Apr 23 2018

Vocal space: Can I please hear you “Wow” me?

Published by under Vocal Image

One of the most common vocal habits that we hear in business presentations is people dropping the volume of their last words to an almost inaudible level. I am quite sure the habit is a result of people being hunched over their computers all day, speaking into headsets rather than across a room. Headset mics pick up sounds well for intimate conversations, and speakers get used to that. However, dropping words at the ends of sentences produces a vocal image lacking in energy and clarity. Important words can be lost, and perhaps most importantly, because the speech pattern is “practiced” over and over throughout the day, it carries over to presentations for larger audiences. In other words, it becomes a habit.

When speakers need to be heard by many more in a much larger space, the space of the room also demands space in the voice. Slower pace, pausing, elongating vowel sounds, and cranking up the volume are vocal characteristics that create space. Rather than save the vocal space for special presentations, we recommend using it all the time. Just as the word “WOW” conjures up images of big things, the vocal space used to create it also creates an image of someone who is in charge, who has important things to say. It is also the sound of someone who is not concerned that they will be interrupted. They command the conversation.

You can “wow “them all if you practice creating vocal space. One way to do this is to emphasize the vowel sounds in your words, particularly the last words in your sentences. Vowel sounds in English are voiced sounds. That is, the vocal folds vibrate and make audible vibrations when we say “I,E,A, O, and U.” Sounds such as “T” and “K” are unvoiced sounds, plosive sounds made with the tongue against the teeth or palate. Some sounds in English are both voiced and plosive, such as “D,” or “B.” If you try saying these sounds aloud, you will be able to tell the difference between a voiced and unvoiced sound. Now take the sentence below, and stretch out the vowel sounds, especially those in the very last word:

 I am listening for long vowel sounds. (IIIII aaaaam liiisteniiiiing foooor loooong vooooowel sooooouuunds.)

Say it several times until you really hear and feel the sounds. If you drop or swallow the last words in your sentences, practice creating vocal space by first, choosing a topic, then recording yourself speaking on that topic for 3 minutes. Play it back and listen. If you need more vocal space, practice pausing, elongating vowel sounds to the point that they sound silly and speaking more loudly. Exaggerate it all, and then pull it back to what feels more “normal” without losing the sense of vocal space.

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Dec 28 2017

Sex, Lies and Resonance

Published by under Vocal Image

Top Posts on the Blog in 2017

I’ve been blogging since 2006, which means that next year marks my twelve-year anniversary. Frankly, I’m amazed that I have kept it up this long. I do it because, as my partner once described, “You think you have something to say!” And of course, I keep going because of readers like you. Therefore, in 2018, look for more posts. You may even see some changes to the blog.

One way that I decide what to write is according to my interests. However, at the end of every year, I also look at the top posts on my blog based on the number of views. This year, readers seemed to enjoy a much broader spectrum of topics, including some of my more technical posts. Of course, the old favorites on vocal destruction and vocal seduction were still in the top 10, and I have to say that you didn’t spend much time on some of my more brilliant writing. However, I am pleased to announce, (drumroll, please) the 2017 winners, in order of popularity, are:

How to create a strong voice, Part 1: Resonate!

Ten Surefire Ways to Destroy your Voice

Help for Tired Voices: The 5 Habits of a Healthy Voice

How to Relieve a Tired Voice (when you must keep talking)

What is Your Vocal Variety Saying About You?

How to Create a Sexy Voice

How to Sing in a Bar/Pub…and Why

Speak Like You Sing and Sing Like You Speak

How to Create a Strong Voice, Part 3: Align

5 Ways to Improve Your Voice in 2017

Have a wonderful New Year, and a great start to 2018! And thank you for reading my tips and posts. You can let me know what other voice topics interest you by connecting with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

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