Seven Voice-Saving Techniques to Live By
The devastating effects of becoming hoarse or losing your voice completely are too great for the busy executive. Learn strategies to prevent this from happening to you!
Copyright (c) 2008 Lynda Stucky
Imagine the devastating effects of waking up on the day of your big presentation and finding that your voice sounds scratchy, hoarse and weak. Worse yet, it has disappeared completely! Nearly all of us rely on a well-functioning voice at work every day. If we were to lose our voice on any given day, the results could be disastrous.
A few years ago, a colleague of mine was preparing for a job interview that had come down to him and one other candidate. The job was an upper management position that required a lot of new responsibilities including being in the public eye more frequently and giving high profile presentations. Zach was perfect for this position and obviously well-prepared for the interview. He wanted this job desperately!
The night before the interview, he and his best buddy attended a sports event in the city. His exuberance for his favorite team could not be held back. He cheered and yelled with his typical energy and enthusiasm.
He had never lost his voice before doing this so he was surprised the next day when he woke up and discovered his hoarse, gravelly-sounding voice. He called me immediately and asked me what he should do.
Besides vocally resting that day and keeping well-hydrated, there wasn't too much that he could do on the short term. Later that day, Zach interviewed hoarse voice and all. Unfortunately, he didn't end up getting that position.
Zach has wondered if his hoarseness partly played a role in that decision. If he and the other candidate were equal in every other way, his voice problem that day may have had a negative impact on the hiring team since a company spokesperson needs to be articulate in every way.
There are many reasons why some people become hoarse or completely lose their voice: physical problems which we may or may not have any control over or behavioural which are activities we engage in that we do have control over.
Are you aware of the voice problems that go along with each season?
If you suffer from spring allergies, then you know all about problems with watery eyes, coughing, sneezing and nasal congestion. Both coughing and post-nasal drip cause irritation and inflammation to the vocal cords.
Fluctuations in humidity levels affect our voice in the summer and winter. This is because we move from our air conditioned or heated businesses and homes into the outside weather. An inviting room to be in this winter will be where chestnuts roast on an open fire. But the heat from the fire drains the humidity from the air.
Also, a lot of us yell too loudly in support of our favorite team; this is very abusive to our vocal cords.
All of these activities can be vocally harmful so arm yourself with a few strategies to avoid hoarseness or a loss of voice:
1. Keep your water handy. Consume between 8 and 10 glasses of water daily.
2. Avoid alcohol (it has a drying effect) especially while cheering at your favorite sports event and caffeine.
4. Decrease how much you yell in your home environment and elsewhere to preserve your voice.
5. Add humidity to the air when possible.
6. Impose periods of vocal rest during the day.
7. Don't let your allergies stand in your way: Get medical help.
With this knowledge you can reduce or eliminate the negative effects of the environment on your vocal cords and remain vocally healthy for your job! Guard yourself against the devastation of losing your voice at work.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynda Stucky is an expert at working with people who want to speak with clarity, credibility, and influence. President and owner of ClearlySpeaking, her background in speech pathology offers unique skills for consulting business professionals on communication skills including accent modification (regional and foreign), voice care, vocal dynamics, diction, grammar and how to speak concisely. http://www.clearly-speaking.com