As a former opera singer, I’m particularly attuned to speakers’ voices. We can hear a lot in someone’s voice: we can hear their emotional and physical states, we can hear their energy level, and we can hear if they are enthusiastic or reserved about us or about our topic.
In addition to “Zoom fatigue” (or insert the name of your video conferencing platform of choice), I’m hearing a lot of vocal fatigue in our clients lately. As we participate in back-to-back video meetings and conference calls, our voice suffers.
Maybe you find yourself losing your voice at the end of the day, or it sounds scratchy and weak when you’d like it to sound strong and confident.
Why is this important?
Because our voice communicates beyond the words we use. As many of us try to compensate for a lack of in-person meetings, our voice becomes one of the primary tools we use to build trust and connection with colleagues, clients, or partners. The warmth of your voice conveys your sincerity, confidence, and authenticity. When you fatigue your voice, you rob yourself of one of your most valuable professional tools.
So how do you keep your voice healthy through these endless virtual calls?
- Sit or stand tall.
If you’ve attended any of our virtual programs, you’ve seen me or my team present while standing. I have a Varidesk standing desk (which I recently moved from my office to my home) and find it incredibly helpful. When I stand, my posture is tall, I have more energy, and I can breathe more comfortably. If you are seated, make sure you raise your laptop so that the camera lens is at eye level and you don’t have to hunch over to use it.
- Focus on your breath.
This video provides a refresher on the breathing technique we use in our workshops and coaching. When you breathe in and out deeply and then speak “on the breath,” you will support your voice with a cushion of air. This will keep your voice strong and confident throughout the day. Right before an important call or meeting, pause and breathe for a few minutes: it will center you and help you regain your voice.
- Stop talking.
I’m serious. When you’re not on a call, stop talking and rest your voice. Get up and walk around, do some quick exercise, and rest your voice. Drink warm, decaffeinated liquids like herbal tea with honey to soothe and calm your throat. Your voice is an instrument that needs rest and care, especially if you’d like to keep it strong over the long term.
These are three quick tips you can use all day, every day. If you use them regularly, you’ll keep your voice healthy and ensure that when you speak, you speak with a strong, clear, confident voice.