Do you know if you're straining your voice? How do you find out? And why is it important to know? Let's jump right in.
First of all, let's start with the definition of strain. Here are a couple of dictionary definitions of strain:
1- To draw tight; make taut.
2- To use one's efforts or strength as much as possible.
3- To injure (a muscle, etc.) by stretching too hard.
4- To make excessive demands upon (someone or something).
5- To cause to pass through a strainer
6- a) To filter or b) Ooze
1- Now when it comes to your voice, any tightness will close off your sound. Your ideal sound will come out when you have free air flow from your lungs all the way out your mouth to project with power.
2- When you’re using as much effort or strength as possible, you’re draining your energy and being inefficient, which inevitably will drain the power of your voice during a long conversation, presentation or narration.
3- This one is self-evident. Who can work with an injured voice box?
4- (Refer to #2 above)
6- a) By causing strain to your voice, you are filtering your sound. When you put a filter in front of your sound, your projection will be minimized, forcing you to work harder to get heard.
b) Who wants ooze in their sound?
So how do you know when you're straining your voice? If you're speaking from the middle of your mouth or from your throat, you are straining your voice. You'll know that you're speaking from the middle of your mouth when you feel the sound bouncing inside your cheeks. And when you're speaking from the throat, you'll have a raspy sound to your voice, with very little projection. Because we're not able to fully project from the middle of the mouth or from the throat, what happens is that most people compensate by opening their mouths more and increasing the volume of their speech. This makes you work harder to project your sound, which overworks your vocal instrument. For an exercise that will help you feel where you're putting your voice placement and correct the placement, please refer to this previous blog post on projection: (Click to read more)
Try this exercise every time you speak and pay close attention to how your voice feels when you're speaking, and also to how it feels at the end of the day. If you're doing it right, your voice will carry more power and will feel less tired at the end of the day. And please share your experience in the comments below.
And for those of you who would like to get coached on how to project from the right place on a consistent basis so that you always deliver your message with power, authority and confidence, make sure to join me for our complimentary seminar, "Power Up Your Voice: 3 Simple Secrets to Project, Be Confident and Command Presence" next Monday March 7th at 9pm EST. To register, please go to: http://bit.ly/1QCwszk
Until next time, may "The Voice" Be With You and thanks for spreading the word!