We’ve all been there. Hearing our voices on a recording and thinking wait, is that really what I sound like? Yep, most likely it is, but you have the ability to improve it.
The video version of this post is below, but stay on this page if you prefer to read.
When I first got into broadcasting years ago and I was working on my on camera presence, one area that I was having some trouble with is my voice.
I thought my voice sounded a little high-pitched. There was a tight sound and not a very good tone when I spoke. I didn’t sound authoritative at all and I couldn’t quite figure out what to do about it.
This was the case when I was speaking on camera or when I was doing voice over or narration for a story. I needed to figure out how to improve in that area if I was ever going to make it to a bigger market.
After getting some advice, I went to visit a voice coach and she helped me tremendously. When I met with her, she described my voice as sounding thin and she said this was happening because I didn’t have enough consistent airflow.
It turns out the key to improving my voice was learning how to breathe in a different way. Prior to that I was trying to just talk lower, which was making my voice sound a little weird and not natural.
Diaphragmatic Breathing Helps Bring Strength to Your Voice
This voice coach introduced me to what’s called diaphragmatic breathing and I actually had no idea what it was before I spoke to her.
She explained to me it was necessary to really train my body how to breathe in a certain way.
Diaphragmatic breathing is a type of a breathing exercise that helps strengthen your diaphragm.
It’s also called belly breathing or abdominal breathing. You take in air by pushing out your abdomen area.
Forget about holding in your stomach…this type of breathing requires the opposite.
I’ve heard people describe diaphragmatic breathing as the foundation for confident speaking and singing as well.
It allows your voice to have some resonance and just sounds better.
Diaphragmatic Breathing Calms Your Nerves
Also a side benefit of this is that it helps bring more blood flow and oxygen to your brain which is good for your overall health.
You know what else? If you’re nervous before you’re going to be on camera recording something or even speaking in front of a crowd, diaphragmatic breathing actually helps calm your body down.
The best part is that it’s easy to do.
To get the hang of it, try laying down on your back and put a heavy book on your stomach area.
Now, push your stomach out as you breathe, so you can see the book rise.
Then exhale and allow the book move back down.
When you sit up, try it again.
When you’re talking and doing diaphragmatic breathing, it’s quiet and invisible.
So for instance, if I take a big gulp of air….it’s obvious to the viewer.
But if you breathe by expanding your belly, no one will notice. You can take in a bunch of air and just continue talking.
Make Diaphragmatic Breathing a Habit
Take time to make this a habit before you actually need to use it! For instance, when you’re talking in a meeting or on the phone. Get used to how it feels.
Then when you’re talking in front of a camera or an audience, it will be natural and you won’t feel like it’s much of an effort.
It does take some getting used to before it becomes a habit, but this kind of breathing really is helpful in more ways than one.
Give it a try and see how you do!