There are a lot of aspects of your communication that can impact how others perceive you: the words you use, your level of eye contact, how clear and precise your speech is. But did you know that your voice quality can also have a significant impact on the image you project? Research has shown that the quality of your voice has an even stronger impact on how you are perceived than the content of your message. Poor vocal quality can also give others a negative perception of your: listeners who heard recordings of rough, weak, strained or breathy voices judged the speakers to be negative, weak, passive or tense. On the other hand, speakers with “normal” voices are seen as successful, sexy, sociable and smart.
There are many complaints people have about their voice: that it’s too whiny, too nasal, too loud, too soft, too hoarse or any other host of issues. However, with the help of a trained professional, most of these qualities can be modified! A speech-language pathologist specializes in matters of speech production, including vocal quality. With speech therapy, you can learn to retrain and control your voice. Vocal therapy typically involves a range of exercises that help you become aware of the components of voice production and how each contributes to the resulting sound. The problematic vocal qualities are then targeted and gradually modified until the desired vocal quality is achieved. Practice exercises are also given to be performed at home. This is a key component of vocal therapy—the more practice that is put in, the more natural it will feel to produce your voice in this new way, until it becomes second nature.
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