As a public speaking coach, I've encountered several clients who resist vocal exercises, often saying things like, "They feel silly and unnatural" or "This is not how I speak." This reluctance is understandable. After all, your voice is a deeply personal aspect of who you are. But here's the the thing, the voice you're accustomed to is largely your habitual voice, shaped by various influences throughout your life, such as parents, teachers, and even your environment.
Let's talk about the science of your voice
Research in voice science reveals that your vocal qualities aren't set in stone. A study by Titze (2000) on the human voice indicates that with proper training and exercises, you can modify your pitch, tone, and even accent. These modifications aren't just superficial; they can resonate with emotional and psychological changes too.
So why change my voice, Meridith?
Changing your voice isn't about losing a part of your identity; it's about gaining a new tool to express yourself more effectively. Whether it's for commanding a room, conveying confidence, or simply making a more impactful speech, your voice can be tailored to fit the role.
The first step is to overcome resistance
Many of my clients initially felt that vocal exercises were awkward or unnecessary. However, it's essential to understand that feeling uncomfortable is part of the process. Just like learning a new sport or instrument, developing your voice to be a more dynamic speakers requires stepping out of your comfort zone.
Our habitual voice is influenced by various factors from our upbringing and environment. This adaptation is a natural process, as noted in a study by Fitch and Giedd (1999), highlighting the malleability of the human vocal tract in response to environmental factors. By acknowledging these influences, we're better positioned to understand why our voice has developed the way it has.
The awesome path to change
Changing your voice involves a combination of physical exercises, mindful practice, and psychological adjustment. Vocal exercises, often perceived as silly, are crucial in this journey. They help in retraining your vocal cords, adjusting your pitch, and enhancing your articulation.
Embracing your new voice
As you progress, you'll notice changes not only in how you sound but also in how you perceive yourself. This new voice will start to feel more natural, and the initial discomfort will fade, replaced by a sense of empowerment.
Finding variation in your voice is a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. It requires patience, practice, and a willingness to embrace the unfamiliar. But the rewards are immense, offering a new avenue for expressing your unique personality and ideas. Remember, your voice is not just about how you sound; it's about how you resonate with the world.
Let's do this! ✨