The other day I attended the “Business Connects Networking Conference” in Toronto, organized by the fabulous Jennifer Beale at Unleash PR. Of course, everyone was exchanging business cards and giving elevator pitches, myself included. Each time I introduced myself as a voice and public speaking coach, I was asked if I teach others how to “project” their voice. Well, no. Let me explain.
Projection means to throw your voice forward.
Therefore if someone has a block in the way of their natural voice such as a locked jaw, a nasal tone (lazy soft palate issue) or a lack of breath support, THAT’S what projects. A good voice coach will first help you discover your natural voice. That means finding those blocks that inhibit your wonderful human instrument and then helping you reprogram your body and mind to free up the the voice. In other words, to speak without tension.
When the voice is free it will “resonate.”
The body is full of natural resonators. For example, the bones and the hollows in the face help to amplify the sound of the voice. If you’ve ever been to an opera it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in the top row or the front seat. The audience can clearly hear the singing. That’s because the singers voices are free and alive and filling the resonators, which then amplify the beauty of the sound. And note those singers practice regularly and they do warm-ups, just as you should be doing to optimize your speaking voice.
Are you “resonating” with your audience?
Do you see a connection between a resonant voice and resonating with your audience? A resonant voice comes from the core of your body. It vibrates in the body. It’s genuine. People respond positively to a genuine person, not a person’s voice. If what you say resonates in your body, it will resonate with the audience.
How your voice can resonate:
- Ask yourself if you’re in relationship with your audience. If you are, the voice will organically start to follow. If you’re genuinely speaking from your core to three people in the front row, your voice will start to respond by reaching the three people in the front row.
- Breathing is key. Do a quick personal body scan. Are you gripping any muscles on the inside or the outside of your body? When the body is free of tensions the primary respiratory muscles are free to do their job of drawing the oxygen in and support the voice.
- To feel the facial resonators: Without taking a breath, hum once into your throat (not where you want to be speaking from). Now take a breath and hum right into your cheekbones. If you feel vibrations in your cheeks, your voice is resonating!