How to Take Care of Your Voice

Voice Care for the Professional Speaker

Whether you’re a teacher, training administrator, you give business speeches or appear on radio or TV, it’s crucial to look after your voice.

Think of the position this way. To arrange the content for any of your presentations, you make use of your “intellectual muscles.” To prepare for an athletic event, you work out your body’s muscles. Before a speaking presentation, you need to prepare your voice, but this is the area generally neglected!

When using your voice professionally, you need to know that you can use every part of its range, depth, resonance and pitch for most effect. You additionally don’t desire to cause some injury to your voice leaving it prone to infections.

About half an hour prior to you use your voice professionally, I recommend you “warm it up” by low humming that resonates in the upper passages of your chest. Put your hand on this area to ensure you feel these vibrations. Do this low-pitched humming for at least 5 minutes.

Then go through a “clarity” voice implementation. My favourite is called “QEQR”. Screw your backtalk up and say “Q.” Now stretch the jaws broad and say “E.” Next, replicate the screwed up “Q” again. Finally get your mouth wide open and give out a large “R” sound. Repeat the entire cycle ten or so times, speeding up a little as you go. Your mouth will be tingling afterwards, as you’ve given the surrounding muscles a much wanted workout! You’ll discover afterwards that you’ll be pronouncing your words with exceptional clarity, and the QEQR exercise is essential to perform as a “warm up” ahead of a speech.

If you’re a pro broadcaster or voice over performer like me, you’ll know that having “just” a common cold can be an absolute catastrophe. I have personally lost a load of money as agencies or studios had to pick someone else for a advertisement voice or presenting job, “just” because I had a blocked nose and sounded terrible. Not funny! And no, the voice can’t be tweaked with an electronic equaliser in the studio afterwards to sound better; it can’t be done. A muffled voice can’t really be un-muffled!

Here are my tips to keep your voice in top condition for pro speaking. Being mindful with your body in general and your voice in particular is important at this point. Get heaps of slumber and don’t “burn the candle at both ends” — in other words, get early to bed and get those sleeping hours in, so that your brain can run at highest efficiency for your recording session or live performance the next day! If you cut down on sleep, your body won’t be able to shield you fully from getting infections. So no late at night night parties and certainly don’t drink too much alcohol!

Try and dodge folks who are unwell. I know this is very challenging, particularly if you have to travel on public transport. If you’ve just been near someone with a cold or someone has sneezed next to your face, then rush to the nearby washroom and wash your face scrupulously, gargle with cold water and flush your nose out. Horrible, but if you’re a professional host, you have to prevent getting a cold or any kind of respiratory infection at all costs. Be aware of infected objects around you as well; using a public telephone, for example can be really a danger point to pick up bugs for your voice!

Of course, you can build up your body to be more resilient against infections. Get and stay in the main fit; munch a balanced diet of quality foods together with lots of fruit and vegetables; and take supplements if you need them. Many professional presenters rely on Vitamin C pills, Echinacea drops or Astragalus tincture which additionally protects against breathing tracts and lung infections. A dozen drops in water every day and regular gargling will give infection protection.

But what if the worst happens, and you in reality feel a cold coming on? A few squirts of Vick’s “First Defense” or equivalent merchandise up the nasal passages can help bring to a halt a cold in its tracks if it’s caught early on. It’s basically thick gel made of plant substances that stops the infection spreading and it has a beneficial success rate. Another piece of advice is to go to the fitness center, but don’t perform too much exercise if you’re feeling a bit off colour; simply sit in the hot steam room or sauna for ten minutes and the heat may well exterminate rancid the infection; remember to breathe deeply, in through the nose, out through the mouth.

If you really HAVE to do a voice session, present an important meeting speech or present a broadcast programme with a sore throat or if you are all “bunged up,” understand my tips.

Don’t use your voice on full volume until you really have to – whisper to folks until it’s “show time”! A sore throat can be calmed by gargling with warm saline water every few hours; be vigilant it doesn’t make you sick though! There’s no point in gargling with a medicinal antiseptic, this will just inflame the throat if it’s already infected. It’s imperative to keep drinking water frequently as well as sucking lozenges; any kind that have vapours will be fine.

If your nose is blocked, a temporary relief spray like Sinex may work for you, or breathe in Olbas oil spotted on a tissue. Fill a bowl with very hot water, place a towel on top of your head and breathe in the steam deeply. Try mixing in essential oils such as menthol, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil for improved results. Your pharmacist may suggest some anti-congestion pills that can momentarily unclog you, but don’t employ these frequently.

But what if you’re absolutely desperate for your voice to sound “normal?” Depending on how blocked you are, try doing a handstand and staying there for a minute! Gravity might clean out the mucus from your passages long enough for you to blow it out before your speech or broadcast!

Finally, I know a lot of individuals don’t look after their precious delicate vocal folds by coughing too much or clearing their voice vociferously. This is really bad news for your poor throat and vocal cords, and it’s far better to learn to do the “silent cough” method. This is a way to clear the throat without violently hitting the delicate vocal folds together. The “silent cough” is done by breathing in air and blowing the air out very fast through your throat and mouth without making much sound — it’s like a large chesty “puff.” Immediately after the silent cough, you should tuck your chin down and swallow hard. Doing this often clears mucous that clings to the vocal folds or near them.

Mucus can be a big problem for many individuals and we suggest you drink eight glasses of water a day, avoiding dairy products and eating a correct balance of protein and carbohydrates. Keep fit, and your voice will reward you!

Good luck with your next presentation!

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Peter Baker is a broadcaster, writer and presentation coach, with experience on air at BBC & commercial TV & radio stations. Check out more tips and advice at and sign up for the newsletter!

Peter has also co-written the material on — a comprehensive resource offering self-help advice, written and media downloads to help people cope with stress in their lives. Article Source:

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