Do You Have Good Voice Quality

Posted on August 3, 2010. Filed under: Speech Pathology |

The sound of your voice may influence your listeners in ways you never dreamed.  A gruff voice may mean to them that you are angry.  A high-pitched, squeaky voice may signify to them that you are inexperienced.  A muffled voice may make them feel that you are insincere or have something to hide.

People are becoming more and more aware of the effects of the voice upon all aspects of their daily lives.  Every time we open our mouths we make an impression upon others – either positive or negative.  Do you want others to trust and respect you?  Do you want to inspire people?  Do you want to sell a product?  “Sell yourself” to others?  Make a good impression on a college or job interview?  Good voice quality and speaking habits can help you do this.  Here are some “pointers.”

  • Speak at a moderate rate, pausing occasionally to allow others time to process what you are saying.
  • Make eye contact with your listener, however do not “stare him down.”  To help with this, place an imaginary frame around the head of your listener, extending several inches from the head all around.  Then, focus your vision to include the entire area within the frame.
  • Open your mouth moderately wide to give good resonance to the voice.  A “closed” mouth position can make the voice sound muffled, scratchy or squeaky.  A good gauge is to place your index and third fingers together one on top of the other and put them between your top and bottom teeth.  This is the approximate distance your mouth should open as you are talking.
  • Take a breath from the diaphragm every 3-5 seconds as you are talking.  This provides the breath support you need for good voice quality and helps you project your voice when you need to.
  • Be mindful of your inflection patterns.  Inflection is the melody of the voice.  Does your voice go up at the end of each sentence as though you were continually asking a question?  This can make you sound uncertain of what you are saying.  Be sure that your voice goes down in inflection whenever you make a statement.
  • Eliminate unnecessary “filler” words from your speech such as “um” and “you know.”

 Above all else, be in touch with the enthusiasm you feel for the ideas you are sharing and allow your voice to convey this enthusiasm to others.  Enthusiasm attracts good feelings from others like a magnet and is the most powerful selling point around!

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