I 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.