- Do you hear your voice on a recorded message and wonder, “Who is that?”
- Have you ever felt uncomfortable with your voice and wish you could speak differently?
Of the many people who answer “yes” to these two questions, only a fraction ever see a speech pathologist or voice coach to improve the sound of their voice. It is possible to develop a voice that reflects who you are and the imagine of yourself you want to project. Possessing a melodic voice with resonance is an asset on both personal and professional levels.
- What defines a “good speaking voice?”
Clear speech with standard production of all speech sounds is a prerequisite. In order to be clearly understood, your voice should be free of articulation errors, in other words, employ proper “diction.” For some speakers, especially those for whom English is not their native language, this may mean accent modification.
A natural sounding voice includes appropriate melody and rhythm to capture the listener’s attention. Flat, monotone speech with little variation puts listeners at arm’s length.
Speech with appropriate inflection helps reinforce you as a knowledgeable speaker. Sentences you use to give information should have a downward inflection at the end. “Up Speak,” that annoying rising inflection at the end of every sentence does not help to inspire confidence.
Vocal resonance is one of the keys to a voice that listeners find pleasing to the ear. Good resonance involves proper placement of speech sounds in the vocal and nasal cavities and provides a richness and warmth to the voice.
Vocal projection remains a critical factor: if you can’t be heard who will listen? Projecting your voice doesn’t mean yelling, however. Infusing energy with good breath support is the key to being heard.
Speaking with authority employs many of the features I’ve noted above and is probably one of the main reasons that doctors, lawyers, professionals in many fields, employ a vocal coach.
Good speakers who capture the attention of their listeners are not necessarily born that way. Many people work with a speech pathologist or voice coach to develop a more effective voice. Possessing a voice you like will make you a more confident person. Can you develop the skills to change the sound of your voice? Absolutely!
Check back soon for more articles on effective speaking, speech pathology, writing and executive function skills.