The voice you have is uniquely yours and mostly determined by your body. However, there’re some habits you can tackle to make your speaking voice better. For that, you’ll need to be performing various exercises that’ll make your voice both temporarily and permanently better for speaking.
Most of these exercises are also a good warm-up right before recording.
Perform this exercise as fast and as articulate as possible. You’ll be repeating the same combination of syllables over and over again. Try not to slur any syllables and focus on clarity.
Performing this exercise will help you with certain syllables and will teach you to control your breathing while maintaining a fast-paced speech. It should eventually make it easier for you to perform without losing your breath or exhaling sharply.
To make it even harder complete the exercise while walking to complicate breathing. Once that becomes easy as well increase the physical activity even more.
Repeat these syllables:
Bah Dah Gah Pah Dah Gah
Boh Doh Goh Poh Doh Goh
Boo Doo Goo Poo Doo Goo
Bee Dee Gee Pee Dee Gee
Bay Day Gay Pay Day Gay
Ma Na La Ha Va Za
Mo No Lo Ho Vo Zo
Moo Noo Loo Hoo Voo Zoo
Mee Nee Lee Hee Vee Zee
May Nay Lay Hay Vay Zay
Yawning is an amazing exercise that stretches and relaxes all the small muscles within the mouth and face region. It’ll get rid of the tension within your voice and help to expand the range of your vocal pitch, especially at the lower end.
When yawning try to move your mouth to each side to involve even more muscles than a normal yawn would. This exercise should induce natural yawning but if that doesn’t happen it’ll still be effective.
Breathing using the diaphragm will allow lowering diaphragmatic muscles and will expand lung capacity giving you more air to work with. Breathing through the diaphragm is very important for better voice projection and speaking louder.
Improving your breathing technique will give a good base for future vocal improvements.
To start using the diaphragm more, when breathing focus on not raising your chest and shoulders upwards while attempting to push air more towards the belly, hence the name ‘belly breathing’. The belly sensation comes from the diaphragm lowering down and expanding lung capacity.
You can train diaphragm muscles by putting a book onto your belly while laying down and breathing deeply using a diaphragm. Also, it helps if you stay conscious and breathe through the diaphragm throughout the day. After some training, it’ll become a habit and you’ll start involving your diaphragm more without even thinking about it.
Humming is a very good warm-up exercise that will make your voice less nasally and more soothing. You can perform the exercise by creating an ‘mhmmmm’ sound.
To make it more dynamic try changing the pitch of your voice when humming, going from as low as possible to as high as possible. This will help you to expand the amplitude of your pitch. When lowering the pitch you should feel it coming more from the throat, while a higher pitch will resonate closer to the lips.
Tongue rolls are done by creating an ‘rrrr’ sound with the tongue. It’s a great exercise to warm up the tongue and it could also be done in a varying pitch. When performing the exercise try moving the tongue close to the throat and then closer to the lips. You’ll notice how it changes the tone of the sound. It’s a good warm-up exercise and will also teach you how to control your pitch.
For some people, raspberry thrills are done easily while others have to spend some time to learn it.
Raspberry thrill is done the same way as a lip thrill except you also have a tongue in between lips. It’s a great exercise for your voice as it warms up your lips, tongue and some of the mouth muscles.
You’ll be performing the exercise by pushing the air through the mouth with the tongue in between lips. Some saliva might come flying but that’s alright, just don’t do it in someone’s face.
Tongue twisters help with clarity and enunciation as well as breathing. Pick up some tongue twisters and try to repeat them as articulate and as fast as possible. It’ll teach you to take quick breaths when available and will help with articulation.
Try the following tongue twisters:
‘Unique New York, New York Unique’
‘Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’
Recording yourself is important to spot flaws within your speech. Pick up some article or a script and read it out loud while recording. When listening to the recording write down certain words and vowels that you struggle with and try to work on pronouncing them.
You can also record yourself doing various tongue twisters, it’ll make it easy to spot troublesome vowels that you should work on.
Read out loud while over articulating words. Your face should be making various mimics while reading, that way you will not be slurring any words and will involve all the adequate face muscles.
This exercise will help you to get into a habit of speaking articulately but also it’s perfect if you need a temporarily better articulation.
For temporary benefit try reading your script or speech while over articulating right before delivering it. Then when you finally start delivering the said script read it normally. Your articulation should get immediately better due to you previously over articulating it.
Get in a habit to speak louder, especially if you tend to mumble a lot. It’s hard to stay focused on speaking louder all the time, therefore throughout the day set some hours where you focus on this speech exercise.
It’ll create a habit whereas you’ll start speaking louder even after the hours of when you focus on speaking louder.
Record yourself saying this sentence: ‘I thought of thinking of thanking you for giving the gleaming glowing grin’
Have you lost any G’s at the end of the words? Losing G at the end of the word is one of the most common articulation mistakes we make. Focus on pronouncing the words ending with G fully. Here’s a list of words starting from each letter and ending with G that you can practice with:
Arching, browsing, cooking, doing, edging, falling, going, hearing, increasing, judging, kicking, launching, managing, nudging, organizing, performing, questioning, recognizing, satisfying, targeting, upgrading, verifying, writing, xenografting, yelling, zooming.
Read them out loud focusing on the G’s at the end.
Neck and shoulder exercises
Your voice is strongly related to how relaxed is your body, especially the upper part of it. The tension in the body causes tension in your voice and limits your vocal capabilities. Staying relaxed is crucial to your pitch amplitude.
Our vocal cords and larynx are located in the neck part of the body hence keeping neck and shoulder muscles loose is the key to keeping your voice in check.
You can perform these exercises to relax your upper body and to loosen up your voice:
- Tilt your head up and down
- Tilt your head to both sides
- Rotate your head in a circular motion
- Relax your arms and swing them back and forth
- Reach upwards as high possible with each of your hand