caring for your voice

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month - Public Speaking Tip 1


Portrait of serene mature woman in garden Do you need a check-up from the neck up? May is Better Speech and Hearing Month and all month I'll be sending you tips on caring for your voice and articulators.

Just like working out at a gym, your facial and oral muscles need to be exercised to function well. Singers and performers warm up by singing scales. Public speakers need to do the same for their articulation.

Here is today's tip:

Warm up before your public speaking engagement with these vocal exercises for the lips, tongue, and jaw.

Lip trills: Say brrrrr. with your lips. It's the sound you make when you're cold. If you do it correctly, your lips will vibrate.

Lip and tongue coordination. Say puh tuh kuh, puh tuh kuh, puh tuh kuh in rapid fire succession.

Lip coordination: Place a pencil between your teeth and say this tongue twister-"Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers". It causes you to over articulate which will improve your clarity.

Jaw: Place the top of your hand under your chin. Drop your jaw as low as it can go. With your hand in place, say Yaw, Yaw, Yaw.

Do this daily or at least right before your next presentation. You'll feel more relaxed and you'll articulate more clearly and fluently.

Are You Straining To Speak?

speak-238488_1280I just returned from a networking event. The venue was crowded and noisy. The host tried to get our attention by speaking over the crowd. We had difficulty hearing him and he was obviously straining his voice. Straining your voice can cause laryngitis, vocal nodules and inflammation. A vocal pathology affects your image but can also cause you to cancel meetings and lose business. Too many people misuse their voices. To protect your voice, here are some tips for good vocal hygiene:

Never speak above noise. Find a quieter venue or use a microphone or an amplifier. Chattervox or VOISTA digital voice amplifer are two portable, cordless products you can carry with you.

Avoid dairy products 24 hours before a long speech. They create mucus build up. Drink water with lemon at room temperature. Coffee can restrict the veins. Alcohol has a drying effect.

Use abdominal breathing to project your voice and to remove tension from the neck muscles.

Hydrate the day before. Drinking lots of water will reduce dry mouth.

Do some neck roll exercises to relax the muscles.

Pause so you can fill up with enough air before your next sentence.

Take turns speaking. Who said you have to do all the talking? Let a partner have the floor to make announcements or introductions.

Don't speak at full volume. Practice speaking more softly when talking to an individual.

Resist clearing your throat. Take in air and swallow instead.

Practice vocal rest. People are constantly on their cell phones and taxing their vocal folds. Try 1o minutes of silent meditation each morning. Better yet, practice the art of listening. It will save your voice and pay great dividends in building relationships.