It’s time to come out from under the duvet! Real conversations have started again, face to face, using words spoken directly to each other.
One of the unlooked-for benefits of being locked down, then socially distanced (when we were allowed to begin to mix with others outside the home again), has been the renewal of conversation.
One of the things I have noticed while I’ve been out for my daily walk, around 6.00 pm, is the sound of laughter spilling out from the local pub. It’s been ages since I’ve heard laughter from people and it really cheered me up.
People in pubs and restaurants, having a drink and something to eat, are sharing their time with each other again and their voices show that they are absolutely ready for it! Voices are telling stories and jokes are being shared again and I’m sure we’re all the better for it.
Many people are not quite so confident with their voice, though. There are many reasons why people lack confidence with speaking or with having a conversation. Here are three reasons that people dislike speaking in public: they feel their voice sounds too boring or too quiet or they aren’t comfortable with their accent.
Let’s look at these issues around vocal confidence and see if Voice Synergy can provide some solutions to help you speak with more self-assurance.
- Do you think your voice sounds boring?
Has someone told you that your voice sounds boring or is it just what you think? To make your voice sound more interesting, begin by doing some humming. As simple as that! With your jaw relaxed and your lips gently together, take a nice breath in and hum out (which will also start helping your voice to warm up). When you’re humming, try going from a low to a high note, gliding through the scale so it’s nice and smooth. When you’ve reached a comfortably high note, just let your voice slide down to a low note again. Repeat, but this time, start with a slightly lower note and aim for a slightly higher note in the middle of your hum. The secret to sounding more interesting is to use more range of your voice and humming is a great way to begin to practise this.
- Do you think you sound too quiet?
Are you fed up with people ignoring your voice, or not even seeming to hear you? Try this exercise to make your voice more powerful. Take a good breath in, allowing your breath to open up your ribs, so your tummy moves out a bit, then hum out on one note. Repeat this a few times to get your voice warmed up (in fact, practising the above exercise would be great). Next, halfway through your ‘hum’, drop your jaw, relax your tongue and throat and with an open mouth, change the ‘mmmm’ of the hum to an ‘ahhhhhh’. Let your voice carry forward through the air and aim for a place in the room for your voice to land. Send your ‘aaahhhhh’ sound to the lightbulb, to the door handle, or even to the tree or lamppost outside in the street. This way, you will be effortlessly projecting your voice which will make it sound louder.
- Does your accent worry you?
Are you uncomfortable with your accent or do you think you don’t speak as well as those people around you? Many people suffer from anxiety about their accent, but it could be easier than you think to make small changes. Quite often a strong accent is mixed up with a lack of confidence about being understood, so the speaker tends to rush their words when they are speaking. Speaking quickly with a strong accent can make it difficult to be understood, so here is a tip for improving your clarity. Before you speak, think about what you want to say, take a breath in, so your voice is supported, then say your sentence. Take your time and ensure that you are finishing the ends of your words in the sentence. A lack of confidence can lead people to almost slur their words, as if they don’t want to be noticed and this contributes to the negative cycle. To be understood better, speak more slowly and make sure you finish the ends of your words, such as ‘walked, drove, thought’.
Make sure you enjoy speaking (and listening!) by practising these simple exercises to improve your speech and confidence.
For more information and help with your speech confidence, please get in touch.