How to project your normal speaking voice

6 Tips to Help Project Your Voice

Anytime you are speaking or singing in front of the crowd, no matter the size, you want to be sure that you are delivering clear sound in a proper tone. Public speaking or singing voices are not something that we were all born with; many of us have to work at it. This guide will provide you with a few solutions if you are wondering how to project your voice.

How to project your normal speaking voice

6 Tips to Help Project Your Voice

Proper Breath Support

Taking proper deep breaths before each phrase supports your tone and increases your volume by ten-fold. The idea of breath support is muscle antagonism, which means two sets of opposing muscles working with each other. This requires a conscious effort to be made as it means to project your voice; you need a slow exhale which can only be achieved by resisting the muscles designed to push air out; to do this, use the biggest muscle of inhalation, your diaphragm. With slow exhalation, the rib cage should stay expanded and the chest should stay high.

If you really want to project your voice, open up the back of your throat. The space behind the tongue creates a resonance chamber which propels sound forward, not unlike a hall that is well-designed to help sound reach the ears of your listeners naturally. To achieve this, imagine an egg stuck in your throat, pretend to smell a rose or imagine the feeling of a yawn. Opening up your throat will greatly project your voice.

Voice Placement

Pretending you are wearing a Mardi Gras mask will help you learn how to project your voice, as this is one of the easiest and quickest tricks of projection. Place your voice into the mask, which is located below the eyes and along the nose, as this is where vibrations are felt when speaking or singing. Opening the back of your throat while placing your voice forward into the mask will give your voice an intriguing, attractive and easy to hear sound heard by all.

Breath Threshold

A good solution for how to make your voice louder is to use breath threshold. In order to create sound, the vocal cords flap together horizontally. Vocal cords flap together by air pressure and muscular resistance. The air coming from the lungs through your vocal cords causes them to open and shut. This process results in oscillation, which causes sound. Your pitch is determined by how fast or slow the vocal cords oscillate. To produce a voice that is projected and well-balanced, it is important for you to find just the right amount of air pressure verses muscular resistance. You can sound “breathy” if you allow too much air to flow through the vocal cords or “pinched” if you are using too much muscular force. Too much muscular force can also cause damage to the vocal cords over time. You should attempt to sound “breathy” and “pinched” purposefully and then attempt to find your happy medium between the two. To achieve a voice that is beautiful and loud, the trick is to sing with as little breathiness as possible, without tension.

Energy Is Necessary for Articulation

It is found that most people don’t use the tools of articulation such as their jaw, tongue and lips with enough energy to produce consonants that are crisp and clear. Articulation has a direct effect on how well your voice carries. By putting more energy into your muscles of articulation, you are lifting your voice up away from your throat muscles and into the resonators in your face, which include your cheek bones and sinus cavity. Cheek bones resemble the sounding board of a piano and your sinus cavity resonates like a big, open room, which creates a voice with more resonance that will project better to listeners.

Think Big in Terms of Your Voice

Avoid trying to push your voice to become louder as this will most likely make you hoarse and may even do damage to your vocal cords. To project your voice, imagine that the inside of your mouth and throat are as large as the room you are speaking in. This causes all of the muscles around the inside of your throat to pull away as if you were yawning. The bigger the space you have inside, the bigger the voice will be outside.

Tips to improve one’s tone of voice.

How to project your normal speaking voice

Your voice is a personal calling card. People listen to the quality of your tone, and often make quick judgments about whether you’re strong or weak, assertive or compliant, respectable or negligible. Your social acceptability and professional promoability are determined in part by the charismatic (or lack thereof) quality of your voice. The sound of your voice influences whether others treat you as superior, equal or inferior every day of your life.

In my twenty years of helping people improve their voice as a communication coach, it’s evident that most people with a weak and/or unattractive voice are so because of social, gender, and/or cultural reasons. Below are some examples:

1. A male client who has a soft voice told me that, as a child, his parents always scolded him if he spoke loudly. Over the years, he simply forget how to access his most attractive and powerful voice.

2. A female client spoke with me about the gender double standard of her culture, where men have more permission to use their full voice, while women are restricted to a softer, gentler voice. She was so used to this social conditioning that she now struggles to be heard and taken seriously.

Here are four common voice levels, excerpted from my book (click on title): “How to Improve the Sound of Your Speaking Voice.”

Most of us have heard someone with a nasal voice. It has that high pitched, almost whiny quality which can turn people off in a hurry. This is not the type of voice which helps one’s professional or social life.

Some people use the mouth voice. The mouth voice makes sounds but is not very powerful. I will not go into here the cultural, gender, social, and/or psychological factors which may contribute to this type of voice. It suffices to say that people who use the mouth voice can sometimes feel invisible: they’re overworked, under-appreciated, neglected of their needs, and passed over for recognition. The person with the mouth voice cries out to be heard, but more often than not no one is really paying attention.

Many women and men use the chest voice. This is the type of voice that sounds pleasant enough, and can generally maintain listener interest. There’s nothing negative about the chest voice, except that it is not the best possible voice.

For all of us, our best, strongest, most attractive and most natural voice comes from the diaphragm. A person who uses the diaphragm voice commands attention, “sounds” more attractive socially, and is more likely to be perceived as a promotable leader. The diaphragm voice is the best sounding voice for both women and men.

So, what can you do to access your most optimum voice? Here are a few suggestions*:

1. Breathe right. People who don’t speak from the diaphragm also don’t breathe from the diaphragm. To breathe correctly, simply inhale and let your belly rise, and exhale and let your belly fall. Breathing is the most fundamental activity we engage in to sustain life. Proper breathing can relax us physically, sharpen us mentally, calm us emotionally, and solidify us psychologically. If we breathe right, everything else about us will begin to fall into place.

“To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh

“Breathing. corresponds to taking charge of one’s own life.”

2. Make sounds based on diaphragmatic breathing. Whether you’re singing, speaking, chanting, laughing, or even yawning, develop the habit of projecting from your diaphragm.

3. Take a singing or acting class. Many of these courses begin with vocal warm ups from the diaphragm. These classes can be a lot of fun!

4. Work with a private voice coach. In my voice coaching sessions, most clients are able to access their best (most powerful and attractive) voice in about one hour. The rest is simply practicing vocal exercises until the “new” voice is progressively internalized. For more information on fee-based professional voice coaching, e-mail me at [email protected]

In conclusion, our voice is a beautiful instrument, but many of us forget to take full advantage of this wonderful gift. Access your best voice, and you’ll access your best self!

How to project your normal speaking voice

For more tips on voice improvement, see my book (click on title): “How to Improve the Sound of Your Speaking Voice.”

*Footnote: In cases where there’s vocal damage due to factors such as smoking, drinking, excessive use, or other types of injury, seek appropriate medical attention.

How to project your normal speaking voice

How to project your normal speaking voice

How to project your normal speaking voice

How to project your normal speaking voice

How to project your normal speaking voice

It’s not what you say, but how you say it. When we talk about voice projection, we aren’t talking about simply yelling so the audience can hear you. Your volume plays just one small part of how you can master your tone of voice to command any audience.

How to project your normal speaking voiceTake President Franklin Roosevelt for example. Though polio left him unable to stride confidently onto a stage or stand at attention reviewing the troops he commanded, he was elected President of the United States four times, once during wartime, when a country especially craves strong leadership.

His radio addresses were what conveyed his strength and conviction. But while his speeches were always intelligent and inspiring, it wasn’t only what he said but how he said it that mattered. Roosevelt’s calm, reassuring voice was probably the most effective way he convinced the people they could put their faith in his strength as the commander-in-chief.

Find Your Natural Tone

A good speaking voice is pitched low rather than high and is resonant rather than flat and monotonous. You can have a low, resonant voice by creating a reverberating chamber in your chest. This means taking in air and breathing from your diaphragm rather than from your chest.

Try it out right now. Put your palm over your belly button and take a deep breath, pulling in air to fill that area beneath your hand. Exhale and let the air out. As you will see, when you breathe into the diaphragm rather than into your chest, you have a column of air power that can support your voice when you speak. If you speak while the air is coming out, your voice will be stronger and lower pitched. Take a look at this quick video from our Eloquence program, as Jason teaches you how to use your diaphragm to help you find that resonant tone.

There is no better example of a low, resonant voice than that of actor James Earl Jones, who played Mufasa in The Lion King and Darth Vader in Star Wars. Actresses who speak in low, resonant voices include Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Jane Fonda and Katie Couric.

For a look at some of our other favorite voices from Hollywood, check out this blog.

How to project your normal speaking voice

Find Your Natural Volume

Your normal volume is the one that feels most comfortable and the one you typically use in a one-on-one conversation. The most common mistake presenters make when they are trying to get people to listen is to talk louder. BIG MISTAKE! You will not inspire any confidence if you appear to be struggling to be heard. If you want to be absolutely sure people can hear you, make sure a microphone is available.

Vary Your Volume

While you want to typically use your natural volume, you should also vary your volume throughout your presentation. By varying your volume you can:

  • Generate enthusiasm and excitement
  • Stress importance
  • Compare and contrast two different ideas or things
  • Re-engage the distracted
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Appear knowledgeable and credible

Take a look at this short video from Eloquence to see how you can vary your volume to do the above.

This blog is covering the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mastering your voice, but it sure is a great place to start. After mastering your natural tone and volume, you’ll want to work on mastering your inflections and pace. But that’s not all either! You’ll also need to choose your words wisely by using confident language, removing deceptive words and eliminating these filler words.

Remove these Filler Words

  • So
  • And
  • All right
  • Okay
  • Like
  • Now
  • Well
  • You know
  • Right
  • Um
  • Uh

Master Your Inflections

When we talk about inflections, we’re talking about where you put the emphasis on the word in a sentence or the syllables in a word. A change in emphasis can give a whole new meaning to a phrase or sentence.

Look at this example.

  • If you say, “I’m Jason Teteak,” without putting stress on any particular word or syllable, you’re just stating a fact.
  • If you emphasize the first word—“I’mJason Teteak”—you are suggesting that someone else may have been mistakenly identified as you.
  • If you emphasize the entire last word—“I’m Jason Teteak”—you may be correcting someone who is mispronouncing your last name or distinguishing yourself from another Jason with a different last name.
  • If you stress the first syllable of the last word—“I’m Jason Teteak—you sound very confident.

You can master all of this with our Eloquence: Convince With Your Voice program. This program is more than 2-hours long and will have you maximizing the tone of your voice and word selection by uncovering how the two inter-play for successful communications when you are not face to face. If you want to engage listeners even when they can’t see you, this program is for you.

How to project your normal speaking voice

About Craig Czarnecki

Craig joined the Rule the Room team in January of 2015, and serves as Rule the Rooms Operations Manager. He’s known as a swiss army knife around here, tackling many duties including videographer and editor, content writer and social media and customer relations manager. Craig knows Rule the Room’s techniques inside and out, and other than Jason, probably knows this stuff better than anyone else.

Control Your Voice’s Resonance with Voice Placement

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How to project your normal speaking voice

Placing your voice means focusing your sound into a specific part of your face and neck to achieve more volume and better tone. The ideal placement is the spot where you feel resonance sensations between the neck and face that vibrate sympathetically and reflect resonance like a sounding board. By focusing on placing the voice correctly singers tend to have an easier time opening up the vocal cavities that will actually amplify the voice more efficiently.

Correct Voice Placement

Since placement is a sensation, correctly placing your voice may feel different to you than someone else. Most people sing best when they feel vibrations in the “mask” of their face; this is sometimes described as the area where a superhero mask touches below the eyes, on the nose, and cheek areas. One common mistake is to drive or force the sound there. Instead, sense vibrations in the mask while relaxing the throat, jaw, and tongue during singing. While there are variations as to where vibrations are felt, most singers tend to feel them high, lying somewhere at the roof of the mouth or higher.

Many singers feel high notes are easier to sing by placing their sound up and out through the top of their heads. Others describe well-produced high notes as feeling somewhere outside of their body. Specific sensations and visualizations are different for any given singer, the key is to know you sound different to yourself than others. Either record yourself singing to obtain a more accurate understanding of your own voice or allow your voice teacher or trusted friend to clue you in when you are singing at your best. Since you can’t trust your ears, learn to rely on how your body feels when singing well.

Exploring Placement Through Sensations

Using a scale of one through five, it’s possible to explore five possible placements of the voice. We start with a narrow focus at the front of the face concentrating on the nose and moving backwards towards the throat. In order to successfully visualize the various placements, place your thumbs on your chin and move your index fingers based on the scale. You should focus placement where your index finger lies.

  1. The index finger is placed directly behind the nose; the sound should be brilliant and bright.
  2. Place your index finger on your cheek bone to feel sensations in the front of the cheeks and in the front of the mouth.
  3. Place your index finger in front of the ear at the jaw joint to feel sensations farther back in your cheeks and mouth.
  4. Place your index finger behind the ears to feel sensations even farther back in your mouth.
  5. Place your index finger on your neck, just below the jaw parallel with your ear, to feel in the back of your mouth (they will sound dark and fuzzy).

This vocal exercise allows you to explore the sounds you can produce and the sensations you will feel when you place your voice in different locations. Somewhere in the middle of the scale between two and three will produce the most pleasant sound for most singers. Broadway singers tend to place their voices more forward into the two area and opera singers slightly farther back between two and three.

Few are immune to the fear of public speaking. Marjorie North offers 10 tips for speakers to calm the nerves and deliverable memorable orations.

How to project your normal speaking voice

Snakes? Fine. Flying? No problem. Public speaking? Yikes! Just thinking about public speaking—routinely described as one of the greatest (and most common) fears—can make your palms sweat. But there are many ways to tackle this anxiety and learn to deliver a memorable speech.

In part one of this series, Mastering the Basics of Communication, I shared strategies to improve how you communicate. In part two, How to Communicate More Effectively in the Workplace, I examined how to apply these techniques as you interact with colleagues and supervisors in the workplace. For the third and final part of this series, I’m providing you with public speaking tips that will help reduce your anxiety, dispel myths, and improve your performance.

Here Are My 10 Tips for Public Speaking:

1. Nervousness Is Normal. Practice and Prepare!

All people feel some physiological reactions like pounding hearts and trembling hands. Do not associate these feelings with the sense that you will perform poorly or make a fool of yourself. Some nerves are good. The adrenaline rush that makes you sweat also makes you more alert and ready to give your best performance.

The best way to overcome anxiety is to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. Take the time to go over your notes several times. Once you have become comfortable with the material, practice—a lot. Videotape yourself, or get a friend to critique your performance.

Communication Strategies: Presenting with Impact

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2. Know Your Audience. Your Speech Is About Them, Not You.

Before you begin to craft your message, consider who the message is intended for. Learn as much about your listeners as you can. This will help you determine your choice of words, level of information, organization pattern, and motivational statement.

3. Organize Your Material in the Most Effective Manner to Attain Your Purpose.

Create the framework for your speech. Write down the topic, general purpose, specific purpose, central idea, and main points. Make sure to grab the audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds.

4. Watch for Feedback and Adapt to It.

Keep the focus on the audience. Gauge their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible. Delivering a canned speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners.

5. Let Your Personality Come Through.

Be yourself, don’t become a talking head—in any type of communication. You will establish better credibility if your personality shines through, and your audience will trust what you have to say if they can see you as a real person.

6. Use Humor, Tell Stories, and Use Effective Language.

Inject a funny anecdote in your presentation, and you will certainly grab your audience’s attention. Audiences generally like a personal touch in a speech. A story can provide that.

7. Don’t Read Unless You Have to. Work from an Outline.

Reading from a script or slide fractures the interpersonal connection. By maintaining eye contact with the audience, you keep the focus on yourself and your message. A brief outline can serve to jog your memory and keep you on task.

8. Use Your Voice and Hands Effectively. Omit Nervous Gestures.

Nonverbal communication carries most of the message. Good delivery does not call attention to itself, but instead conveys the speaker’s ideas clearly and without distraction.

9. Grab Attention at the Beginning, and Close with a Dynamic End.

Do you enjoy hearing a speech start with “Today I’m going to talk to you about X”? Most people don’t. Instead, use a startling statistic, an interesting anecdote, or concise quotation. Conclude your speech with a summary and a strong statement that your audience is sure to remember.

10. Use Audiovisual Aids Wisely.

Too many can break the direct connection to the audience, so use them sparingly. They should enhance or clarify your content, or capture and maintain your audience’s attention.

Practice Does Not Make Perfect

Good communication is never perfect, and nobody expects you to be perfect. However, putting in the requisite time to prepare will help you deliver a better speech. You may not be able to shake your nerves entirely, but you can learn to minimize them.

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This web app allows you to generate voice audio from text – no login needed, and it’s completely free! It uses your browser’s built-in voice synthesis technology, and so the voices will differ depending on the browser that you’re using. You can download the audio as a file, but note that the downloaded voices may be different to your browser’s voices because they are downloaded from an external text-to-speech server. If you don’t like the externally-downloaded voice, you can use a recording app on your device to record the “system” or “internal” sound while you’re playing the generated voice audio.

Want more voices? You can download the generated audio and then use voicechanger.io to add effects to the voice. For example, you can make the voice sound more robotic, or like a giant ogre, or an evil demon. You can even use it to reverse the generated audio, randomly distort the speed of the voice throughout the audio, add a scary ghost effect, or add an “anonymous hacker” effect to it.

Note: If the list of available text-to-speech voices is small, or all the voices sound the same, then you may need to install text-to-speech voices on your device. Many operating systems (including some versions of Android, for example) only come with one voice by default, and the others need to be downloaded in your device’s settings. If you don’t know how to install more voices, and you can’t find a tutorial online, you can try downloading the audio with the download button instead. As mentioned above, the downloaded audio uses external voices which may be different to your device’s local ones.

You’re free to use the generated voices for any purpose – no attribution needed. You could use this website as a free voice over generator for narrating your videos in cases where don’t want to use your real voice. You can also adjust the pitch of the voice to make it sound younger/older, and you can even adjust the rate/speed of the generated speech, so you can create a fast-talking high-pitched chipmunk voice if you want to.

Note: If you have offline-compatible voices installed on your device (check your system Text-To-Speech settings), then this web app works offline! Find the “add to homescreen” or “install” button in your browser to add a shortcut to this app in your home screen. And note that if you don’t have an internet connection, or if for some reason the voice audio download isn’t working for you, you can also use a recording app that records your devices “internal” or “system” sound.

Got some feedback? You can share it with me here.

Voice Strain

Muscle tension dysphonia, or voice strain caused by muscle tightness, can occur even when there is no damage to your vocal cords (also known as vocal folds). It’s often overlooked and left untreated. The Duke Voice Care Center team of laryngologists — ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors with advanced training in voice disorders — and highly trained speech pathologists diagnose your condition and help you learn to use your voice more comfortably in order to speak or sing without strain.

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About Muscle Tension Dysphonia

If your voice is tired, your throat feels tight, or it hurts to talk, you may have muscle tension dysphonia, or voice strain caused muscle tightness. This common voice problem can occur even if your vocal cords are normal but the muscles in your throat are working inefficiently. You may not be using your breath to effectively energize your voice, or your throat muscles may be too tight when you speak. Muscle tension dysphonia can make your voice sound strained or hoarse and can make it uncomfortable to talk. It is common to experience muscle tension dysphonia along with another voice problem.

Muscle tension dysphonia can happen when you’ve been sick and developed a vocal cord injury, such as laryngitis or swelling of the vocal cords. Because of that injury, you may start relying on other muscles in your throat to speak. Even when your vocal cords have healed after the illness is over, you can get stuck in a pattern of relying on these muscles.

Other factors that may contribute to muscle tension dysphonia include excessive talking without breaks, screaming, talking loudly in noisy environments, or habitually speaking at a pitch that is too high or too low for you.

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Tests and Treatments for Muscle Tension Dysphonia

Comprehensive Voice Evaluation

We will examine your head, neck, and larynx (voice box) as part of a comprehensive voice evaluation. We also assess your voice use patterns — how much and how loudly you speak or sing — and what your voice sounds like. Your laryngologist will evaluate the role of any medical conditions that can cause voice changes, such as surgeries or recent illnesses.

Videolaryngostroboscopy

This detailed visual exam helps us evaluate how your vocal cords vibrate while you speak or sing. A tiny camera attached to a small tube called an endoscope is inserted through your nose and allows us to see your vocal cords and larynx (voice box). A flashing strobe light simulates slow motion video images of your vocal cords. The exam takes about a minute. Your nose may be sprayed with topical anesthetic for your comfort.

The exam allows your team to look for lesions, stiffness, paralysis, irregular movements, muscle strain, or incomplete closure of the vocal cords. After the exam, your team will review the images with you to determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Videolaryngostroboscopy is the best test for reaching an accurate diagnosis and determining the best treatment for your voice.

Voice Therapy

Voice therapy helps you learn to relax your throat muscles, use your breath to power your voice efficiently, and use good oral resonance (how air flows through your mouth and nose when you speak). You’ll work with a speech pathologist who will guide you through vocal exercises to improve breathing, reduce throat strain, and find your optimal pitch and volume for strong, healthy speaking. The goal is to teach you to speak with minimal vocal effort.

Laryngeal Massage and Myofascial Release

If appropriate, you may receive targeted manual therapy performed by a speech pathologist. This may involve gentle stretching or massage in areas of the head, neck, and torso where muscle tension is present. People often experience dramatic relief of throat strain and discomfort after these treatments. You may also learn stretches and self-massage techniques for daily use to reduce strain and support relaxed, healthy voice use.

Why Choose Duke

Expert Diagnosis
Often with muscle tension dysphonia, the vocal cords may appear normal, and only detailed examination using videolaryngostroboscopy can identify minor muscle inefficiencies. This test is typically only available at ENT clinics like the Duke Voice Care Center that specialize in voice disorders.

Skilled Voice Therapists
We are one of the few centers in the Southeast providing expert voice therapy, the treatment of choice for muscle tension dysphonia. Our team of speech pathologists has advanced training in voice problems and years of experience in providing relief for this condition.

Specialty Care for Singers and Professional Voice Performers
If you are one of the many singers affected by muscle tension dysphonia, you’ll benefit from the expertise of our clinical singing voice specialists.

Coordinated Care
If you have other medical conditions that may contribute to your voice strain — such as allergies, asthma, or acid reflux — we will work with your other providers throughout Duke Health to ensure you receive the best care from an integrated team.

Active Research to Advance Care
Our ongoing research into how voice problems affect how we feel about ourselves gives us insight into treating the whole range of voice disorders, including muscle tension dysphonia.

When you give a presentation your first goal should be to capture and hold the attention of your audience. Everyone must be able to hear and easily follow what you are saying. Fortunately you have one very valuable and versatile tool at your disposal to make this happen – and that’s your voice. In this post I will explain how to use your voice to best effect and have the impact you want on your audience.

First of all it’s important to recognise that giving a presentation is not the same as having a conversation with an individual or a small group at a meeting. When speaking in public you need to put a lot more effort into how you use your voice.

How to project your normal speaking voice

How to improve your speaking voice – the 4 essentials

No doubt you’ve sat through a presentation where it was difficult to hear the speaker or they spoke in a monotonous voice. Perhaps you persevered and tried hard to concentrate on the message. The truth is that the majority of audience members will drift off, give in to boredom and find alternative activities such as doodling on their notepads or fiddling with their smartphones. To keep your audience engaged you must use your voice well.

  1. Volume

Be aware of the volume of your voice. Generally that means speaking out and projecting your voice more than you would in a normal conversation. It depends of course on the size of the room and numbers in the audience. Don’t speak too loudly or it will sound as if you are lecturing your audience. Don’t speak too softly either or they will simply lose interest. Whilst the most important thing is to be heard at all times, you should also try to vary your volume e.g. raise your voice to draw attention to a point; lower it to lend a bit of intrigue to what you are saying.

  1. Clarity

As well as making yourself audible, it is of course essential that you speak clearly. That means articulating words properly and taking care not to mumble or to ‘swallow’ word endings. The best way to achieve clarity is to move your lips and open your mouth wide enough for the sound to escape!

  1. Tone and emphasis

The content of your presentation may be of high quality, but you’ve got to make it sound interesting too. This means using your voice to convey enthusiasm, conviction, empathy etc. The tone you adopt should be consistent with the content of your message e.g. avoid sounding too cheerful if you’re announcing some bad news to your workforce!

Bear in mind that it’s possible to change the meaning of a sentence depending on the particular words you emphasise. So it’s important to decide on what words you should emphasise, perhaps by highlighting them in your notes and by practising out loud.

Avoid dropping your voice at the end of sentences as you are likely to send your audience to sleep – a technique used by hypnotists! Instead, try to put a little bit more emphasis into the final word of a sentence, without exaggerating too much.

  1. Pace and Pauses

There’s a tendency for people to speak too fast when they are presenting. This may come about because of nerves and an eagerness to get the presentation over and done with. As a general rule, when presenting you should speak more slowly than in ordinary conversation. Aim for about 150 words per minute to allow your audience enough time to take in what you are saying.

No doubt you will have noticed how comedians use a deliberate pause before delivering a punch line. This is a technique you can use also in formal presentations for deliberate effect and to allow your audience time to absorb a key point.

Voice and relaxation exercises

Your voice is capable of making a wide range of sounds, although typically we use only a limited amount of our voice capacity when presenting. Some of the inhibition comes from feeling nervous about speaking in public. If you have to deliver many high level presentations, then you may like to consider using the services of a voice coach.

Here are some simple exercises you can try by yourself to help warm up your voice before delivering a presentation.

  • Get your vocal chords working by humming a tune.
  • Pretend you are chewing a sticky toffee.
  • Practise breathing deeply to fuel your voice.
  • Think of some tongue-twisters and say them out loud, taking care to articulate every word.

Improving your vocal quality will enhance your presentations and make you come across as more confident and credible. Your body language and the visual impression you make matters a great deal too.

Click here to read one of my previous posts on How to make a great first impression.

Please contact me if you would like to find out about training courses or coaching on Presentation Skills.
Click her e to view a sample Presentation Skills training programme.

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How to project your normal speaking voice

If you love someone, you should show them through your words and actions. I always write about how actions speak louder than words, and why there needs to be a healthy balance between the two. But when it comes to how you talk, the tone of your voice plays a big role in how someone will respond to you. You can say something direct and completely honest while remaining kind and controlling the tone of your voice. Many people are unaware of how much the energy that we give off to others matters, and just how much of an effect we could have on someone by our approach in the way that we speak. We can just as easily be sweet, as we can be cruel.

There are some people who have an immense amount of control over the tone of their voice when it comes to saying things in a sweet and soft-spoken way. But many times, those very same people who are so soft-spoken and talk in such a sweet and kind tone, are also the types of people who end up saying some of the cruelest and heartless statements. And those types of people might think that because they’re speaking in such a kind and sweet tone, that what they’re saying doesn’t provoke someone to the same harsh extent and cause just as much or even more damage and pain to someone than it would if they were screaming at them.

There should be a good balance between what you say and how you say it. The tone of your voice is important, just as much as what you’re actually saying. They say that you can get more with honey than with vinegar, which basically means that when you’re sweet, loving, and kind, you’re bound to get further or more likely to get what you want. And sometimes getting what you want, is merely being understood in a conversation.

No one wants to listen to someone who they feel is bullying them or forcing them to listen. And just as well, no one wants to feel that they can’t get a word in, as if you’re doing all of the talking. Part of having good communication is speaking in a kind and loving tone, choosing your words wisely, and listening to the other person when it’s their turn to speak.

Many times, it’s simply hard to get our points across to others when we speak, because either what we say is too harsh or direct, or perhaps because the tone of our voice can be so dominant, demeaning, and where many times, people might come across as bullies or just simply nasty. And the problem when someone speaks in such a harsh tone is that most people won’t want to listen to what someone has to say, because of their approach. But then again, when someone speaks in a soft and sweet tone but says nasty things, they end up with the same outcome.

Remember, there should be a balance when it comes to what you say and how you say things. When you want someone to listen to you, so that not only you feel heard, but so that perhaps they’ll do what you want or at least understand the point that you’re trying to get across, it’s important to have enough self-control and watch the tone of your voice, how loud you speak, the energy you’re giving off when you speak, and what you actually say.

How to project your normal speaking voiceProblems with speaking are not an age-related change in the elderly but rather linked to some underlying disorder. Although there are changes in the voice with advancing age, this does not reach a point where a person cannot speak. Several conditions that are more likely to occur in elderly people can lead to problems with speech or the voice. These different types of problems needs to be carefully investigated in order to identify the area that is affected thereby leading to a disruption with speech or the voice.

Normal Voice and Speech

The ability to speak requires three different processes :

  1. Sound is produced in the voice box – phonation.
  2. Formation of words in the mouth – articulation.
  3. The brain controls the above two functions and processes specific thoughts into sequences that allows for phonation and articulation.

Air that is exhaled is altered by the action of the vocal cords in the voice box to produce sound (phonation). The movement of the mouth, tongue and throat facilitates the formation of words (articulation). All of these movements, both of the vocal cords and muscles responsible for articulation are controlled by the brain via impulses relayed through nerves. Phonation and articulation, jointly known as vocalization, is the last process after the brain decides which words will be spoken (conceptualization) and then recalls the movements to form these words (formulation).

Types of Speech Problems

There are various different medical terms to describe a host of disorders that may affect the voice and speech. These conditions also have a number of different causes, most of which revolve around neurological disorders in the elderly such as a stroke and Parkinson’s disease.

  • Dysphonia is the difficulty producing sounds (phonation) stemming from a problem with the voice box or the muscles and nerves that control the vocal cords. The voice may be hoarses or very soft like a whisper. Sometimes there is a total loss of the voice (muteness).
  • Dysarthria is the difficulty with forming the words due to a problem with the muscles of the mouth and tongue or the nerves that control it. The speech is typically slurred and may still be decipharable in less severe cases.
  • Apraxia of speech is the difficulty or inability to carry out the muscle movements to form words due to damage to parts of the brain. Apraxia itself is a broad term used to describe any problem with voluntary movements of muscles, not only in the mouth or involving speech.
  • Aphasia is a language rather than a speech disorder. Here a person has difficulty forming sentences or selecting the right words due to brain lesions. There are several different subtypes of aphasia.

There are other types of speech problems which may occur in the elderly but these other conditions are either present from birth or earlier in life, or not often seen in the elderly. Identifying these types of speech and voice problems mentioned above and seeking medical attention can reveal diseases and disorders that have not as yet been diagnosed. Despite the host of changes in the body with advancing age, the speech and voice problems mentioned above are not present unless there is an underlying medical condition.

On this page:

The functions, skills, and abilities of voice, speech, and language are related. Some dictionaries and textbooks use the terms almost interchangeably. But for scientists and medical professionals, it is important to distinguish among them.

Voice

Voice (or vocalization) is the sound produced by humans and other vertebrates using the lungs and the vocal folds in the larynx, or voice box. Voice is not always produced as speech, however. Infants babble and coo; animals bark, moo, whinny, growl, and meow; and adult humans laugh, sing, and cry. Voice is generated by airflow from the lungs as the vocal folds are brought close together. When air is pushed past the vocal folds with sufficient pressure, the vocal folds vibrate. If the vocal folds in the larynx did not vibrate normally, speech could only be produced as a whisper. Your voice is as unique as your fingerprint. It helps define your personality, mood, and health.

Approximately 17.9 million adults in the United States have trouble using their voices. Disorders of the voice involve problems with pitch, loudness, and quality. Pitch is the highness or lowness of a sound based on the frequency of the sound waves. Loudness is the perceived volume (or amplitude) of the sound, while quality refers to the character or distinctive attributes of a sound. Many people who have normal speaking skills have great difficulty communicating when their vocal apparatus fails. This can occur if the nerves controlling the larynx are impaired because of an accident, a surgical procedure, a viral infection, or cancer.

Speech

Humans express thoughts, feelings, and ideas orally to one another through a series of complex movements that alter and mold the basic tone created by voice into specific, decodable sounds. Speech is produced by precisely coordinated muscle actions in the head, neck, chest, and abdomen. Speech development is a gradual process that requires years of practice. During this process, a child learns how to regulate these muscles to produce understandable speech.

However, by the first grade, roughly 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders; the majority of these speech disorders have no known cause. One category of speech disorder is fluency disorder, or stuttering, which is characterized by a disruption in the flow of speech. It includes repetitions of speech sounds, hesitations before and during speaking, and the prolonged emphasis of speech sounds. More than 15 million individuals in the world stutter, most of whom began stuttering at a very early age. The majority of speech sound disorders in the preschool years occur in children who are developing normally in all other areas. Speech disorders also may occur in children who have developmental disabilities.

Language

Language is the expression of human communication through which knowledge, belief, and behavior can be experienced, explained, and shared. This sharing is based on systematic, conventionally used signs, sounds, gestures, or marks that convey understood meanings within a group or community. Recent research identifies “windows of opportunity” for acquiring language—written, spoken, or signed—that exist within the first few years of life.

Between 6 and 8 million individuals in the United States have some form of language impairment. Disorders of language affect children and adults differently. For children who do not use language normally from birth, or who acquire an impairment during childhood, language may not be fully developed or acquired. Many children who are deaf in the United States use a natural sign language known as American Sign Language (ASL). ASL shares an underlying organization with spoken language and has its own syntax and grammar. Many adults acquire disorders of language because of stroke, head injury, dementia, or brain tumors. Language disorders also are found in adults who have failed to develop normal language skills because of mental retardation, autism, hearing impairment, or other congenital or acquired disorders of brain development.

Where can I get more information?

NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that can answer questions and provide printed or electronic information on voice, speech, and language. Please see the list of organizations at www.nidcd.nih.gov/directory.

Use the following subject areas to help you search for organizations that are relevant to these topics:

Distance and perception of voice.

  • a normal voice approximates to a sound pressure level of 70 dB
  • a raised voice approximates to a sound pressure level of 76 dB
  • a very loud voice approximates to a sound pressure level of 82 dB
  • a shouting voice approximates to a sound pressure level of 88 dB

at a distance of 1 ft (0.3 m).

For every doubling of the distance from the noise source the sound pressure level decrease with 6 decibels:

Distance Voice Level (dB PSIL)
(ft) (m) Normal Raised Very Loud Shouting
1 0.3 70 76 82 88
3 0.9 60 66 72 78
6 1.8 54 60 66 72
12 3.7 48 54 60 66
24 7.3 42 48 54 60

PSIL – Preferred Speech Interference Level – is the arithmetic mean level in the 500 Hz, 1 kHz and 2 kHz octave bands. PSIL simulates the fact that sounds in the speech frequency range by humans are rendered indistinguishable from non-speech sources by excessive noise levels.

PSIL can be calculated as

PSIL = Preferred Speech Interference Level (dB)

Lpx = sound pressure at frequency x (dB)

dB calculated with reference pressure 2 10 -5 Pa

If sound pressure is known in dBAPSIL can be calculated as

In social settings people often talk with normal voice levels at distances ranging 1 to 4 metre. In such cases background noise levels should not exceed 55 to 60 dBA.

In outdoor play and recreational areas people often communicate with raised or very loud voices at distances 5 to 10 metre and the background noise should not exceed 45 to 55 dBA.

How to project your normal speaking voice

Related Topics

  • Acoustics – Room acoustics and acoustic properties, decibel A, B and C, Noise Rating (NR) curves, sound transmission, sound pressure, sound intensity and sound attenuation.

Related Documents

  • Phonetic Alphabet – The phonetic alphabet used in international aircraft communications.
  • Propagation of Sound Outdoors – Attenuation vs. Distance – The propagation of outdoors sound vs. distance and attenuation.
  • Sound – Abatement vs. the Distance from Source – The disruption of the sound pressure wave and the reduction of noise is called attenuation – Sound Pressure Level vs. distance calculator.
  • Sound – Hearing Threshold vs. Age – Shift in hearing threshold for men and women vs. age.
  • Sound Propagation – the Inverse Square Law – Doubling of the distance from a noise source reduces the sound pressure level with 6 decibel.

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The writing style is determined by the words and phrases you use and how you construct your sentences. For instance, your friends will always enjoy a lively story in a casual language; however, your teacher or boss may not like it. On the other hand, if you use formal language and complex phrases and speak exclusively in the third person, you may establish a more formal and professional presence. You should therefore consider how you construct your sentences and the words you use to express the tone of your voice.

Bring a Professional Edge to Your Writing With Active to Passive Voice Converter Tool

The precise active to passive voice changer is a language tool that gives your writing a professional style by active to passive voice change. You can use this tool to make your text look professional and formal by easily and quickly editing it. Our active and passive voice converter is specifically designed to make you sound more formal and professional in your speech and writing. This converter active to passive voice generator does the job in the right way to help you write more professionally. It’s a reliable active voice sentence generator to use when creating a writing piece is vital.

There is no quick fix to the misuse of voice. The online passive voice to active voice converter does more than correct the voice; passive to active voice converter also checks how entire sentences render coherent and grammatically correct text.

Why You Should Use an Active to Passive Voice Changer

Here are some good reasons to use active voice to passive voice changer:

  1. Active to passive voice converter can create passive voices with 100% accuracy. Indirect language is difficult to construct correctly. With this tool, you’ll learn how to switch between active and passive voice and stop misusing passive language.
  2. You’ll make a professional impression by using passive voice. Besides telling you if you’re correctly using passive voice, the active to passive voice converter app also shows you how to change from active to passive in style.
  3. One app can handle all your text editing needs. This means that you will not have to look for additional tools to check grammar, spelling, plagiarism, and so on. We have included all of them in this active to passive voice generator. Think of how much time you can save if all your needs are at your fingertips.

Everything You Need to Create a Superb Paper

This active voice to passive voice converter comes in a package with many additional features. Besides passive voice to active voice conversion, it can improve the overall quality of your writing. It offers checks for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and plagiarism as well. Its capabilities are many, but one feature makes it so valuable. With its word choice check feature, you can choose the most appropriate words to express yourself.

It’s very easy to use. When you enter your text into the online active voice to passive voice converter, it will analyze it and make the changes for you. You will also see grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors corrected after making the recommended change. To use the free active to passive voice converter, click here and find out for yourself!

Active to Passive Voice Converter Tool Is Suitable for Everyone

The professional active voice to passive voice converter tool is suitable for students, researchers, business writers, etc. With this tool, you will no longer need to create several versions of a text, as it can change from one tone to another instantly. Writing business letters with this tool is easy and effective. Among the features you get are a word choice checker and all the other tools you need. Take a moment to test our active voice to passive voice converter free.

Use active to passive voice changer online and your boss or teacher will be impressed! Fed up with negative comments on your essays? Have trouble capturing the business style your boss likes to see in the reports? Don’t stress, it’s not your fault. Speaking in third-person or passive voice is the way to go. But it’s not easy to get it right all the time, is it? With the help of this advanced active voice generator, you will do it effortlessly and professionally.

How to project your normal speaking voiceIf you give a great speech, but nobody can hear you, does it really count?

Before your message can transform your audience, the sound of your voice must be heard by your audience. It sounds really simple, but I’m shocked by how often I have to strain to hear a presenter.

In this article, we examine strategies for being heard and varying speech volume to improve your effectiveness.

Goal 1: Be Heard

Your first goal is to be comfortably heard by everyone in the audience. If they cannot hear your voice, then you cannot deliver a message to them.

Here are several strategies and discrete actions you can take to help your audience hear you better:

Strategy 1 – Minimize noise distractions

Any noise that isn’t your voice will be a distraction to your audience. Loud noises will obviously create challenges, but even soft noises can be an irritation for your audience.

  • Close doors or windows to shut out noisy vacuums, lawn mowers, traffic, or any other external noise. Use common sense, though. If the closed room gets uncomfortable, you may need to deal with the external noise.
  • Don’t be the distracting noise. Avoid nervously clicking a pen. Don’t wear noisy jewellery. Avoid wearing clothing which makes noise as you move.
  • If necessary, deal with chatterers. It can be uncomfortable to police this behavior, but you owe it to those who want to listen.
  • Don’t talk over laughter or applause. It’s a very common mistake to begin speaking while the opening applause is still happening. The result? Your audience may not hear the first words out of your mouth — terrible! Be patient, and wait your turn.

Strategy 2 – Minimize the distance to the audience

The physics of sound is simple. If you decrease the distance between you and your audience, you will be louder for them. (Actually, your volume varies as the inverse square of the distance, but let’s avoid mathematics in this article.)

So, get closer! It can make a big difference.

  • Move your audience closer to you. When teaching corporate seminars, I’ll often move all of the chairs and tables 10 feet closer to the front of the room. It only takes me a minute or two, and it helps me avoid straining my voice for an entire afternoon. (It also gets my audience closer to the projection screen — another benefit!)
  • Move yourself closer to your audience. Maybe your audience can’t move closer (e.g. fixed theatre seating). In this case, try moving closer to them.
  • Block the seats in the back. If you know that your audience is smaller than the number of seats available, block the seats in the back. This gets everyone sitting closer.
  • Move to a smaller room. Usually, you are stuck with the venue you are given. But if you have a choice, try to match the room to the size of your audience. Speaking to 30 people in an auditorium creates volume challenges unnecessarily (and makes it less intimate, too). Speaking to 30 people in a seminar room is a better acoustic fit.

“ Before your message can transform your audience, the sound of your voice must be heard by your audience. ”

Strategy 3 – Raise your volume to reach the person in the back row

  • Project your voice. It’s not only about speaking louder, but also speaking with more resonance. It takes practice.
  • Use a microphone. If a microphone is available at the venue, you should probably use it. Practice if you are not accustomed to speaking with a microphone.
  • Articulate clearly. It’s remarkable how just focusing on articulation brings your volume up considerably.
  • Practice good posture. Stand tall and lean slightly forward. Your voice will carry farther.

Strategy 4 – Adapt as necessary

  • Ask the audience. Sure, it’s boring, but if you are in doubt, ask the audience if they can hear you. Look for positive feedback from people in the back. It shows you care.
  • Look for non-verbal feedback from audience. Are they straining forward to hear you? Are they cupping their hand over their ear? You need to speak louder.
  • Microphone stops working? Act quickly. Get the audience to move in closer, or raise your own volume.
  • Speech Pauses
  • Filler Words (um, ah)
  • Speaking Rate
  • Vocal Volume
  • Vocal Projection
  • Vocal Strength Exercises
  • Breathing

Goal 2: Be Effective

Okay, your audience can comfortably hear you. Great. But that’s not enough. To maximize your effectiveness, you must vary your volume strategically throughout.

  • Vary your volume. Speaking for any length of time at the same volume (whether loud or soft) puts people to sleep. Just as gestures and body movement create visual interest, varying your volume creates vocal interest.
  • Emphasize target words or phrases by speaking louder or softer (as appropriate).
  • Mirror emotional content with volume changes. For example, when sharing a sad story, your volume should naturally drop. Conversely, when sharing a story which has action or surprise, your volume should increase, building to a climax.
  • Finish sentences strong. Tailing off at the end of sentences is a common mistake made by speakers, often caused by looking back down at notes. The result? Your audience may miss the last word or two at the end of sentences, thus weakening your impact.
  • Start loud. It’s not a strict rule, but generally a good idea to open a notch louder than average. It grabs attention and demonstrates enthusiasm.
  • Finish loud. Also not a rule, but speaking louder helps create a rousing, confident finish. This is especially true in a persuasive or motivational speech.

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How to project your normal speaking voice

Text-to-Speech (TTS) Synthesis refers to the artificial transformation of text to audio. A human performs this task simply by reading. The goal of a good TTS system is to have a computer do it automatically.

One very interesting choice that one makes when creating such a system is the selection of which voice to use for the generated audio. Should it be a man or a woman? A loud voice or a soft one?

This used to present a restriction when doing TTS with Deep Learning. You’d have to collect a dataset of text-speech pairs. The set of speakers who recorded that speech is fixed — you can’t have unlimited speakers!

So if you wanted create audio of your voice, or someone else’s, the only way to do it would have been to collect a whole new dataset.

AI research from Google nicknamed Voice Cloning makes it possible for a computer to read out-loud using any voice.

It’s clear that in order for a computer to be able to read out-loud with any voice, it needs to somehow understand 2 things: what it’s reading and how it reads it.

Thus, Google researchers designed the voice cloning system to have 2 inputs: the text we want to be read and a sample of the voice which we want to read the text.

For example, if we wanted Batman to read the phrase “I love pizza”, then we’d give the system two things: text that says “I love pizza” and a short sample of Batman’s voice so it knows what Batman should sound like. The output should then be an audio of Batman’s voice saying the words “I love pizza”!

From a technical view, the system is then broken down into 3 sequential components:

(1) Given a small audio sample of the voice we wish to use, encode the voice waveform into a fixed dimensional vector representation

(2) Given a piece of text, also encode it into a vector representation. Combine the two vectors of speech and text, and decode them into a Spectrogram

(3) Use a Vocoder to transform the spectrogram into an audio waveform that we can listen to.

How to project your normal speaking voice

In the paper, the three components are trained independently.

Text-to-speech systems have gotten a lot of research attention in the Deep Learning community over the past few years. And indeed, there are many proposed solutions for Text-to-Speech that work quite well, being based on Deep Learning.

The big key here is that the system is able to take the “knowledge” that the speaker encoder learns from the voice and apply it to the text.

After being separately encoded, the speech and the text are combined in a common embedding space, and then decoded together to create the final output waveform.

Thanks to the beauty of the open source mindset in the AI community, there is a publicly available implementation of this voice cloning right here! Here’s how you can use it.

First clone the repository.

Install the required libraries. Be sure to use Python 3:

In the README file you’ll also find links to download pre-trained models and datasets to try out some of the samples.

Finally, you can open the GUI by running the following command:

There’s a picture of how mine looks like down below.

How to project your normal speaking voice

As you can see, I’ve set the text I want the computer to read on the right side as: “Did you know that the Toronto Raptors are Basketball champions? Basketball is a great sport.”

You can click on the “Random” buttons under each section to randomise the voice input, then click “Load” in load the voice input into the system.

Dataset selects the dataset from which you will select voice samples, Speaker selects the person who is talking, and Utterance selects the phrase which is spoken by the input voice. To hear how the input voice sounds, simply click “Play”.

Once you press the button “Synthesize and vocode” the algorithm will run. Once it’s finished you’ll here the input Speaker reading your text out-loud.

You can even record your own voice as an input but clicking on the “Record one” button, which is quite fun to play around with!

If you’d like to learn more about how the algorithm works, you can read Google’s official NIPS paper. There are some further audio sample results over here. I’d highly cloning the repository and giving this awesome system a try!

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How to project your normal speaking voice

Tone of voice is how the character of your business comes through in your words, both written and spoken. It’s not about what you say, but rather the way you say it, and the impression it makes on everyone in your audience who reads or hears you.

Think about it. Everyone you meet has their own way of expressing themselves that’s as unique as their face or fingerprint. Some are pleasant and polite. Others are pushy and in your face. Some say so much with just a few words. Others never seem to get to the point. Companies are no different.

Take a look at the examples below.

Text Tone of Voice Possible Impression
With its industry-leading, massively scalable technology, our web services platform delivers exceptional performance and reliability under the most demanding and highly variable conditions. Technical, verbose, inwardly focused High-pressure marketing and empty boasts. Beware!
Our web services platform delivers 99.99% uptime and adapts to changing loads in less than a second. Factual, concise Clear and factual, but what are the company’s people like?
Web services that you can start and forget. Informal, non-technical You’ve got my interest, but where’s the proof?

All three descriptions mean roughly the same thing, but they’re expressed in completely different ways. That affects the impression you get, and how you feel about the person who’s speaking. Why? Because when you read a company’s content, you understand it on two levels. The facts tell the analytical side of your brain what the company does, while the tone tells the creative side what they’d be like to deal with.

Despite its name, tone of voice isn’t just about how you speak. It includes all the words you use in your business content, including on your website, in sales emails, product brochures, call-center scripts, and client presentations, to name just a few examples. Oh, and by the way, tone of voice isn’t the same as good writing or strong messaging. It’s the next level up from those things. It’s about using language to give your communications their own distinct and recognizable brand voice.

All the content you produce should have the same tone of voice. When your tone is consistent, your audience hears the same person speaking whenever and however they deal with you. That shows them you’re a consistent, reliable company to deal with, and that every part of their personal brand experience with you will be equally good.

More and more B2B companies are getting into tone of voice as a way to engage their customers through language. For example, leading tone of voice consultancy The Writer has worked with multinationals including Cisco, Unilever, and O2; here at Acrolinx we’ve served clients including Philips, Yamaha, Google, and Microsoft.

>>> Download Now: The Ultimate Guide to Developing Your Company’s Tone of Voice [Free eBook with Planning Worksheets] Forrester Research , business buyers don’t contact suppliers directly until they are up to 90 percent of the way through the purchase process. With fewer opportunities to talk face to face, your written words have to work harder than ever.

Prospects know you pretty well from your website and marketing material before they ever pick up the phone. Your tone helps to build trust with them from the start, laying the foundation for a strong working relationship. We’ve evolved to be highly attuned to subtle signals such as emotion, body language, gesture, voice, and so on. In writing, all those signals are carried by tone of voice, so that’s the only way to show your identity, your personality, and your intention.

4. It Builds Authority

Think of the killer TED talks or conference presentations you’ve seen. Did the speakers stand perfectly still, reciting dull but convincing facts in a relentless monotone voice? Or were they lively, funny, and memorable, filling the stage with their passion? Tone of voice can be a huge carrier of authority and belief. Personality shows you have confidence in what you’re saying, and that it therefore has real value.

5. It Gives You Focus

Working on tone of voice can be an excellent discipline for thinking about your company’s identity. You have to boil everything down to something clear and simple that anyone can understand. That helps to cut through clutter and confusion.

Your tone can even help you set strategic direction. Markets are getting more crowded and competitive, so companies have to decide on their brand personality. Instead of being all things to all people, they’re embracing niche appeal so they can hone in on the most relevant audience.

6. It Makes You Different

In B2B, tone of voice is a story that’s just beginning. Most companies haven’t woken up to the idea at all. A few have taken great strides. But almost none have successfully transformed the way they use language — and that opens up a huge opportunity.

“Very few B2B brands have been doing this for long enough that we can say they’ve definitely nailed it for their whole brand,” says Neil Taylor, managing partner at the Writer. “But what that means is that the first people who do nail it, in any sector, will clean up.”

Need Help Creating Your Company’s Tone of Voice?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what tone of voice is and why it’s important, it’s time to help your company develop its tone of voice. We’ve got a great eBook that will give you step-by-step guidance and instructions. You can download it for free here.

This is the complete guide to using the Voicemod voice changer app for Windows games and chat programs. Read here how to set up Voicemod in detail

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How to project your normal speaking voice

HOW TO SET UP VOICEMOD STEP-BY-STEP

How to project your normal speaking voice

  1. Download Voicemod and install.
  2. Close all communications programs.
  3. Open Voicemod.
  4. If this is your first time running Voicemod, follow the setup instructions. If not, open Settings.
  5. Select your microphone as the input device.
  6. Select your headphones as the output device.
  7. Click Ok.

VOICEMOD FEATURE TOGGLES

At the bottom of the Voicemod window are a variety of helpful switches. Switch them all on to confirm your setup has completed successfully.

Hear Myself: Listen to your transformed voice in real-time through your headphones.
Voice Changer: Activate or deactivate voice changers you’ve selected.
Ambient Effects: Activate or deactivate background sound effects if they’re included in your current voice changer.

How to project your normal speaking voice

HOW TO SET UP VOICEMOD IN YOUR GAME

  1. Open the game or app.
  2. Go to the game’s audio settings.
  3. Set Voicemod Virtual Audio Device as your input.
  4. Set your headphones as your output.

VOICEMOD VOICEBOX

The Voicemod Voicebox is where you’ll find all of your voice changers. Just click an icon to activate it, and make sure the toggles at the bottom are set. Once a voice changer is selected, a bar is available on the right with additional customization options. Select different skins for the voice to change things up slightly, or control the sliders directly to alter effects. Clicking below each button will let you assign a keybind to it for quick access. Along the top of the Voicebox is a search bar, and menus for sorting and filtering.

How to project your normal speaking voice

VOICEMOD SOUNDBOARD

The Voicemod soundboard is home to all of your sound effects. Clicking any given button will start playing the sound effect. Voicemod PRO users get access to premade soundboard profiles. Use the drop-down menu at the top to jump between different profiles with different collections of sounds. Select Create new profile and click the plus button to start adding your own MP3 or WAV files. Like the Voicebox, sounds can be bound to different keys, and additional options show on the right.

How to project your normal speaking voice

VOICEMOD VOICELAB

Voicemod PRO users get access to the Voicelab. This is where you get full control over making your own custom voice changers. Every layer of editing has its own set of sliders to adjust, and the complete voice has its own set on the right-hand pane. Experiment and create something unique! Once complete, it can be saved to your Voicebox and shared with your friends or the Voicemod community on Discord.

VOICEMOD SETTINGS

The Voicemod Settings tab lets you select and adjust both microphone and speaker settings. Advanced options are available to toggle features such as popping elimination and a mic exclusive mode, which can help with audio cutting out and improve response time.

VOICEMOD ACCOUNT

The Voicemod Account tab is where you can review your log-in details and account connections to Discord, Twitch, Google, and Apple.

VOICEMOD TROUBLESHOOTING

  • An FAQ page
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  • Do you hear anything at all?
  • What version of Voicemod are you using?
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We have prepared some video tutorials with the most common programs to help you setting up your audio configuration.

Discover the ReadSpeaker TTS voice portfolio, recognized as one of the most accurate and lifelike on the market, or ask us about custom voices.

Listen to a Custom Text Read Out by Any of Our TTS Voices

This demo tool lets you enter your own text and sample some of the languages and voices that we offer.
Please note: Not all languages and voices are available for every solution. Also, more voices are available for certain solutions. See our Languages & Voices page for a complete list of available languages for each solution.

ReadSpeaker text-to-speech voices are humanlike, relatable voices. There are 110+ voices available in 35+ languages, with more on their way. Meet the ReadSpeaker TTS family of high-quality voice personas and put them to the test.

Industry-Leading TTS Voices

At ReadSpeaker, we have a passion for developing high-quality TTS voices. In fact, expert third party industry observers rate the US English ReadSpeaker TTS voice as being the most accurate on the market. The enthusiastic feedback we receive from our customers confirms that we deliver the very best TTS solutions for successful online, offline, embedded, and server-based applications around the world. Our commitment to providing outstanding TTS solutions is made possible by our uncompromising production process, designed to guarantee the quality levels that have earned ReadSpeaker TTS the trust of customers from across countries and markets.

How Our TTS Voices Are Made

To create our speech personas, we select and record professional voice talents. Once a voice talent has been selected, she or he works with our voice development team for several days or weeks, depending on the type of voice, or the voice technology, we want to use. A diverse script is used for the recordings, designed to contain all the sound patterns of the language in development. The team closely monitors the recording process to check for consistency in pronunciation, accentuation, and style.

USS Voices

Until about 2019, all our high quality voices were made using a technology called Unit Selection Synthesis (USS). These voices are still used in most of our SaaS solutions, such as webReader and docReader. To create a USS voice, the audio resulting from recording the voice talent is segmented into smaller units, such as sentences, words, syllables, phonemes (speech sounds such as individual vowel and consonant sounds).
A rich mark-up is added to this database of speech units, which is to say information is added to the units about the stress (did the unit come from a stressed or from an unstressed syllable?), the position in the word or sentence, etc.
The technical team works its magic on this process – using a powerful combination of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technologies on big amounts of data to optimize annotations. Our state-of-the-art methodologies are augmented by the linguistic expertise of our team. The resulting database is used by the ReadSpeaker TTS engine to convert text into speech spoken by the TTS voice: segments (units) of speech are selected and ‘glued’ together in such a way that high-quality synthetic speech is produced.
This is how a new ReadSpeaker TTS voice persona is born. However, the process doesn’t end there. One of ReadSpeaker’s unique characteristics is our ongoing improvement process. Through a system of high-quality feedback and a thorough Quality Assurance process by mother-tongue experts, imperfections are continuously corrected.

Neural Voices

In parallel, ReadSpeaker creates so-called neural voices, using techniques based on deep learning AI technology. This revolutionary method involves mapping linguistic properties to acoustic features using Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). An iterative learning process minimises objectively measurable differences between the predicted acoustic features and the observed acoustic features in the training set. One of the advantages of the new DNN TTS method is that the acoustic database can be much smaller than for a USS voice. Only a few hours of recorded speech are needed for a neural voice, compared to at least three times as many for a good quality USS voice. Also, the resulting speech is generally smoother and even more human-like. This makes developing new, smart ReadSpeaker TTS voices with even more lifelike, expressive speech and customizable intonation faster than ever.

Custom TTS Voices

If your strategy is to offer an exclusive customer experience and you want to take your brand appeal to a new level, one of the most powerful ways to differentiate yourself is by using a custom voice to represent you. A custom voice sets your brand apart and creates a powerful bond with your customers across your various communication touchpoints. If a preferred celebrity or other talent reflects your brand best and you want to be able to use their voice anytime you need it, ReadSpeaker can create a custom TTS voice powered by our leading-edge speech engine, to give your brand instant recognition in the voice user interface.

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Make your products more engaging with our voice solutions.

Making a public presentation in your community can be nerve racking. Learn the Public Speaker’s 6 tips for calming your nerves before speaking in front of an audience.

How to project your normal speaking voice

Linda needs to speak to the Board of Trustees – she feels strongly about about the road they want to build through her neighborhood and wants to voice her opinion, but something is stopping her. She’s got speaker’s anxiety!

Unfortunately, it’s very common. But when you care about an issue, you can’t let nervousness or anxiety stop you from getting involved.

If you’re on the PTA, you may be asked to talk about an upcoming fundraiser. At church, you may be asked to be part of the service or to teach a class. Although you may not consider yourself a public speaker, we all have times when we need to speak up and be heard in our communities. >

Today, I’ll cover 6 tips to calm your nerves before speaking in front of a group:

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Exercise to stay calm.
  3. Try pictures, visualization, and laughing just before you speak.
  4. Make a change to calm down during the speech.
  5. Embrace the energy.
  6. Be prepared.

Tip #1: Stay Hydrated

Years ago, I went to small claims court with a friend. As soon as he started talking, his tongue went dry and his lips turned white. It was so uncomfortable to watch him struggle through his few sentences to the judge! Later on I learned that dry mouth, also known as cotton mouth, is a very real sign of anxiety and the person experiencing it is suffering. The secret? Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before you speak. Keep your water bottle with you at all times. I find the more nervous I am, the more water I need.

Tip #2: Exercise to Stay Calm

If you know when you’ll be speaking publicly, plan a good workout earlier in the day. Even a quick stroll can really help. According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, exercise can alleviate anxiety by releasing endorphins that make you feel better. Exercise also increases the body temperature, which can have a calming effect. It distracts you from your worries and helps you feel more confident. Even the social interaction of smiling at someone as you walk by or greeting someone in the gym can help calm anxiety.

Tip #3: Try Pictures, Visualization, Laughing Just Before You Speak

Sometimes we don’t realize we’re nervous until just before it’s our turn to speak. You may feel calm and prepared until just before your name is called. If you’re out of view, you can try methods such as looking at a baby photo, smiling big, telling yourself a joke or taking big deep breaths. If you’re in plain sight, use your brain to calm yourself. Try visualization or discreet, deep breathing. Keep a smile on your face and try to look relaxed.

If you’re going to use these methods, plan ahead. Here’s how.

Generate natural sounding voice-overs

Create your own natural sounding voice-overs from your text with Text-to-Speech. For YouTube, Explainer, Podcasts, Gaming Videos and more.

Create professional voice-overs

Advanced video and audio (text-to-speech) editor

Manage your voice over videos or audio files in projects. Edit your videos in our modern voice over editor. Our video editor also allow time stretch. Customize speech with pitch and speech speed controls. Allow faster or slower speech. Add sound or accent to a selected word. You can even let the voice whisper or breathe.

Natural sounding voice

We convert text to natural sounding language. Using a powerful neural network, we produce first-class audio data. We support Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML).
Check out our SSML-Editor tutorial.

Easy to use in your browser

Select your video (without upload) and enter your text directly below the video and a voice will be automatically generated.

Automatic translation

Automatically convert your voice over or text-to-speech in multiple languages. The automatic translation makes this possible with just one click.

Convert Text to Speech to MP3

You can save all text-to-speech you have created to MP3, WAV, MP4 (Video). Also a batch processing with Text to Speech is possible, import e.g. your ebooks and convert them to speech.

Add Background Music

Add background music to your video or audio files using SSML tags.

Create ready to use YouTube Videos

Create voice-overs for your YouTube videos. Explainer Videos, tutorials, screencasts and more. And save your video directly as MP4.

Video and audio transcription

Transcribe your audio and translate it automatically. Dub and translate your video automatically with transcribe and text to speech.

Screen Recorder

You have the possibility to record a video (e.g. screencast) directly with your browser and create a voice over for it.

Create natural voices in many languages

VoiceOverMaker online Text-to-Speech can convert text to a naturally spoken language with more than 600+ voices in more than 30 languages and language variants. Use groundbreaking speech synthesis research (WaveNet) to produce first-class audio. The easy-to-use editor allows you to create and edit high-quality voice over video or create audio files in MP3 or WAV format.

Available Languages

Arabic (ar-EG), Arabic (ar-SA), Arabic (ar-XA), Catalan (ca-ES), Chinese (zh-CN), Chinese (zh-HK), Chinese (cmn-CN), Chinese (cmn-TW), Chinese (zh-TW), Czech (cs-CZ), Danish (da-DK), Dutch (nl-NL), English (en-AU), English (en-CA), English (en-GB), English (en-IN), English (en-US), Filipino (fil-PH), Finnish (fi-FI), French (fr-CA), French (fr-FR), German (de-DE), Greek (el-GR), Hindi (hi-IN), Hungarian (hu-HU), Indonesian (id-ID), Italian (it-IT), Japanese (ja-JP), Korean (ko-KR), Norwegian (nb-NO), Polish (pl-PL), Portuguese (pt-BR), Portuguese (pt-PT), Russian (ru-RU), Slovak (sk-SK), Spanish (es-ES), Spanish (es-MX), Spanish (es-US), Swedish (sv-SE), Thai (th-TH), Turkish (tr-TR), Ukrainian (uk-UA), Vietnamese (vi-VN)

Key Glossary Terms

Larynx
Highly specialized structure atop the windpipe responsible for sound production, air passage during breathing and protecting the airway during swallowing

Vocal Folds (also called Vocal Cords)
“Fold-like” soft tissue that is the main vibratory component of the voice box; comprised of a cover (epithelium and superficial lamina propria), vocal ligament (intermediate and deep laminae propria), and body (thyroarytenoid muscle)

Glottis (also called Rima Glottides)
Opening between the two vocal folds; the glottis opens during breathing and closes during swallowing and sound production

Voice as We Know It = Voiced Sound + Resonance + Articulation

The “spoken word” results from three components of voice production: voiced sound, resonance, and articulation.

Voiced sound: The basic sound produced by vocal fold vibration is called “voiced sound.” This is frequently described as a “buzzy” sound. Voiced sound for singing differs significantly from voiced sound for speech.

Resonance: Voiced sound is amplified and modified by the vocal tract resonators (the throat, mouth cavity, and nasal passages). The resonators produce a person’s recognizable voice.

Articulation: The vocal tract articulators (the tongue, soft palate, and lips) modify the voiced sound. The articulators produce recognizable words.

Voice Depends on Vocal Fold Vibration and Resonance

Sound is produced when aerodynamic phenomena cause vocal folds to vibrate rapidly in a sequence of vibratory cycles with a speed of about:

  • 110 cycles per second or Hz (men) = lower pitch
  • 180 to 220 cycles per second (women) = medium pitch
  • 300 cycles per second (children) = higher pitchhigher voice: increase in frequency of vocal fold vibrationlouder voice: increase in amplitude of vocal fold vibration

Vibratory Cycle = Open + Close Phase

The vocal fold vibratory cycle has phases that include an orderly sequence of opening and closing the top and bottom of the vocal folds, letting short puffs of air through at high speed. Air pressure is converted into sound waves.

Not Like a Guitar String

Vocal folds vibrate when excited by aerodynamic phenomena; they are not plucked like a guitar string. Air pressure from the lungs controls the open phase. The passing air column creates a trailing “Bernoulli effect,” which controls the close phase.

Voice production involves a three-step process.

  1. A column of air pressure is moved towards the vocal folds
  2. Air is moved out of the lungs and towards the vocal folds by coordinated action of the diaphragm, abdominal muscles, chest muscles, and rib cage
  3. Vocal fold vibration – sequence of vibratory cycles:
    • Vocal folds are moved to midline by voice box muscles, nerves, and cartilages
    • The vibratory cycle occurs repeatedly; one vibratory cycle is as follows:
      1. Column of air pressure opens bottom of vocal folds
      2. Column of air continues to move upwards, now towards the top of vocal folds, and opens the top
      3. The low pressure created behind the fast-moving air column produces a “Bernoulli effect” which causes the bottom to close, followed by the top
      4. Closure of the vocal folds cuts off the air column and releases a pulse of air
      5. New cycle repeats
    • The rapid pulses of air created by repeat vibratory cycles produce “voiced sound” which is really just a buzzy sound, which is then amplified and modified by the vocal tract resonators, producing voice “as we know it.” (See table below)
      • Loudness: Increase in air flow “blows” vocal folds wider apart, which stay apart longer during a vibratory cycle – thus increasing amplitude of the sound pressure wave
      • Pitch: Increase in frequency of vocal fold vibration raises pitch

– repeat 1-10 In the closed position (—) maintained by muscle, opens and closes in a cyclical, ordered and even manner (1 – 10) as a column of air pressure from the lungs below flows through. This very rapid ordered closing and opening produced by the column of air is referred to as the mucosal wave. The lower edge opens first (2-3) followed by the upper edge thus letting air flow through (4-6). The air column that flows through creates a “Bernouli effect” which causes the lower edge to close (7-9) as it escapes upwards. The escaping “puffs of air” (10) are converted to sound which is then transformed into voice by vocal tract resonators. Any change that affects this mucosal wave – stiffness of vocal fold layers, weakness or failure of closure, imbalance between R and L vocal folds from a lesion on one vocal fold – causes voice problems. (For more information, see Anatomy: How Breakdowns Result in Voice Disorders.)

  1. Vocal tract – resonators and articulators: The nose, pharynx, and mouth amplify and modify sound, allowing it to take on the distinctive qualities of voiceThe way that voice is produced is analogous to the way that sound is produced by a trombone. The trombone player produces sound at the mouthpiece of the instrument with his lips vibrating from air that passes from the mouth. The vibration within the mouthpiece produces sound, which is then altered or “shaped” as it passes throughout the instrument. As the slide of the trombone is changed, the sound of the musical instrument is similarly changed.

Amazing Outcomes of Human Voice

The human voice can be modified in many ways. Consider the spectrum of sounds – whispering, speaking, orating, shouting – as well as the different sounds that are possible in different forms of vocal music, such as rock singing, gospel singing, and opera singing.

Key Factors for Normal Vocal Fold Vibration

To vibrate efficiently vocal folds need to be:

At the midline or “closed”: Failure to move vocal folds to the midline, or any lesion which prevents the vocal fold edges from meeting, allows air to escape and results in breathy voice.Key players: muscles, cartilages, nerves

Pliable: The natural “built-in” elasticity of vocal folds makes them pliable. The top, edge, and bottom of the vocal folds that meet in the midline and vibrate need to be pliable. Changes in vocal fold pliability, even if limited to just one region or “spot,” can cause voice disorders, as seen in vocal fold scarring.Key players: epithelium, superficial lamina propria

“Just right” tension: Inability to adjust tension during singing can cause a failure to reach high notes or breaks in voice.Key players: muscle, nerve, cartilages

“Just right” mass: Changes in the soft tissue bulk of the vocal folds – such as decrease or thinning as in scarring or increase or swelling, as in Reinke’s edema, produce many voice symptoms – hoarseness, altered voice pitch, effortful phonation, etc. (For more information, see Vocal Fold Scarring and Reinke’s Edema.)Key players: muscles, nerves, epithelium, superficial lamina propria

September 7, 2020 | 4 mins read

Remember the baritone of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan? With the help of his tone of voice, coupled with power-packed dialogues, he successfully created the persona of the “angry young man” in the 1970s.

On the other hand, former US president Barack Obama’s assuring and friendly tone of voice won hearts and votes for him.

The tone of voice is an integral part of communication and an effective tool in public speaking. When Kaushik Roy spoke, everyone listened. As a highly revered CEO, he communicated in a way that commanded attentiveness, trust, and respect. His tone of voice conveyed his power as well as position.

What is tone of voice?

The tone of voice in communication is defined as ‘the way a person speaks to someone’. It is how you use your voice to get your point across. If you don’t do it right, there is a risk of your point getting lost or misinterpreted.

An optimistic and positive tone of voice is always welcome. If you use a pessimistic or accusatory tone of voice in communication, the results may be negative. One of the examples of tones is humor. Genuine humor creates trust and hope and makes your speech memorable.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle said that you can persuade others in three ways, by appealing to reason, emotion, or to character. Great Greek orators used a persuasive tone of voice in communication, which was based on a problem-solution structure. This almost always resulted in the desired results.

Importance of tone of voice

Raj was a master communicator and much loved by his peers. He knew exactly what needed to be said at what occasion. He became soft-spoken and sounded concerned when asking about a stressed colleague. He was firm and authoritative with his juniors. He spoke respectfully to his seniors. His presentations were motivating. His negotiations were persuasive. Raj used various types of tone expertly.

Your tone of voice conveys your feelings and has an impact on how people react to you. In a business scenario, the tone of voice has a direct effect on team dynamics and productivity.

Types of tone of voice

You can train yourself to use the apt tone for different situations and occasions perfectly. Let’s explore some types of tone:

Motivating tone of voice

Motivational speaker Chris Gardner, who inspired the film The Pursuit of Happyness, speaks with conviction and motivates people to tap into their potential and plan for success. A motivational tone keeps people engaged and inspires their personal as well as professional lives.

Informative tone of voice

Why are some teachers highly popular with the students and leave a lasting impression on their lives? One of the many reasons is their tone of voice. An informative tone of voice enhances knowledge, imparts information, and inspires personal growth.

Soft tone of voice

Soft types of tone are used for intimate conversations. A soft helps form a bond and nurture a relationship. It also helps express empathy and gentleness during difficult conversations. Soft tones, as opposed to harsh or angry tones, make people feel safe. This is why people tend to use a soft tone while talking to a child.

Humorous tone of voice

Keeping your speech humorous with funny anecdotes or quotes keeps the audience in a positive mood. But you should be aware of keeping your tone cheerful and genuine, not mocking or sarcastic.

Respectful tone of voice

One of the important examples of tones is the respectful tone of voice. A respectful tone enhances the quality of your communication. It conveys your kindness, humility, and truthfulness.

More examples of tone

A monotonous tone could be boring and cause disinterest. You can mix the following types of tones in your communication to make it more vibrant, impactful, and result-oriented:

  • Formal tone
  • Informal tone
  • Factual tone
  • Directive tone
  • Assertive tone
  • Friendly tone
  • Questioning tone
  • Conversational tone

Speaking with the correct tone of voice indicates your decisiveness and intelligence.

Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively course teaches you to communicate effectively by using the PAM Framework, which suggests the speaker focuses on the Purpose, Audience, and Message when framing their piece of communication. Using this framework helps you prepare and organize thoughts before any speaking engagement.

After completing this course, you will be able to communicate convincingly, speak concisely, and exhibit confidence. It will go a long way in making your personal and professional life a success.

Explore topics such as The Art of Public Speaking, Audience Analysis, Rule of 3, Seven C’s of communication, and the Elements of Communication Process from our Harappa Diaries blog section to ace your soft skills.

Articles On Complications of MS

  • Myoclonus
  • MS Tremors
  • Speech & Swallowing
  • MS Bowel Problems
  • MS Bladder Problems

People with multiple sclerosis, or MS, often have trouble swallowing, a problem called dysphagia. It can also lead to speech problems. It happens when the disease damages the nerves in the brain and spinal cord that make these tasks happen.

For some people, these problems are mild. Others have a harder time dealing with severe symptoms. But treatments and techniques can help you improve your speech and make swallowing easier.

Symptoms of a Swallowing Problem

  • Cough or choke when you eat
  • Feel like food is lodged in your throat
  • Get a lot of lung infections, like pneumonia, that you can’t explain

When you can’t swallow properly, you might inhale food or liquids into your windpipe instead of getting them down your esophagus and into your stomach. Once in the lungs, they can cause pneumonia or abscesses. You could also be at risk for malnutrition or dehydration because your food and water aren’t getting to your stomach.

Symptoms of Speech Problems

The kinds of speech problems MS causes can vary depending on which part of the brain is damaged. Someone with the disease might have mild trouble with words or severe problems that make it hard for them to speak and be understood. A problem that’s subtle in the beginning might get worse over time.

People with MS usually have a few distinctive language problems:

  • “Scanning” speech, when a person’s normal speech pattern is disrupted with long pauses between words or syllables
  • Slurring words. It usually happens because of weak tongue, lip, and mouth muscles.
  • Trouble changing tone of voice
  • Nasal-sounding speech
  • Difficulty understanding what people are saying

Getting a Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and do a physical exam, paying attention to how well your tongue and other muscles in your mouth and throat work.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you get a test called a modified barium swallow. You’ll drink a special liquid that coats your mouth, throat, and esophagus, and your doctor will give you an X-ray. The fluid makes your insides stand out on the image. The test helps your doctor pinpoint where and why you’re having trouble swallowing.

Your doctor might suggest that you see a speech therapist or a speech-language pathologist. They can figure out which part of your speech is affected and study your breathing control and way you move your lips, tongue, and other parts of your mouth.

Treatment for Speech Problems

If muscle stiffness is making it hard for you to speak, medications might help. Your speech therapist might also suggest:

  • Exercises to strengthen or relax your vocal cords or improve how you move your jaw, tongue, and lips
  • Strategies other than speech that can help you communicate with others. You might focus on using shorter words and phrases or ways to simplify words, sentences, or sounds.
  • Practice controlling your breath. It can help you speak longer sentences in one breath or accent specific words.

There are other ways to manage your speech problems, too:

  • Don’t feel rushed or pressured when you’re trying to talk. If you feel comfortable, it may help to let the other person know you have a speech problem.
  • Try to talk with someone face-to-face whenever possible. Your facial expressions and gestures can help you get your point across.
  • If a conversation goes on too long, ask if you can take a break.
  • Try to relax. If you can keep a positive attitude, it might put you and the other person at ease so you won’t feel anxious about understanding each other.

Treatment for Swallowing Problems

A speech therapist can also help with swallowing problems. They might suggest changes in diet, positioning of your head, or exercises that can help. In very severe cases, feeding tubes can deliver nutrients and fluids directly into the stomach.

Along with therapy, there are things you can do to make swallowing easier:

  • Sit upright at a 90-degree angle, tilt your head slightly forward, or stay sitting or standing upright for 45 to 60 minutes after you eat.
  • Stay focused on the tasks of eating and drinking. Keep distractions away. Don’t talk with food in your mouth.
  • Go slowly. Aim to eat about 1/2 teaspoon of your food at a time.
  • You may need to swallow two or three times per bite or sip. If food or liquid catches in your throat, cough gently or clear your throat, and swallow again before you take a breath.
  • Concentrate on swallowing often. Try alternating a bite of food with a sip of liquid.
  • Try different temperatures and textures of liquids. For example, you can make drinks colder or try carbonated beverages.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Suck on popsicles, ice chips, or lemon-flavored water to get your mouth to make more saliva, which will help you swallow more often.
  • If chewing is hard for you, stay away from foods that need a lot of jaw power.
  • If thin liquids make you cough, try thickening them. You can also substitute thin liquids with thicker ones — nectars for juices and cream soups for plain broths, for instance.
  • When you take medication, crush your pills and mix them with applesauce or pudding. Ask your pharmacist to let you know which pills you shouldn’t crush and which medicines you can buy in a liquid form.

On this page:

How do speech and language develop?

The first 3 years of life, when the brain is developing and maturing, is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. These skills develop best in a world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others.

There appear to be critical periods for speech and language development in infants and young children when the brain is best able to absorb language. If these critical periods are allowed to pass without exposure to language, it will be more difficult to learn.

What are the milestones for speech and language development?

The first signs of communication occur when an infant learns that a cry will bring food, comfort, and companionship. Newborns also begin to recognize important sounds in their environment, such as the voice of their mother or primary caretaker. As they grow, babies begin to sort out the speech sounds that compose the words of their language. By 6 months of age, most babies recognize the basic sounds of their native language.

Children vary in their development of speech and language skills. However, they follow a natural progression or timetable for mastering the skills of language. A checklist of milestones for the normal development of speech and language skills in children from birth to 5 years of age is included below. These milestones help doctors and other health professionals determine if a child is on track or if he or she may need extra help. Sometimes a delay may be caused by hearing loss, while other times it may be due to a speech or language disorder.

What is the difference between a speech disorder and a language disorder?

Children who have trouble understanding what others say (receptive language) or difficulty sharing their thoughts (expressive language) may have a language disorder. Specific language impairment (SLI) is a language disorder that delays the mastery of language skills. Some children with SLI may not begin to talk until their third or fourth year.

Children who have trouble producing speech sounds correctly or who hesitate or stutter when talking may have a speech disorder. Apraxia of speech is a speech disorder that makes it difficult to put sounds and syllables together in the correct order to form words.

What should I do if my child’s speech or language appears to be delayed?

Talk to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns. Your doctor may refer you to a speech-language pathologist, who is a health professional trained to evaluate and treat people with speech or language disorders. The speech-language pathologist will talk to you about your child’s communication and general development. He or she will also use special spoken tests to evaluate your child. A hearing test is often included in the evaluation because a hearing problem can affect speech and language development. Depending on the result of the evaluation, the speech-language pathologist may suggest activities you can do at home to stimulate your child’s development. They might also recommend group or individual therapy or suggest further evaluation by an audiologist (a health care professional trained to identify and measure hearing loss), or a developmental psychologist (a health care professional with special expertise in the psychological development of infants and children).

What research is being conducted on developmental speech and language problems?

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) sponsors a broad range of research to better understand the development of speech and language disorders, improve diagnostic capabilities, and fine-tune more effective treatments. An ongoing area of study is the search for better ways to diagnose and differentiate among the various types of speech delay. A large study following approximately 4,000 children is gathering data as the children grow to establish reliable signs and symptoms for specific speech disorders, which can then be used to develop accurate diagnostic tests. Additional genetic studies are looking for matches between different genetic variations and specific speech deficits.

Researchers sponsored by the NIDCD have discovered one genetic variant, in particular, that is linked to specific language impairment (SLI), a disorder that delays children’s use of words and slows their mastery of language skills throughout their school years. The finding is the first to tie the presence of a distinct genetic mutation to any kind of inherited language impairment. Further research is exploring the role this genetic variant may also play in dyslexia, autism, and speech-sound disorders.

A long-term study looking at how deafness impacts the brain is exploring how the brain “rewires” itself to accommodate deafness. So far, the research has shown that adults who are deaf react faster and more accurately than hearing adults when they observe objects in motion. This ongoing research continues to explore the concept of “brain plasticity”—the ways in which the brain is influenced by health conditions or life experiences—and how it can be used to develop learning strategies that encourage healthy language and speech development in early childhood.

A recent workshop convened by the NIDCD drew together a group of experts to explore issues related to a subgroup of children with autism spectrum disorders who do not have functional verbal language by the age of 5. Because these children are so different from one another, with no set of defining characteristics or patterns of cognitive strengths or weaknesses, development of standard assessment tests or effective treatments has been difficult. The workshop featured a series of presentations to familiarize participants with the challenges facing these children and helped them to identify a number of research gaps and opportunities that could be addressed in future research studies.

What are voice, speech, and language?

Voice, speech, and language are the tools we use to communicate with each other.

Voice is the sound we make as air from our lungs is pushed between vocal folds in our larynx, causing them to vibrate.

Speech is talking, which is one way to express language. It involves the precisely coordinated muscle actions of the tongue, lips, jaw, and vocal tract to produce the recognizable sounds that make up language.

Language is a set of shared rules that allow people to express their ideas in a meaningful way. Language may be expressed verbally or by writing, signing, or making other gestures, such as eye blinking or mouth movements.