Anyone can improve at public speaking. By paying close attention to the little things consistently, you will set yourself up for and be able to deliver better presentations. Keeping your voice healthy and in tip-top shape is crucial. Below are some tips for taking care of your speaking instrument.
5 Tips For Caring For Your Speaking Instrument
- Don’t Shout. While it should be a given that you always should avoid shouting at any client, it is also true that while giving a presentation it is also best to avoid speaking loudly. The more you speak loudly or shout, the more that your vocal cords are stressed. At some point, all the stress to your vocal cords will cause hoarseness. If you’re constantly yelling, your vocal cords could suffer serious damage and even lead to vocal nodules, or bumps on your vocal cords.
- Hydrate. We know that the human body is largely made up of water and we know that drinking more water is generally good for us. Well, it will also keep your voice in peak condition. Since our vocal cords and larynx exist in a warm, moist environment, maintaining that environment is important in order to keep your voice at an optimal level of performance, so make sure you’re staying hydrated
- Avoid Reflux. If you have ever woken up with a hoarse voice for no apparent reason then reflux may be the culprit. Gastric reflux can produce symptoms of heartburn or pain the chest. However, Laryngopharyngeal reflux can happen when stomach acid travels up to your larynx and throat and may trigger a hoarse or sore throat. Your larynx is not naturally protected against exposure to acid, so reflux can easily affect your voice. High-fat or high-carbohydrate diets and excessive drinking or smoking can all also contribute to reflux. If trying to prevent reflux, avoid food or drink for three hours before you go to sleep. Foods that stimulate stomach acid production such as fried, spicy, acidic foods, caffeine, and alcohol should all be eaten sparingly.
- Don’t Clear Throat Repeatedly. When feeling stressed many people will cough and clear their throats. When this is done repeatedly and too aggressively, it can also result in vocal cord damage. It is much better to try and relax your throat by swallowing and having sips of water instead.
- Invest In A Humidifier. Winter months, as well as travel, can dry you out from head to toe. A humidifier will keep your vocal cords hydrated and (as an added bonus) makes winter colds a little more bearable. Have a good humidifier going in your home in the colder or drier weather and if you happen to be traveling and at a hotel, steam up the bathroom for added humidification.
Consider how much you talk to each and every day. From greeting co-workers to participating in meetings, or discussing your day with your loved ones, we tend to spend a lot of time using our vocal cords, but very little time caring for them. When you need to speak publicly for a living then it is even more critical to practice self-care for your voice.