Bayside Voice Centre

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Certified Practising Speech Pathologist, Cleveland

Do you have the skills and knowledge to stand out at work but find yourself sinking into the shadows? Are you struggling to get your voice and ideas heard? Do you want to be a confident communicator?

When you present confidently, with a strong voice and presence, it can make all the difference in any career path and industry. If this doesn’t come naturally, you can get the support of a vocal coach to help own your voice and your message.

Here are some tips and tricks gleaned through years of vocal coaching that will help you use your voice to project a strong, confident presence.

1. SuperHero stance

Stand up straight. When you’re feeling uncertain or anxious, your body naturally reflects those feelings. You hunch your back, put your head down, and automatically try to take up less space than usual. This is not the way to own your voice or to project confidence and strength at work. 

You may appear defensive, and this posture can also affect your voice. You might breathe shallowly and constrict your throat, which can affect the sound and the power of your voice. 

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So, the next time you feel the urge to make yourself smaller, raise your head, put your shoulders back, and let your voice ring out clearly.

2. Listen to yourself

If you’re concerned that your voice isn’t as strong as it could be, or that you aren’t being heard, stop and listen. Listen to your own voice in meetings, during speeches, or whenever you need to share a message. Here’s what to listen for:

  • Low energy, husky or hoarseness that isn’t related to a cold or flu
  • Incorrect pronunciation 
  • Monotone pitch that all sounds the same
  • Uneven pacing that is hard to follow
  • Soft volume 
  • Throat clearing
  • Constant fillers such as ‘um’, ‘like’ with a pause.
public speaking coach

You can even record your voice to help your own monitoring, and find areas to improve your delivery next time. Improving your self-awareness and setting goals for change is an important first step to truly owning your voice

3. Watch your language

Portraying strength and confidence through your voice isn’t just about how your voice sounds, it’s also about the words you use. While you’re listening to the sound of your voice, you should also listen to the words and phrases you habitually use. 

Look out for phrases like “I just thought…”, “I’m sorry to bother you but….”, or “I may be wrong here…” as they suggest that you’re apologising for speaking or lack belief in your own ideas. After listening to yourself for a while, you’ll get a sense of what words and phrases you’re using that convey weakness rather than power. And from there, it’s just a matter of working to replace them in your speeches with phrases such as “The evidence shows…”, “I’m here to show you…”, “The feedback indicates…”, “I’m confident that…”.

4. Aim for vocal variety

To own your voice, you want to be able to hold attention.The best way to do that is through vocal variety. There’s nothing quite so boring as a monotone voice that doesn’t change, so focus on these principles to inject some variety into your voice:

  • Pause and emphasise to create intrigue and underline important ideas
  • Control your pace so you aren’t rushing and losing your audience 
  • Use a flow of high and low pitches to keep your audience interested 
  • Avoid high squeaky quality which could convey fear 
  • Use a microphone to send a clear consistent volume everyone can hear
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5. Protect your vocal folds 

Your vocal folds are two bands of smooth muscle in the larynx that are responsible for producing your voice. Unfortunately, they can be easily damaged, resulting in long term or even permanent damage to your voice.

Here are some things to avoid if you want to protect your vocal folds and own your voice

  • Irritants like smoke/dust
  • Shouting 
  • Dehydration 
  • Clearing your throat all the time
  • Speaking extensively during a cold or flu 
  • Forcing yourself to speak loudly or for too long 
  • Acid reflux 
  • Smoking 
  • Alcohol
present confidently

Caring for your voice

There are some healthy voice habits that can be done everday to help maintain and protect your voice.

6. Do vocal exercises

You wouldn’t try to run a marathon without warming up first. Nor should you give a big, important speech without warming up your voice. 

Your vocal folds are deceptively fragile and can be easily damaged by shouting, coughing, or other kinds of stress and strain. It’s a good habit to always warm them up before an important speech or meeting. 

A personal vocal coach will be able to help you with vocal exercises that are right for your voice goals and audience. But generally, try standing in a superheroes pose to improve your posture, smiling, humming and doing shoulder and neck stretches before a big speech. 

7. Train your voice

Have you ever listened to a professional public speaker with a strong, compelling, clear and memorable voice? That isn’t by chance. The top public speakers in the world understand the importance of their voice, which is why they usually see a public speaking coach

Collaborating with a vocal coach will do more than teach you how to project a strong, confident voice that others listen to. They can also teach you how to protect your voice from damage. This will help ensure that you can keep commanding the room throughout your career.

Call Now To Make An Appointment With A Personal Vocal Coach

Jenny is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist, in Brisbane, with a special interest in voice.

The Takeaway 

Many people have the qualifications and the willpower to be leaders in business but feel as if they need something more. A stronger voice can help you to own any room you walk into and feel confident during speeches and presentations, driving your career further towards success. 

It takes conscious self-reflection, and expert guidance to own your voice. You can start that work today with the help of a personal vocal coach who can teach you customised strategies to make your voice strong and confident.