Do people often ask you to repeat yourself because they can’t understand you the first time you say something? You may be lacking vocal power! If you don’t speak with a strong, dynamic voice it’s likely that others aren’t receiving your message!
One of the most important factors in vocal production is strong breath support. If you aren’t breathing properly, your vocal quality will suffer, sounding strained or weak, and possibly causing damage to your vocal cords. In addition, if you are unable to sustain your breath, you may end up stopping to breathe at moments in your speech that are not appropriate, or are ineffective for your communication. Sustained breath support begins with breath control. Luckily, you can train so that with a little bit of time and practice, controlling your breath during speech will become second nature. Here are some exercises to help you develop breath control that will help you support your voice and develop effective, dynamic speaking techniques:
- Take a deep breath. Concentrate on breathing from deep within your abdomen rather than from your chest. Place your hand on your stomach and look in the mirror as you breathe in; you should feel your stomach expand outward as you inhale, and you should see no upward movement in your shoulders.
- Using the same abdominal breathing technique, take a deep breath, and then count out loud in a strong voice. Count as high as you can without sacrificing the volume or quality of your voice. Concentrate on managing your breath so that your voice remains even as you count.
- Using the techniques from the above exercises, take a deep breath from the abdomen and say ”Ahh” for as long as you can, concentrating on keeping your voice clear and strong, and keeping your voice steady and even along the way.
With practice, you should be able to gradually improve your breath support and to increase the length of time you can speak on a single exhale. After practice, you should aim for at least 17 seconds, with 22 to 24 seconds as a goal. While extending your breath support may take time, the improved vocal quality you will achieve is well worth the effort!
Want to learn more? Take a look at the following video from Corporate Speech Solutions founder and president Jayne Latz:
For information on the New York Based Speech and Accent Reduction services offered by Corporate Speech Solutions please give us a call at 212-308-7725 or visit us on the web at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com. Not in NYC? No problem! We also provide Skype and video conferencing services.
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