The Voice of Authority: Preserving Your Speaking Voice

Whether it’s the rich, resonant tones of Richard Burton, the breathiness of Marilyn Monroe, or the nasality of Fran Drescher, the sound of the voice conjures up an image, an impression, and can influence perception. Communication studies indicate that the voice is 38% of the message.
Effective CEOs know how to use the voice for effect but don’t always use the voice effectively.

If you do a lot of speaking , one of the bigger problems is laryngopharyngeal reflux, an inflammation near the back part of the larynx due to acid rising to that point. Thirty-five million people in the U.S. have acid reflux. Reflux is most common because executive speakers are on the go, stressed and may have poor diets.

The big five symptoms are:
• Vocal fatigue
• Lack of Projection
• Hoarseness as the day wears on
• Throat clearing
• Increased phlegm in the throat

To preserve the voice, don’t talk over noise or constantly clear your throat.

Another common voice problem is vocal paresis, a weakness in one or both vocal muscles manifesting in breathiness or fatigue. Vocal paresis can be caused by a flu or viral infection.
Even a monotone may be an indicator of a minor defect or partial paralysis. And also, speakers who have difficulty projecting could have some vocal fold asymmetry.

When hoarseness is the problem, first determine that there is no hemorrhage. Then start a process of hydration and steam. For frequent travelers, a dry hotel room can be harmful to the voice.

Avoid alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine before a speech. They dehydrate the mucous membranes.
To keep the voice in top shape, drink eight glasses of water a day, avoid dairy products, and eat a balance of protein and carbohydrates. Practice “safe speaking