Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

Dec 31 2016

5 ways to improve your voice in 2017

Published by under Miscellaneous,Vocal Health

dreamstime_s_77890673Many of us start the New Year with goals and promises to improve our lives. Of course, old habits die hard, and new ones may not stick.  It takes anywhere from 21-254 days to form a new behavior, depending on the complexity of the behavior and the amount of time spent working on the change. If you want to get rid of “ums,” or up-speak, or learn to move with purpose on stage, you have to give it focus, practice, and, of course, time.  However, you can make the change sticky by applying the practice and focus in multiple ways. Below is a list of five ways to improve your voice and improve your health, even your life!

Drink more water: Hydration is key to making the body work better and keeping the voice lubricated. Signs of dehydration will begin to show with as little as a 2% deficit of fluids in the body. It’s a great idea to keep water on hand and sip it throughout the day, particularly if you are presenting, singing, or simply speaking a lot during the day.

Walk: Your voice is housed in your body. Whatever is good for the rest of you is good for your voice.  Walking, riding a bike, running and swimming are all recommended. Professor Bruce Schoonmaker at Furman University has created a webpage with data and suggestions for the best exercise to benefit your voice.  Check it out!

Breathe: The next time you give a talk, take time to inhale and exhale deeply just before you get up to speak.  Then, as you start to speak, breathe into your first words.  Do this every time you give a presentation. You’ll be more relaxed, thus improving your voice and your credibility.

Join a choir.  Recent studies have shown many benefits to choir singing, including a happier life; singers are more fit, happier, and more productive  If you guessed it’s because of the oxytocin produced in the brain by singing, you would be correct. But the good health of singers is also due to the increased levels of immunoglobulin A, that is stimulated by singing and is a key factor in respiratory health.

Practice intentional communication:  Intention is what one has in mind to do or bring about, and I mean literally “in mind,” as was shown by two studies of intention.  In the first, it was revealed by New York researchers that infants as young as six months old can understand our intentions, and respond to them.  Another study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show that the mirror neuron system tracks not only the actions, but also the intentions, of others.  This mirror neuron system has been identified as being very important in guiding our social interactions, especially in survival and keeping us safe. Therefore, intention is a component of “trustworthiness” in social interaction and it is definitely picked up by others, which is why you need to be clear about your intention as a speaker.

For more help in doing what you say you’re going to do, check out this interesting organization:  Because I Said I Would. 

And for help making a new behavior stick, please see How to form a new habit on this blog.

© Tom Wang |

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May 21 2015

Vocal Impact Tip: How to make them choose you over email

Published by under Miscellaneous

iStock_000014368343XSmallIt’s tough to be heard on conference calls especially when so many people are doing other things besides paying attention to your brilliant ideas. Check this out:

82% of people are likely to do something unrelated while on a conference call such as email or even chasing their dog down the street. Women are 3x more likely to mute a call to shop online while men are more likely to use the restroom.

Research has shown that people are not engaged because the emotional elements and stimuli are removed from most conference calls. When people are on mute, their immediate response to humor is gone. When people are not on the screen, you can’t see their facial expressions. And when you only see slides, you don’t get the same sense of connection with other humans. Therefore, if you want to participate successfully, try taking some steps to enhance the human side of meetings, add what’s missing to your voice, and encourage others to do the same.

* First, set yourself up to be accountable to participate. Get away from the computer and other distractions unless you are looking at slides or showing up on video.

* Allow 5 minutes at the beginning of the meeting for everyone to say a few words about what’s going on in their lives.

* Turn on your video and use a good headset and mic for good sound quality.

* Chime in at least every 10-15 minutes to let others know you are there, and participate if there is an interactive moment.

* Use expressive language when sharing ideas. i.e. I am delighted with the terrific results, or, conversely, we have a critical issue that requires our undivided attention.

For more on how to add pizazz to your presence, please see my post 9 Ways to Make Your Topic Sound Exciting Even When It’s Not







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