When thinking about how to improve the sound of your voice, start by asking yourself - Where does my voice come from?
This may sound like a strange question, but it is a vital one for presenters and public speakers. Most of us take our voice for granted and yet it is such a powerful and complex thing that we owe it to ourselves to develop our ability to make the most of it.
In this post, I'd like to explore just one aspect of the voice, that of resonance. The human body is fully of hollow, air-filled cavities that resonate when we speak.
The main resonating chambers are
- Chest cavity
- Nasal Cavities & Sinuses
Some people have learned to speak "normally" from one of these three chambers and as a result they have a particular vocal tone. If you tend to project your voice via your sinuses, you will have a brighter, higher pitched and more nasal sound. If you tend to project from the chest cavity, your voice will be deeper, more rounded and resonant because the chest cavity is much bigger.
The good news is that anyone can easily learn to vary their tonality simply by changing the resonating chamber they are focussing on.
Here's a simple exercise to get you started.
- Stand up straight, take a deep breath and put your hand lightly on the bridge of your nose. Now, imagining that the sound was coming from this area of your head, say out loud "This is my nose" and notice the quality of the sound produced and how it feels within your body
- Now repeat the above exercise with your hand placed lightly on your throat and focus on projecting the sound from this area of your body. Say out loud "This is my throat" and notice how it sounds and feels.
- Finally, place your hand on the middle of your chest and focus on your voice vibrating in this part of your body. Say out loud "This is my chest" and again pay attention to the sound and body feelings.
These exercises, if practised regularly, will help you to develop an awareness of how each area affects your voice.
Once you have this awareness, you can experiment with speaking "normally" from one of these areas and notice how flexible you can become. The next stage is to start to combine the resonance from two or more chambers at the same time to "craft" the vocal tone you desire.
Have fun and let me you how you get on.