Your voice is your primary tool as a public speaker or as a preacher. Taking care of it is therefore extremely important. Did you know you could over use your voice? In the UK 50% of newly qualified teachers, lose their voices at some time in their first year. That is just one example, but there are some things you can do to protect this valuable asset.
Warm up! It is always useful to warm up your voice before making a major presentation where volume and emphasis may take their toll. Try gently going through some conversational tone lines before taking to the podium.
Stay hydrated! Don’t let your throat get too dry. Be sure to drink sufficient non-alcoholic beverages before speaking, and for longer addresses have some water with you.
Don’t over stretch! Keep to your normal voice range. Keep the use of your upper and lower ranges to a minimum (for emphasis, not extended periods). Also, avoid unnecessary shouting or whispering.
Remember your posture! Your postural alignment influences the amount of muscular tension you experience. This affects the tone and resonance of your voice. Again, good posture can save on the strain to your voice.
Relax! If you are stressed your voice will be too. Use gentle breathing in your pauses, and when speaking – breathe and speak using the diaphragm.
Know the warnings! Limit speaking when ill, and avoid speaking when the throat is already showing signs of strain.