By CYNTHIA ZHAI
As leaders, your voice plays a big role in making first impressions. From doing business calls to presenting a proposal in front of your stakeholders, you need to ensure that your voice is heard clearly.
What are some of the misconceptions we have when it comes to our vocal power? Vocal coach Cynthia Zhai addresses these fallacies.
1. ‘My voice cannot be changed.’
In a way, it is correct. Your voice is who you are and reflects you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
It is like your fingerprint and uniquely yours. Your voice can’t be changed; neither can you sound like others.
It sounds sad. However, your voice can be improved in your own way. Most people, maybe including you, are not producing their sound in a proper way.
They have too much tension in them which is restricting their voice production; they may also have other concerns that are holding them back from producing a richer sound.
If you could release all those tension or concerns and learn the correct way to produce your voice, you will hear a better sound and you are going to love it.
The fact is: you have a richer, fuller and more confident voice inside. Are you willing to discover and develop it?
2. ‘A good voice means a deeper voice.’
A good voice is not necessarily a deeper voice. You might have seen much online information, like how to develop a deeper voice, or how to sound deeper. However, these are misleading.
To develop a good voice is not about going deeper. In fact, if you press your voice down to a lower end on purpose, you won’t feel comfortable and it won’t last long.
To develop your good voice is about finding a fuller and richer sound in you – a sound that is expressed freely and full of resonance and harmony.
3. ‘Speaking is just using my mouth or throat.’
Your voice is not just tripping down from your throat and coming through your mouth. Your voice connects with every part of you and reflects who you are.
When you speak, all your vocal organs are engaged and vibrating. Make full use of them, activate your whole body and you will produce a powerful sound.
4. ‘To increase my volume, I have to shout.’
Shouting is your pitch going up, which could potentially hurt your vocal folds and other people’s ears. Increasing your volume refers to the change in the amount of your sound.
Volume and pitch are two different things. Most people cannot differentiate them clearly.
To better help you understand the difference, think about this: When you turn up the volume of your iPod while listening to a song, does the singer’s pitch also go up? Of course not.
To increase your volume in the correct way, you must utilise your diaphragm to support your breathing, and use your pelvic muscle.
By increasing your volume correctly, you won’t harm anyone else’s ears, and you also will sound more serious.
5. ‘Voice training means to sound good.’
Voice training is more about opening up yourself, both mentally and physically. It’s about helping you speak with your whole body, not just with your mouth or your throat.
Those elements that will make you sound good, e.g. inflections and rhythm, are like the “decorations around the main dish”. What will happen to them if your main dish tastes terrible?
In conclusion, you have a better sound inside of you. Work with it, use it to its full capacity, and you will discover the power of your voice, be it to influence others or to transform yourself.
Cynthia is a voice and speech coach, trainer and speaker, based in Singapore. She helps you discover your full voice that is authentic, confident and authoritative. She also helps organisations on voice and presentation skills training. Email us at email@example.com to learn how to speak in public effectively. For more articles on Image Matters, click here.
Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com