Our voice is one of our most powerful instruments, but not only are most of us not using ours enough (cue the ‘digital age’ spiel), we’re also not using it RIGHT in many cases. We rely on our voices for everyday communication, but it’s all too easy to fall into a habitual way of speaking which may not be our most effective...or healthy.
Unwittingly, many of us speak with either a ‘nasal’, ‘mouth’ or ‘chest’ voice, as opposed to with the ‘diaphragmatic voice’ that is deemed the ‘best’ from a social and professional perspective. A diaphragmatic voice, which is centred around the principles of correct breathing, is what carries the most charismatic potential, so says research in this field. So much so, that it can sometimes have more meaning than the semantic content of what’s being said.
This type of voice is also best from a health standpoint, since it helps minimise some of the anxiety (and knock-on systemic implications) of speaking socially or in public.
And the reason for these benefits? Controlled outward breaths have a supportive, positive effect on our voice’s tone and intonation, making it well received by a listener. Controlled breathing also helps keep the bloodstream oxygenated, and so your ‘chat’ sharp and interesting, and your stress hormone levels low. So, whether we’re practicing self talk, chatting with a friend, or heading to our next big meeting....it pays to practice ‘talking from your belly button’ (as a speech coaches would say) to help lend clarity, tonality and confidence to your voice.