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Karen Martin and Beverley Ireland-Symonds promote the value of having effective communication skills for individuals, teams and organisations.
Thursday, 21 October 2010

How much is your voice worth to you?

The larynx (voice box) is one of the most precious organs in the body. Our ability to speak, sing, scream and laugh all come from larynx and the two folds of membrane (vocal cords) stretched across  it which vibrate and control the flow of air from our lungs.  Most of us have experienced, a sore throat and a croaky voice at some point in our lives and it’s always a relief when we can talk normally again. Despite this, few of us think about taking care of our voice until something is wrong.

Listening to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne speaking at the dispatch box yesterday delivering the long awaited ‘Spending Review’, it was clear that he’s not a natural presenter and although he did his best to keep his voice hydrated with frequent sips of water, there were times when his voice was strained and raspy.

I would recommend anyone who has to do a lot of public speaking to have some sessions with a voice coach.  It could save you from doing lasting damage to your vocal cords.  However, even if you can’t do that, there are some simple steps that you take take care of your voice and can be applied in any context.

Things to avoid:
  • Smoking - (irritates the vocal cords)
  • Alcohol  - (dehydrates)
  • Caffeine -  (dehydrates and is also a diuretic)
  • Spicy food -  (can increase acid production)

Things to do
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before –  being tired can affect the voice.
  • Relax – Try and meditate for ten minutes before you have to present. Drop shoulders and practise breathing deeply and calmly.
  • Keep hydrated – drink water before and during your presentation
  • Breathe deeply – Use the diaphragm to breathe deeply and supply your voice with lots of air. Your voice will be clearer.
Enjoy the short video below.  This is an example of a commentator who certainly didn't hydrate his voice before or during his commentary.