Do you not like your own voice? Have you ever listened to a radio host or a professional speaker and wished you could sound just like them? It's not uncommon for people to feel like their own voices are lacking, but the truth is, anyone can improve their speaking voice with the right techniques. As someone with over 15 years of professional voice-over experience, I've learned that finding the sweet spot of your voice is key to sounding like a great radio host. In this article, I'll share some tips on how to find your best voice and develop a professional-quality speaking voice that you're proud of.
Step 1: Understanding Your Vocal Cords - Small Organs Needing Only A Little Bit Of Strength
Before we dive into the practical exercises, it's important to understand a little bit about how your vocal cords work. The vocal cords are small organs, only about 1.8-2.4cm long in men and 1.4-1.8cm long in women. Despite their small size, they play a crucial role in producing sound. When air passes through the vocal cords, they vibrate, producing sound waves that we hear as speech. However, since they are small, therefore producing sound with it requires just a small amount of strength. So if you want to sound good, speaking softly should be a starting point.
Step 2: Finding Your Sweet Spot
The sweet spot is the volume at which you can speak comfortably and naturally, without straining your voice or feeling like you're shouting. It’s also where you can get the professional sound that you are proud of. It's important to find this sweet spot before you begin practicing other voice techniques since it’s the very foundation.
As we discussed earlier, your vocal cords are small. In order to find your sweet spot, start by whispering without vibrating your vocal cords. Whispering is a great way to get in touch with your vocal cords and begin to develop a sense of control over them. Once you're comfortable whispering, begin to increase the volume of your voice gradually, and then vibrate your vocal cords, until you reach a point where someone sitting in front of you can hear you clearly without effort. This is mostly your sweet spot - the volume at which you should aim to be the starting point of your speech most of the time.
Step 3: Developing Chest Resonance
One of the key elements of a professional-quality speaking voice is chest resonance. This is the sensation of vibration you feel in your chest when you speak, and it gives your voice a warm, rich tone. I just want to make it simple for you. Most of the time you can find the chest resonance easier when you speak softly. Start speaking softly, and put your hands on your chest and feel the vibration, and you should be able to hear or feel the sound of hummings. That’s the chest resonance that I am talking about, and try to keep this humming sound smooth and nonstop while you speak. You will hear the difference. My voice training program can help you to explore the use of it further in both speech and singing.
Now that you've found your sweet spot and developed chest resonance, it's time to start combining everything we’ve covered to practice your best voice range. This is the range of volume and pitch at which you feel most comfortable and confident while others enjoy listening to your voice. Now, try reading from a book or a script while maintaining the smoothness of your humming chest resonances.
Improving your speaking voice takes practice and patience, but with these tips, you can find a path to develop a professional-quality voice that you're proud of. With time and dedication, you'll be well on your way to sounding like a great radio host that you can use in any presentation situation.
Learn with Tony Chen:
With 15+ years of professional voice over performance experience, bilingual English/Chinese voice actor Tony has honed the ability to effectively grab the listener’s attention and engage with them through his crisp, polished delivery. He has worked on projects for clients from over 10 countries, including Universal Studios Hollywood, Microsoft, Amazon, UFC Fight PASS, PepsiCo, Tiffany & Co, and more. With the unique method of "performing naturally first and then techniques", Tony’s professional voice coaching program quickly transforms your voice/singing performance to the next level."