Are you plagued by the voice quiver? Here’s help.
For some of us, speaking up in a meeting or asking a question in front of a large audience can be kind of a big deal. As we’re formulating our thoughts, our mind is also sending signals throughout our body to warn us that we’re about to draw attention to ourselves, and that attention is probably a bad thing.
It starts with a nervous tickle in the throat or perhaps a tightening across the chest. Our heart rate speeds up as we make the physical or audible signal that we have something to say. Once we open our mouth to speak, our voices might betray us as our words come out a bit shaky, if not quivering. As intelligent as our comment might be, we’re distracting others, as well as ourselves, with our nervousness.
Thankfully, there’s a cure for this annoyance.
First, as you prepare to speak, breathe from your diaphragm. You can do this by placing one hand on your stomach and making sure that we’re pushing it outward. I realize this is counter to what most of us try to do as we occupy physical space, but this ensures that we’re using our vocal chords in a resonant way. When we let our heart rate overtake our breathing, we tend to take shallow breaths that result in the dreaded “quiver.”
Second, simply practice. It doesn’t have to be in a meeting. Ask the grocer if rhubarb is still in season or the barista for a recommendation. By initiating small, transaction based questions of strangers, it will become second nature to do so in a professional setting.
Others aren’t likely to notice whether you’re taking some extra time to breath deeply. In a matter of seconds they’ll be focused on the value of what you’re actually saying…