your workshops.

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Daphne Bousquet, CMP

Daphne Bousquet, CMP

For more strategies to make your workshops and seminars more profitable, you’ll want to pick up a copy of the free report "Three Simple Secrets To Making 10K In A Day With Small Workshops." Daphne Bousquet uses her 20+ years of event industry experience to create profitable event strategies and marketing for coaches, entrepreneurs, speakers and self employed professionals that want to grow their businesses with workshops and seminars. She is the creator of the Butts In Seats Virtual Boot Camp, a unique digital course that teaches you how to fill your events with your ideal audience.
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP

Comments

  1. Excited and honored to be taking a seat on your blog today, Daphne — alongside Keith Davis, one of the best public speaking experts around!

    Thank you for inviting me to be your guest author and I hope these tips will help your fans and followers improve and soothe their voices. 🙂
    Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..I Don’t Want To Be A “Lead” When I Grow Up

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Thanks for writing this, Melanie. As soon as I heard you mention green apples, I knew I had to get you on here and share this.

      These are some great tips and I am glad you had Keith contribute his considerable expertise!

      Doing a full day workshop or a multi-day seminar is really hard on someone’s voice, so it’s great to know what to do to keep your voice in the best shape possible.

      • I had tons of fun crafting this post, Daphne, and it provided me the opportunity to share a bit of my “medical” expertise. 😉

        Most of the folks in my online network have no idea I’ve worked in the field of medicine for many, many years.

        Thanks again for inviting me to be a guest blogger!
        Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..I Don’t Want To Be A “Lead” When I Grow Up

  2. Hajra says:

    Hey Melanie,

    I loved this so much! Though I don’t do public speaking often; I sometimes conduct training courses and find myself speaking in front of a crowd. My voice seems to be fine, just that my throat gets stuck and somehow my voice seems to have changes to just be “stuck” and I find myself clearing my throat way too often. Maybe I need to try the honey thing more regularly.

    I loved Keith’s suggestion too! This post is definitely going into my bookmarks! 🙂

    Loved it!
    Hajra recently posted..Will they call you over for a bloggers party?

    • Hey Hajra!

      So glad you found some value in this post. Warms my heart to know you’ll be bookmarking this one. 🙂

      About clearing your throat during speaking engagements …

      If that’s happening because you’re a bit nervous or anxious, try this little breathing exercise before you speak: Breathe in to the count of 4 and then breathe out to the count of 8. Do that three or four times. It really helps you to relax.

      Otherwise, you may be clearing your throat because you ate some kind of dairy product a couple of hours prior to your speaking gig.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll pass this post along to your network of fellow bloggers. 😉
      Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..I Don’t Want To Be A “Lead” When I Grow Up

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Hello Hajra,

      Great to see you here checking out Melanie’s guest post.
      My personal favorite tip is the green apple slices suggestion. Who knew? (Other than Melanie) I am taking a green apple to all my speaking gigs from now on…
      Thanks for commenting and I hope to see you back here soon!

      • Hajra says:

        Hey Daphne.

        Melanie is one of my favorite writers! I follow her around everywhere… kind of like a stalker, but a good one! 🙂

        The green apple suggestion did catch my attention, but somehow green apples are something I don’t like much… maybe I need to get chewing on them to change my “thoughts” about them…I hope green apples aren’t listening! 😉

        I will be back. but mind you I get very talkative! 🙂
        Hajra recently posted..Will they call you over for a bloggers party?

        • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

          LOL! Melanie is one of my favorite bloggers as well, and definitely “stalk-worthy”.

          Come over any time and we’ll chat. Talkative commenters are absolutely welcome here.

      • Hey Daphne — my pleasure to be taking up space here today! 🙂

        Green apples are so good for your voice because they’re rather “acid-y”. They’ll cut through any stuff or gunk in your vocal cords and clear the way for a nice “crisp” presentation!

        Professionals who anchor the news and those who do voice overs for a living ALWAYS have a bowl of cool crisp green apples nearby. 😉
        Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..I Don’t Want To Be A “Lead” When I Grow Up

  3. Melanie,

    This is a fantastic post! Between you and Keith, you covered just about every single point I could think of. As I read I thought of two speaking courses I’ve taken and you definitely covered them.

    I also appreciated your digging deeper and mentioning the recommended foods to consume, as well as the ones to avoid. I recall that the first time I did my voice exercises, I was giggling like a kid because it seemed as if I had a frog croaking with me when I hit the really low exercise notes, but they certainly helped to loosen my vocal chords. 🙂

    Thanks for inviting Melanie over, Daphne. Great choice of Guest Blogger.
    Yvonne A Jones recently posted..Using Testimonials to Attract More Clients to Your Business

    • Hi Yvonne

      Thanks for dropping in to join the conversation!

      The voice exercises do make you giggle sometimes, don’t they? 😉

      I think we’ve all experienced that “frog” in our throats — even DURING speaking engagements. LOL!
      Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..I Don’t Want To Be A “Lead” When I Grow Up

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Thanks for visiting Yvonne. It was so nice to actually meet you in real life this weekend at NAMS as well. Like we mentioned to each other, Melanie is a fantastic blogger and we hope to see her at NAMS next time!

      • Daphne and Yvonne,

        I’m SO thrilled the two of you got to meet in person at NAMS! 🙂

        I’ll never stop believing in angels and miracles. So if my guardian angel is watching over and I can be blessed with the miracle of no longer trading hours for dollars and having to work year round …

        I’ll see you both at the next NAMS!
        Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..I Don’t Want To Be A “Lead” When I Grow Up

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