Our voices paint a very vivid picture to who we are as people for our listeners, which is why improving your voice and strengthening your vocals can only be a good thing for your podcast. A strong voice gives you the ability to sound powerful, knowledgeable, and assertive. We all want that when trying to convey an important message or topic on our show. Below are a couple of tips to improve your voice and get the right tone across to your following.
The Four Voices
There are four types of voices you can fall under, so please do a quick self-assessment and see which one classifies you:
The 'Nose' Voice - Everyone has heard this voice at some point in their lives. It's often high pitched, whiny, annoying, and in general very uncomfortable to listen to.
The 'Mouth' Voice – People who use this voice often feel like they don't exist. The noises they make from their mouth are not powerful enough to attract a lot of attention.
The 'Chest' Voice – A majority of the population uses this kind of voice. It is voice that sounds pleasant, can hold control over a long conversation, and is probably the one you use right now. There's nothing bad about this voice, but it doesn't beat our last category, which is...
The 'Diaphragm' Voice – This is our most powerful, attractive, strongest, and natural voice that comes straight from our diaphragm. Radio guys often have this type of voice and this is the best sounding voice you can have no matter if you're male or female.
How to Reach Your Inner Voice
It all starts with breath. People who don't use their diaphragm voice also don't breathe from their diaphragm. It doesn't mater in which category you fall under above, in order to really reach your full vocal potential you must learn how to breathe correctly. Learning how to breathe in a new way can be challenging for some because they have been training their body for decades on how to breathe a certain way and that decade-long training can be hard to undo.
The good news is we breathe so often (at least I hope you do) that we can often catch ourselves several times a day and re-program the body to breathe correctly. To breathe from your diaphragm, inhale a large amount of air and let your belly rise; not your chest; and then exhale and let all the air out from your belly. This technique is often used during yoga classes, so take up a yoga class and re-learn how to breathe again!
Breathing correctly is only a foundation to proper vocal control. Posture also helps project your voice to higher levels. Again, yoga is excellent for this too. When you've gotten the diaphragm breathing down, then start to make sounds using your belly. Try speaking, laughing, etc to develop the habit of taking energy from the diaphragm and projecting it out loud.
It might not sound pretty at first, but keep in mind you've never used your diaphragm before in this way, so keep practicing. Eventually when you've got the hang of it, start to enunciate your words clearly and slowly. Like a child trying to learn how to speak. Open your mouth wide like a hippo to help with your volume levels and enunciation. You might look ridiculous at first, but eventually you'll have the methods down where you can resume back to looking like a normal person when you speak.
When you've gotten the hang of things, practice with voice levels. Play around with a flat or soft voice, a loud voice, and then try projecting your voice. Projecting your voice will not strain your vocal cords as long as you are properly using your diaphragm. A great way to practice is by laying down on the floor and using your ab muscles to shoot your voice to the ceiling.
How to Sound Like An Authority Figure
When you've got your vocals under control and you are actively using your diaphragm, then there are some tips you can use to make your speech sound more like an authority figure. If you are someone who ends sentences with inflections, you will sound like you're asking questions when you shouldn't be. Which, in turn, will make you sound uncertain. To prevent this, try having more of a firm, downward inflection to make your statements sound more concrete.
If you often use words like kind of, sort of, maybe, just, like, you know, hopefully, etc. This will also make you sound a bit uncertain. For example: “Did you, you know, get his attention? I will hopefully be able to see him later.”
As you can see, just by removing those words, your sentence will be a lot clearer, more direct, and easy to listen to. The same applies for filler and non-words like um, uh, ah, and improperly pronounced words such as shoulda, coulda, woulda, goin', gonna, etc. Speaking the full word out loud and eliminating filler or qualifying words will make you sound better, more professional, and like someone who knows what they're talking about.
Podfly works closely with podcasters and helps their show sound professional, clear, and great. We are a group of audio engineers that help develop amazing shows for you and your audience. Feel free to contact Ayn@podfly.net for more information or come back here every Wednesday for a great Podfly blog post!
Until next time,
It might not sound pretty at first, but keep in mind you've never used your diaphragm before in this way, so keep practicing. Tweet this!
A strong voice gives you the ability to sound powerful, knowledgeable, and assertive. Tweet this!
The good news is we breathe so often (at least I hope you do). Tweet this!