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Help for Voice Fatigue
If your voice tires easily, the problem could be that you are speaking too far down in your throat. The throat alone does not have the power to resonate or project the voice. For your voice to stay healthy and sound its best, it should resonate evenly between the nose, the mouth, and the voice box. This area is known as the facial mask. To find your facial mask and focus your voice, simply say "um-hmm." When you feel a slight buzz in your lips and nose you will know your voice is properly focused. Practice saying um-hmm throughout the day to keep your voice in focus.

Cure a Dry Mouth

  • Add a little lemon juice to your water
    The tartness stimulates the flow of saliva. And remember to drink at least 8 (or more!) glasses of water a day.


Susan Berkley
CEO
The Great Voice Company

  • Try chewing some gum between phone calls
    Gum stimulates saliva flow. Use sugarless to prevent tooth decay. Just remember to take it out of your mouth before you speak!
     

  • Avoid salty foods
    Even though you may not add additional salt to your food, there is a lot of hidden sodium in the average American diet, especially in fast foods, Chinese foods, cold cuts and processed foods.
     

  • Dry mouth could be a side effect of certain medications
    Antihistamines are a real culprit.
     

  • Stress makes dry mouth worse
    Make a mental systems check. Is your level of work-related stress higher than it should be? Consider offsetting stress with yoga, exercise and daily meditation.

 

How to Cure the Verbal Virus
Verbal viruses are meaningless fillers that speckle our speech, distract from our message, drain our impact and annoy listeners. I call them verbal viruses because they seem to be contagious and we pick them up without being aware of it.

The most common verbal viruses are: "uhh" "um" "like" "you know" "well" "okay" and "sort of." They also include annoying mouth sounds and lip smacks.

Verbal viruses are jarring to the ear and inconsistent with a professional image. They can make you sound unsure, unprepared and poorly educated. The good news about verbal viruses is that they are easily cured. Here's my 5-step plan for prevention, treatment and cure.

DIAGNOSE THE PROBLEM: Since verbal viruses are unconscious, the only way you'll hear them is on tape. Record a few of your phone calls on a typical business day to quickly determine if you are suffering from a verbal virus infection.

PAUSE: Whenever you catch yourself saying a non-word, just stop talking. Say nothing. This gap of silence will feel scary at first, but if the pause is no longer than 5 seconds, the listener will scarcely notice. A pause will help you gather your thoughts while giving the listener time to reflect on what you have just said.

RECORD THE VOICEMAIL MESSAGES YOU LEAVE FOR OTHERS: Listen to them at the end of the day and note whether or not unwanted fillers have crept into your messages.

ENLIST THE HELP OF A FRIEND OR SPOUSE: Explain what you are trying to do and invent a code word he or she can use every time you use a filler word. The constant reminder will help you break the habit fast.

HOLD YOUR BREATH. When you feel you are about to use a non-word, take a breath, hold it for a moment and then begin to speak. The focus on your breathing will occupy your mind, keep you calm and centered and make the silence between the words seem much less scary.

 

How To Tame A Hyper-Active Speaking Style
KEEP BODY LANGUAGE TO A MINIMUM
Cut back on gestures. Remain seated. If you normally wear a headset, try restricting physical movement by working without it.

MAKE SURE YOU ARE PHYSICALLY RELAXED BEFORE MAKING THE CALL
Image that you just got out of bed. Take a deep breath and center yourself before speaking. Learn some stretching exercises and do them once an hour to keep the kinks out of your body.

SURROUND YOUR DESK WITH SOOTHING IMAGES
Beach scenes (no bikini clad women!), mountains, flowing water. Look at the predominant colors in your office decor. Neutrals and blues are soothing, red will pump you up.

IF YOU CAN STAND IT, CUT BACK ON THE CAFFEINE
The more caffeine in your bloodstream, the faster you will tend to speak.

PAUSE MORE. AFTER EACH THOUGHT, COUNT TO 3 BEFORE YOU CONTINUE
Ask lots of questions and listen for the answer. Most salespeople talk too much. You should be listening 3 times more than you speak. A pause can feel like an eternity internally, but a listener will scarcely notice that you stopped speaking and will appreciate that you gave them a chance to digest your message.

TAPE YOURSELF
The biggest challenge in voice improvement is that most of us do not hear ourselves as others hear us. A tape recorder and feedback from a supportive friend can help. Record yourself doing your sales pitch at your normal speed and then at a slower rate. Give the tape to a friend and see if they notice a difference between the two. If you are still too fast, visualize elongating and extending the space between your words. Pause for a beat or two after each thought. If you use a script, make marks to remind you to pause at appropriate places.

 

How to Sound Friendlier Over the Phone
Keep a photo of a loved one by your phone. This is a tip from radio broadcasters who find that they sound more focused, warm and friendly if they make eye contact with a picture of someone they love during their broadcasts.

If you smile when you dial, you will never sound grouchy. It's the fastest and easiest way to sound warm and friendly. Keep a mirror by your phone. When you can see a nice big grin in the mirror, you can be sure the person you are calling will hear the smile in your voice.


About The Author
Susan Berkley is CEO of The Great Voice Company providing voice prompts for phone systems in all languages. A top voiceover artist, she is one of the voices who says "Thank you for using AT&T" and best-selling author of "Speak To Influence: How to Unlock the Hidden Power of Your Voice."

About The Great Voice Company
The Great Voice Company is a full service recording and digitizing facility specializing in voice prompts in any language for all types of telephone applications. It has recorded over 2 million voice prompts in hundreds of languages since 1987. Additionally, Great Voice offers a training program to improve voice skills.

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