I Am Self-Conscious Of My Voice
Today we are going to talk about why so many folks say, “I am self-conscious of my voice” and what we can do to fix it!
I remember the first time I heard a recording of myself. I was sitting in English class when I was in middle school. We had a project where we had to record ourselves reading poetry.
My video went up on the class television and there I was, reciting a poem. Meanwhile, the real me was sitting in the back of the class, cringing at the sound of my own voice.
I thought I sounded like a chipmunk.
Even though almost two decades have passed since then, I still find my voice a bit surprising to hear.
Listen To Yourself!
Ever hear a video or recording of yourself? What do you think of your voice?
If you are like most people, you are probably a bit weirded out! Our voices are pretty darn difficult to get used to.
Why is this? Why do we cringe whenever we hear our voices?
The answer is because we are hearing a higher-pitched (and true to sound) version of our voice! For those of you curious about the science, check out this article from BBC!
What Your Voice Reveals
I have a spot of bad news for you all. (I am truly sorry).
This truth is that the version of your voice that you hear on recordings is actually what other people are hearing. And, although the timbre may be slightly different due to the technology and materials capturing your voice, the fact is what you sound like to yourself is not entirely true.
However, there is some good news! In fact, there is a lot of it! If we can muster up the gall to get used to hearing ourselves in our truest form, we will find that:
First, our voices are usually not as spine-tingling to others as they are to ourselves.
Second, we may pick up on some idiosyncrasies that were not apparent to us before.
For me, one of these idiosyncrasies is…
I Sound Like I Am Drunk
Yes, you read that right.
I have gotten used to the altered timbre between what I hear versus what others hear. However, there are still little characteristics that make my voice unique. Many of them I am trying to fix.
One of these for me is that I sound drunk if I do not pay attention to how I speak.
I grew up in a very fast-talking area – at least compared to where I live now. There was no time to hit on every single syllable when you speak a mile a minute!
That led to some bad habits. I stutter, slur my words together, and I sound drunk.
Fortunately, I have a friend who taught me a very useful exercise that I hope aids you, too!
If you find yourself stumbling over your words, speaking too fast, or being hard to understand, try this exercise.
All you have to do is focus on saying every single letter in a word. For instance.
How many of us say “liddle” when we want to say “little”?
Or, “spea’ gon stage” when we mean to say “speak on stage”?
When I say the word, “hand” it usually is verbalized, “han’”.
It’s natural! We cut corners or say certain letters differently. And this is a manifestation of where we are from, whom we are surrounded by, speech impediments, etc.
Now, here is the beauty behind this simple little trick!
It forces us to slow down when we speak. That slowing down allows us two things.
- We are able to separate the sounds into distinct words which make us sound much crisper.
- We buy enough time to think about what we are going to say next.
Both of these prevent the stuttering, trembling, and shakiness of our voices – especially if we are feeling anxious!
Next time you have to speak, focus on making every letter count. It has worked wonders for me on stage!
(And not once have I been told I sound drunk after a talk, ha!)
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