Now that 2017 is under way with the festive feasting over, it's time to take stock of yourself. You often think about how you look-but what about how you sound? lt's nice to have a nifty figure, luxuriant hair, and a good complexion, but don't, whatever you do, make the mistake of neglecting that other so-important feature of your personality-your speaking voice. In this article I give you some tips about that.
You've probably been looking at yourself in the mirror for years by now, so you know your good and not-so-good features and you're learning to make the best of yourself, to give the best impression.
Could it just be possible that you ruin that impression the second you open your mouth?
The truth of this was never as clearly illustrated as by some of the silent-film stars whose careers ended with a crash when soundtracks were brought in.
Try this experiment some time. Say to the family pet, in a warm, loving manner:"I hate you, you little beast. You ugly little monster."
Know how your dog will react? Wagging tail, moist tongue, rolling over-the whole glad bit. You know why? Because he hears and responds to the TONE of your voice, not the words.
That's why your mother warns you to mean it when you say, "Sorry." The tone of your voice convinces people that you are genuinely sorry-or glad, sad, angry or not.
Remember the old fairy tale about the two beautiful maidens who were rewarded by a magic gift according to their personality. The kind, thoughtful girl spoke, and beautiful jewels dropped from her lips. From the mouth of the nasty, disagreeable one came the toads.
A woman is often judged by people she may never meet, simply by the tone of her -voice over the telephone.
Nobody likes to spend much time with a woman with a whiny voice, a monotonous or rasping voice. A voice pitched too high and too loud can ruin a girl's romance or her chance for a job. Just lowering the voice both in key and volume will work wonders.
Every woman should-and can if she tries, cultivate a low-pitched, warm, lilting voice with undertones of humor, sincerity, and glad-to-be-aliveness.
Voice-recorders can do much to help careless speakers. Try listening to yourself on a voice-recorder, you may get a shock.
“BUT it can't be ME!" That's the typical reaction from anyone who hears himself speaking on a voice-recorder for the first time. But your voice IS you. What you say and how you say it tells people what you feel, how you think-who you are.
How to improve it
It is their contention that women with unpleasant voices should take steps to remedy the situation once they hear how they sound to others. You must try to judge yourself where your trouble lies.
It may be physical-adenoids, sinus, or the shape of your mouth. More often, though, it's just laziness. People just don't put enough energy behind it. You've got to think and work at speaking nicely.
If your fault is physical, there's nothing you can do other than see a doctor or speech therapist.
But if it's just the quality (or tone) that needs improvement, your best bet is humming. Hum in the bath, hum when you wash up hum when you work in the garden.
The humming will gradually bring your voice forward, and so improve the tone.
If people keep asking you to repeat what you say, or you notice yourself that your speech is not clear, it usually means that your tongue or lips (or both) are not flexible enough.
So lock yourself in your room and start rolling your RRRRRs.
Another good exercise is to hold your lips loosely together and blow, making that silly bbbrrring noise. In fact, many of the silly noises we all make as babies are good speech exercises.
Lucky if you baby-sit regularly-for what youngster doesn't beg for more from a good story-teller? Concentrate on using your imagination to be effective. Try to create excitement and give proper meaning to a story.
The listeners' pleasure becomes your profit as you add texture, depth, even beauty, to your voice. Notice even the smallest change and keep reading aloud and striving for well-modulated tones.
A woman's voice is one of the most important facets in her total self. Your voice is as deserving of cultivation as your figure.