When you increase your volume, does your throat hurt? If you root for your favorite sports team, is your voice hoarse the next day? Perhaps you have no voice by the next day. All three of these situations are known as vocal abuse. If any of these scenarios sound familiar, then you are not increasing your volume correctly.
Yelling or shouting to be heard means that you are pushing your voice from your throat. It also means that you are raising your pitch which results in a harsh quality. When you push your voice over an extended period of time in this manner, you can do serious damage to your vocal cords especially as you age.
The other problem with yelling or shouting is that it hurts your listeners’ ears. I once listened to a ‘professional speaker’ who pushed his voice so loudly, that many of us in the audience got up and left. To yell or shout without a microphone is unpleasant. To yell or shout with a microphone is painful to your listeners’ ears!
Have you ever had a conversation with someone over the phone whose voice was so loud that you had to move the phone away from your ear? Increasing your volume to be heard comfortably in a loud or noisy setting is possible if you learn how to power your voice correctly which is known as projection.
Powering your voice correctly means that:
1. you will not be pushing your sound from your throat,
2. you will be using your chest cavity as your primary amplifier.
The wonderful quality of projection is that you can increase your volume but you will not be ‘loud.’ I don’t like the word ‘loud.’ Loud hurts the speaker’s throat and the listeners’ ears. Projection does neither. When you project your voice, you will be speaking with more volume – with a bigger voice – but you will not be shouting. I want you to have more volume but I don’t want it to be painful.
There is no doubt that vocal abuse in on the rise today. Our lives are becoming more and more hectic and the noise levels with which we must contend are getting louder and louder. Shouting is not the answer. Change the way you power your sound and you will not only be able to increase your volume properly but you will discover a richer, warmer, deeper voice in the process.
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