Does your voice make a positive (or negative) impact on others?
7 steps to have an effective voice that others, especially your kids & partner would love to hear and follow…
Recently I learnt that the voice I hear is not the voice that others hear when I speak.
So here’s what my family helped me realise -
Mom, are you in a bad mood?
Oh! You sound a bit annoyed.
Can you please calm down first?
But I am pretty calm, you know. This is how I talk normally.
Oh! But you sound so overwhelmed.
After a few such instances, I asked my daughter to record while I was speaking so I could listen to it later.
To my shock, my tone, pitch, and volume — my voice was not the way I thought it was. It was quite offputting, actually.
It was quite a revelation for me because being a coach and a public speaker, I always get compliments about my speech. I had no idea how I sounded in my casual moments with my family.
I remembered as a young girl, I always got compliments from my friends, aunties, uncles, and relatives for the soft and sweet voice I had.
And now as a mom of two young daughters what I heard was a harsh, almost screaming voice that I didn’t like myself.
A friend shared this post (below) on Facebook in a moms group (mompreneur circle) and many moms responded with ‘me too’.
It was clearly not just my problem but was a common issue, and inspired me to share my ongoing experiment and research with you here.
Most adults speak with a chest voice, some with nasal and mouth voice too. The reason is, we are used to shallow breathing through the chest, due to the daily stress of work and not being used to relax fully.
The best way to speak is through your diaphragm and that’s the effective way to breathe too. Because this expands your lungs fully and is much deeper.
The voice that comes from one’s diaphragm is also very effective and impactful over the listeners.
So here are seven simple tips to improve your voice to a lovely soothing one:
- Breathe Right
Practice Diaphragmatic breathing. This also helps to release your stress and anxiety along with improving your voice.
Here are some good exercises for that -https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9445-diaphragmatic-breathing
2. Slow Down
If you have too much going on in your life. If you’re always overscheduled, you tend to speak fast and you sound overwhelmed too.
Be aware. Take a stock of your life. Slow down in your daily life. Drop from your schedule whatever is not important.
Relax. Speak slowly. And see the difference.
3. Do not call from far away
When you call your children, other family members or helpers from another room, your voice might not sound that loud to you, but it usually is not pleasant for others.
Also calling your kids from another room whether it’s for dinner or any other purpose doesn’t work with most children.
Better technique is — just go to their room, touch them gently on their back or shoulder and ask them to come along as food is ready.
More effective and pleasant for everyone.
Remember to smile at least occasionally while you’re speaking, whether it’s a general conversation or you’re asking your family to do something.
When my kids were very small, if I wasn’t smiling while talking, they used to ask me, mumma are you not happy?
I used to wonder and ask them why are you asking that?
‘Because you are not smiling.’
That was a little irritating at that time because I might be busy or occupied in my thoughts; though later I realised that my smile while conversating, was an important sign for them to feel secure, safe and happy because my smile conveyed to them that their mom is happy.
Notice do you smile often while conversing or not?
5. Practice Conscious speaking:
Become aware of the tone and pitch of your own voice while you’re speaking.
When you are aware you are able to hear your words while you’re speaking to someone. Even if you’re not hearing the same voice as others hear, but you’ll surely recognise the tone whether there’s harshness, criticism, or judgment.
Awareness is the key here. Once you realise that your voice is not something that you would like to hear from someone else, you can consciously slow down, soften your heart, soften your voice and then go ahead.
It will take some effort and regular practice. Meditation is very helpful to raise your awareness.
6. Practice a deep voice for higher impact
To perfect your pitch, you should use a deeper voice, the voice that comes from deep within.
As per some voice coaches advice, try this.
Say “uh-huh” or “oh” as if you were casually saying “yes” to someone’s question. The pitch of your voice when you speak should match the “uh” or “oh”.
7. Pay attention to the voice in your head
There’s an inner voice that speaks to you all the time.
‘Why can’t they listen to me the very first time?’
‘Why do I have to call them so many times?’
‘Why do I have to do all the work and why is nobody helping me?’
‘I wish we could eat food without the TV being switched on.’
If your mind chatter goes something like the above, it’s natural that you are going to feel a little irritated or annoyed, and that will impact the way you speak.
Even if you are not angry, you’ll sound like you’re whining, nagging or are plain upset.
If you want something from your family, like to help you set the table or eat dinner without TV; be more assertive about it, which means firm and respectful, not aggressive or rude.
Set some family boundaries that everyone can follow and enjoy together. Do not let that complaining inner voice overpower your overall energy and voice.
I am still working on my voice and it's not 100% there but my family is happy with the changes I have made and they’ve already complimented me for a much soothing voice than before.
The work is in progress and I am loving it. Let me know in comments if these tips work for you too.
What tips do you have to improve one’s voice to have a more positive impact on others? Please share with me in the comment.