Speaking with a strong, dynamic voice is essential to projecting professionalism and leadership in the workplace. Just like any other part of your body, you need to take care of your voice to keep it healthy and functioning well. Here are just a few strategies you can use to make sure you’re keeping your voice in the best shape possible:
- Improve Breath Support: Your breath is the power behind your voice. By supporting your voice through proper breathing, you reduce tension in your vocal folds, minimizing the risk of injury and improving the strength and quality of your voice. When speaking, try to breathe deeply from your abdomen instead of raising your chest to get the strongest breath support possible.
- Reduce Tension: Muscle tension is one of the main causes of vocal cord strain and subsequent health problems. Reduce tension in the neck and throat to relax muscles and decrease stress on the vocal cords. Try stretching in order to relax before a speaking engagement, and concentrate on powering your voice using your breath, not the muscles in your neck.
- Hydrate: Parched vocal cords can be easily damaged and decrease the quality of your voice; drink plenty of water, especially before speaking for a long time or in front of a group.
- Stop Bad Habits: Habits like frequent throat clearing or coughing can damage your voice over time. Each time you clear your throat, your vocal cords slam into one another, which can cause inflammation and injury. If it’s a nervous habit, try pausing when you feel the need to clear your throat. If you feel like your throat is actually irritated, try swallowing or taking a sip of water instead.
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