You might not be in love with the sound of your voice in a recording when you listen back to it (who likes it, anyway?).
But, in my opinion, optimizing your voice should be a pleasant and insightful experience, not the other way around.
How do you begin? It all starts with self-awareness.
This week I invite you to become conscious of your voice strength and potential areas of improvement by starting with a simple exercise.
Here it is:
- Record a 3-minutes sample of your voice with your phone (using video or a recording app is enough) when speaking spontaneously in a weekly meeting.
- Take a few minutes to listen to the recording and write down at least three aspects of your voice that you LIKED the most (yes, that’s what you liked). Please tick any of the items in the following list that apply to you:
* The voice was overall clear and pleasant;
* The voice had adequate projection (not too soft, not too strong);
* The voice was melodic;
* The words were understandable and precise;
* There were pauses and silences at the right moments;
* The voice conveyed the emotion congruent with the message;
Are there any other aspects that you like or surprised you?
3. Listen a second time to take notes about the aspects (if any) that you least liked about your voice. Please tick any of the items in the following list that apply to you:
* You needed to “clear” your throat before, during, or at the end of speaking;
* The voice starts out strong, but it decreases in intensity as it approaches the end of the sentences;
* Some words were not totally perceptible;
* The voice seems to have a general lack of projection;
* The voice seems to be too nasal;
* The tonality seems to be always, or almost always, monotone;
* The voice seems to have a constant high pitch;
* The voice comes out too strong;
* The voice comes out with too much air as you are feeling tired.
Are there any other aspects that you didn’t like or that annoyed you?
Now that you had time to analyze your voice, take the last step:
4. Pick the aspects you didn’t like and gently play with the OPPOSITES.
Quick tip: choose to practice your voice in a place where you feel comfortable and can be “with yourself.” It can be anywhere in your home, in the car, or at the office.
Play with ONE sentence that you normally use in your work and say it out loud.
“Eg. I have to speak with X and I’ll come back to you as soon as possible”
Option 1) If your voice seems too strong, practice the quietest version of it. Then, more and quiet until its almost a whisper!
Option 2) If your voice was monotone, use intentional intonation in a word each time you repeat the sentence (think about the intonations you have to do when asking a question). Change the words and check the potential differences in the intention/meaning in the message.
And the list goes on…
With a relaxed attitude and an open mind, you will have fun, and better enjoy the whole process, even during variations that may seem stranger to you. Stay calm, as confusion is part of learning.
I invite you to expand your possibilities and find out more about what your voice is capable of doing so you can speak with confidence and credibility at every personal and professional context.