03: Strengthen and Improve Your Speaking Voice

Voice improvement and a stronger speaking voice are desired by many. There are ways to achieve this goal through voice exercises, deeper breathing that fills the whole body, and simple muscle stretches and movements. Elaine A. Clark leads you through this process and a series of vowel strengthening exercises so you can have a fuller, richer speaking voice.

In Real Talking Tips episode 2, we worked adding a buzz to resonators to strengthen and enrich the speaking voice.

Now it’s time to improve the speaking voice by adding more breath support and volume on the vowels. I’m Elaine Clark, voiceover performer and speech communication coach for over 40 years, author of There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is and Voice-Overs for Podcasting, app creator of Activate Your Voice and Adding Melody To Your Voice, and host of the Real Talking Tips podcast where we explore ways to strengthen the speaking voice and improve the way we interact with people through speech, movement, and body language.

Improve and Strengthen your Speaking Voice.

Is that listed in your Real Taking Tips Episode 1 – Strengths and Weakness List homework assignment?

Strengths and Weaknesses notebook

A lot of people take “catch breaths” and breathe from the upper regions of their chest. When the air input doesn’t fully expand into the diaphragm, more breaths are needed. And, that can get noisy and bothersome.

Prepare your body to breathe properly!
Stomp your feet. Shake out your arms. Roll your shoulders. Stretch out your back muscles. Bring your shoulders up to your ears, push your shoulders back, and drop them down. Repeat that up, back, down movement a couple times. Circle the shoulders until they feel more flexible and relaxed. Shake out your whole body. Notice how more air is flowing through your body just by waking up the muscles and activating your body.

Breathing Exercise:
1. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and slightly bend your knees.
2. Breathe out a couple times to get rid of the bad air.
3. Breathe in… imagining it starting in your toes, to the heels of your feet, up your legs, and into your diaphragm.
4. While doing this, let a smile grow on your face and your hands and arms move up to waist level.

Now you’re ready to strengthen your speaking voice. These exercises are included in the second section of the Elaine Clark app: Activate Your Voice.

Let’s strengthen the AH, OH, EE, I-EE, A-EE, and EW vowel sounds. You may find it easier to sustain the sound if you raise your hand above your head and slowly drop the hand down as your pitch lowers. Remember to get louder as you vocalize each sound for 10-12 seconds.

AH – Shape your mouth in a horizontal oval. Relax the jaw and slowly close the mouth opening as the pitch drops from high to low.

OH – Stick your lips out and form an open vertical shape. As the pitch drops, slowly close the lips to form a small ‘o.’

EE – Vibrate the middle of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. I like to hold one hand up and make a fist, shaking it to move the sound around while holding onto the vibrating ‘e.’

I-EE – Start with your mouth in an open vertical ‘I’ shape, then change the mouth position to a smaller horizontal ‘E’ position. If you want, you can shake your fist when you get to the ‘e’ sound.

A-EE – Slowly move from an open ‘A’ to a horizontal ‘E’ shape. Notice that the ‘ah’ sound is slightly lower pitched than the long ‘I’ sound we just performed.

EW – Push your lips out to form a small ‘o’ shape. For a fluid ‘u’ sound, your lips will become smaller as your voice drops.

Come back and revisit Real Talking Tips – Episode 3 to improve your speaking voice, breathe from the diaphragm and lower part of the body, and develop a stronger speaking voice. Tune in to Episode 4 for articulation and enunciation exercises.