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Sound Advice: Creating Your Best Voice

February 21, 2016
Mary Jane Copps

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Speech

 

In almost every workshop, someone asks me about improving the sound of their voice. While I can share the things that I do (sip water throughout the day, sing, hum), I am not an expert. I rely on the advice of Natasha Marchewka.

Over the past 10 years Natasha has built a very successful voiceover business, creating thousands of commercial and business narration projects around the world. She also provides presentation skills coaching and she’s helped me take many a speech from “okay” to “awesome”. Natasha’s voice is her business and her knowledge is invaluable to me.

Her recent move from Nova Scotia to California drew her attention to accessing her best morning voice, something we should all know how to do. The sound of our voice supports our ability to communicate effectively (and most of you know that I highly recommend getting phone calls done first thing every morning!).  Courtesy of Natasha, here are some tips to consider to put your best voice forward:

Now in the Pacific Time Zone, I’m up a little later than my friends and colleagues in the Eastern Time Zone where most of my voice work comes from… This means, if I wake at 6am, it’s already 9 and scripts are hopping, work is moving…but, my voice is not. Vocal warmups are now more important than ever for me, since I often have to hit the ground running vocally in the mornings. Once everyone has cleared out of the house, my first order of business is to vocally warm up as best as I can, as quickly as I can (though speed is not recommended!).

Some great ideas for vocal warm-ups for anyone needing to sound articulate and professional in the morning are humming musical scales (or any song), as well as, reciting tongue twisters. I find some vocal exercises even more effective when I’m folded forward, with my head hanging upside down. Drinking a warm beverage is also beneficial, though I’m particular about mine depending on the acidity and sugar levels. Certain herbal teas like Throat Coat or Ginger tea or any mild flavored tea works for me and strangely, hot chocolate (one that’s not too sweet) is also helpful for me.

Wanna take it to another level? Vocal Yoga. Here I thought I was coming up with something unique, a marriage of my two passions – the voice and Yoga – and it’s actually already a “thing”. The point is that breath techniques, gentle stretching, and other aspects of Yoga work can help support our voices and can be dramatically beneficial to our sound and ability to communicate.

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