Voice Training Exercise | Easy steps to improve the sound of your voice
How to Project Your Normal Speaking Voice
Projecting your normal speaking voice is an essential tool for proper verbal communication. The ability to project your voice properly can be a challenge, and is a skill that some of us have to have to learn. Through proper enunciation, the right breathing, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can quickly learn how to project your normal speaking voice.
Learning To Breathe Properly
Avoid shallow breaths.How you breathe has a direct effect on the way your voice is projected. Taking shallow breaths uses only the air in your lungs, which causes you to run out of air quicker than you want. This makes the muscles in your throat tense up, which puts strain on your voice and prevents it from carrying to your audience.Instead, you should be taking deep breaths using your diaphragm.
Keep good breathing posture.In order to breathe for projection, you need to be standing totally erect, without slouching in order to let the most air in as you breathe. The only thing that should be moving is your stomach as you inhale and exhale.
- If your shoulders and chest rise when you inhale, you are breathing using only your lungs, which prevents proper projection.
Breathe from your belly.As you inhale, place your hand on your belly, feel it expand. You want to make sure your chest doesn't move as you inhale, this indicates that you're not breathing with your diaphragm. You should feel as though your entire abdominal cavity is filling up with air as you inhale.
Learn different breathing techniques.Taking deep breaths requires proper use of your diaphragm. To project your speaking voice, you're going to need to be able to breathe deeper and take more breaths. There are several ways to practice breathing skills.
- Yawn to open your chest and larynx. Big yawns help us open up our chest to facilitate a deep breath. Stretch your torso while you do it, and make big vowel sounds as you expel the breath to practice projecting as you speak.
- Laugh. There’s a reason a good laugh is referred to as a “gut buster.” Laughing is a function performed by diaphragm, and is a fun way to practice the deep breaths necessary to project your voice. Laugh heartily, using big open vowel sounds as you expel your breath. Alternatively, laugh with your mouth closed. This makes it harder to use only the breath in your chest so you learn to utilize the diaphragm instead.
- Count or say whole sentences in a single breath. The higher the number you reach or the longer the sentence, the more you will need to use your diaphragm to support it.
Exercise regularly.Being in shape has many health benefits, one of which is better respiratory function and breathing. Spending about 30 minutes a day on a treadmill or performing some other form of cardio is a healthy way to facilitate better breathing. Yoga in particular, can help you learn to control your breath more accurately.
Focusing On Articulation
Work on enunciating.In order for a word to be properly pronounced and enunciated, it must be accurately formed, completed, and supported by your breathing.Now that you know how to breath correctly, are you clearly pronouncing each syllable in each word? Most of us don’t practice proper enunciation in casual conversation, but it is crucial for voice projection.
- Pay attention to how you pronounce words ending in ‘ing’ like driving, drinking, or working. Say them out loud. Did you pronounce them as ‘driv-in’, ‘drink-in’, and ‘work-in’? Failing to enunciate the last syllable of the word causes you to mumble which inhibits voice projection.
- Actors in Shakespearean plays--who need to project their voices across auditoriums--are known to enunciate so much that they actually spit on the first few rows! Enunciation to this degree is unnecessary, but exaggerated enunciation will definitely help your audience understand what you are saying.
Put energy into your words.Have you ever met someone who spoke in a monotone voice? Ever notice how hard it was to follow what they were saying because of their lack of emphasis and energy? Another aspect to good voice projection is making sure you're putting enough energy and emphasis behind your words. It might feel weird or as though you're over emphasizing, but if you're breathing properly it will come across naturally to your audience.
Exercise your tongue and lips.Over exaggerate your words by stretching your cheeks. Make your lips more nimble with lip and tongue exercises that require opening your vowels and making your consonants clearer and better enunciated.
- Stretch your cheeks to open your mouth as wide as possible, then smile as big as you can. To exercise your tongue, practice rolling your R's.
Memorize and recite tongue twisters.Try repeating “diction is done with the tip of the tongue and the teeth” or “red leather, yellow leather” out loud until you’re able to enunciate every syllable properly.
Improve your posture.Poor posture causes shallow breathing which harms your voice projection. You should also avoid slumping shoulders and slouching as these cause your words to be pointed towards the floor rather than your audience.
- Stand straight with your chin up and shoulders back to project your voice out to the audience.
- Sitting can make voice projection more difficult, so proper posture is critical. Make sure to sit towards the front edge of your chair with your back as straight and elongated as possible. Pretend there is a string at the top of your head holding it up and straight.
Make your voice bigger.Some people think of projecting their voice as pushing to make it louder, but that only causes strain to your vocal cords, exacerbating the problem. Instead, you want to make your voicelarger.When pushing your voice to project, you'll feel strain in your throat as you do after yelling. When making your voice bigger, you'll feel your chest doing the work.
- Imagine that your throat and mouth are huge, as big as the room you’re speaking in. This will help the muscles inside your throat pull away and relax as they do when you yawn, so a bigger voice can emerge.
Avoid nervous habits.Never cover your mouth when you speak- any object between your mouth and the person you talk to will obstruct your voice even more. It’s also helpful to avoid fillers such as “um” or “uh” as these tend to make your voice trail off instead of project outward.
Talk to the mirror.Studying yourself while you speak will help you identify any possible pitfalls you may be succumbing to. Watch to see if you bring your hand up to cover your mouth, or if you start to slouch and look at the ground. Being able to see pitfalls in real time helps you learn to quickly fix them.
Record yourself speaking.Like the mirror trick, recording yourself to play back later will help you hear whether you’re on the right track, or if you’re pushing your voice instead of making it bigger. If you're pushing, your voice tends to sound strained and a bit higher in pitch than normal. Making your voice bigger should result in a slightly deeper and broader sound when played back.
QuestionWhen I'm acting, what should I do with my hands?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFor starters, find someone who talks with their hands, pay attention to them and take note of how their hands move with their word emphases. Later, when performing your dialogue, pinpoint some cues in your lines to movements for your hands.Thanks!
- If you have one available, use a tape recorder to listen to your speech and measure progress.
- Talk to your friends. Consider every conversation an opportunity to practice voice projection. Work on eye contact and posture for confidence.
- Remind yourself to speak up using a physical cue. Put a small token in your pocket and make a habit of reaching for it while you speak. When you touch the token, let it be a cue to speak louder and more clearly. Eventually, just touching the token--or even just sticking your hand in your pocket--will remind you to speak louder.
- Speak publicly. Join a speech-giving club or take a speech class at your local university. Volunteer to read to the elderly or to children. Find a volunteer tour guide position in your area. Audition for community theater. Search for opportunities to speak to groups of people to practice your new skills.
- Speaking to someone who's having trouble hearing you? Speak more deeply, not louder!
Video: Public Speaking Tips / How to Project Your Voice
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