Updated: Jun 17, 2021
Actually, allow me to rephrase that. What’s in your voice?
We hardly pay attention to our voices; we barely notice it in day-to-day situations. But the minute we hear a recording or a playback of ourselves, we instantly freak out!
“Is that what I sound like?”
“Oh my God, please turn it off - I sound horrible!”
“Why am I so whiny?!”
Truth is, you hear yourself differently to how others hear you. When you speak, this sound is formed in your larynx and these sound waves travel through your head, take a short trip to your ears—where only then are they detected. Now, here comes the surprise: how you hear yourself on a recording is exactly how everyone else hears you! When you speak, you hear your own voice inside your head. Your head bones and tissues tend to enhance lower frequency vibrations. This means that you hear your voice in a fuller and deeper tone, as compared to others.
So yes, if you think you sound whiny, you probably do. But, as an experienced #RadioAnnouncer (who hated the sound of my own voice when I first began radio in 2004) I urge you to grow to love your voice—in all its whiny glory. Your voice is an important medium for you to communicate with others. We use our voices to convey feelings, emotions, ideas and of course, our personality. Your voice is essentially, your emblem, ingrained, and woven delicately into your speech.
As a former radio announcer, it took me years to figure out the connection between my voice and my audience. It took me years to understand that I was delivering a character—my character—over the radio, through my voice. No one could see me talking, they could only hear. And that impact of delivering your personality without anyone actually seeing you is powerful. It still surprises me, even today, that people recognize my voice before recognizing my face.
Once you’re comfortable and develop a love for the sound of your own voice, make sure you use it to your advantage. Why? Because in the moment that we open our mouths to speak, we are instantly judged. As we speak, assumptions are made as to who we are. It’s human nature. Presumptions are made about our intelligence, how determined we are, what we desire, how confident we might be and how influential we could possibly be.
Your capability to project appropriate sounds through speech makes a difference in the way that you are perceived, treated or even respected. It’s time to use your voice to enhance your personal and professional relationships. If you have the time, learn and understand #VoiceModulation, which is the control or adjustment of your voice. This is what is needed to communicate your thoughts, ideas or messages—effectively. Without it, you would be speaking in a—perhaps, whiny—continuous, monotonous pitch and tone. Which isn’t in any way captivating for your #Listener.
The next time you speak, pay attention to the way you emphasize certain words for effect. Go over what you want to say, pick out key words and give them weight in your speech through your voice. Pause occasionally to allow others to digest the information that you are delivering. Speak loudly to gain attention, speak softly to do the same. Speak at a fast pace to create excitement or go slow to keep your audience engaged.
And perhaps the most important part of your voice is the complete opposite of the points I have just made.
Most people speak continuously when they are given the opportunity to speak; however, the most underused and overlooked part of your voice is the ability for you to be silent from time to time. This is one of the most powerful ways to use your voice. When delivered at an opportune moment, a brief pause after you say something that is profound or hard-hitting can create an impact bigger than if you used a thousand words to explain it.