Want to give a great talk? Warm up your voice first!

Want to give a great talk? –  it’s worth warming up your voice!

Would you run a race without warming up your muscles?  Any coach would tell you that you are crazy if you didn’t.

Most people take their voice for granted.

And yet as well as a way of expressing your feelings and thoughts, ideas and inspiration, your voice is still a part of your body and the physicality of it deserves the same consideration you would give your muscles before running a race.

If you have ever ‘lost’ your voice you will know how annoying and frustrating it feels.

Funny how we humans often forget to value and appreciate so much about ourselves – until we lose it!   How many times have I hurt a finger or thumb and only then realised how invaluable it is, because I can’t use it!

When you are going to give an important talk it makes sense to give yourself a few minutes sometime shortly before it to make sure your voice is warmed up and ready to express your thoughts and feelings as richly and fully as possible and to give you maximum control over the way you sound without your voice getting tired.

If you take the time to do this your voice will sound fuller and stronger. Your articulation will become more clear and crisp. You’ll be easier to understand. And as you strengthen your speech muscles, you’ll be able to talk longer without your voice feeling and sounding tired.

Here is a short workout to get your voice ready to be at its best.   There are many different ways to warm up your voice – this is just one of many options.

  1. Warm up your lips so they get round the words clearly and effortlessly.   Close your lips and make the baby version of a horse (a sort of bbrrr sound)


Do it 3 times with breath but no sound and then 3 times with voice.

2.  Make the sound of a siren    –   Using the sound ‘ooooo’ start at your lowest note and glide up to your highest note and back again.

Do it 3 times all the way up and down

3. Hum   –   Close your lips and hum ’til you feel your lips buzz

If you can’t feel them buzzing try licking your lips so they are not dry and relax your lips even more.

Put your hand on top of your head and adjust your hum until you can feel the vibration with your hand

4. Count from one to ten blending humming into each number as you speak.  Say mmmone, mmmtwo, mmmthree and so on. Blend the hum and the number into one continuous sound.

5. Breathe deeply and count   –   Blow all the air out of your lungs – right to the last drop and then release any tension and allow your lungs to refill fully.   When they are full, start counting and keep going until you have no breath left.

Pronounce each number fully and clearly and notice how many you counted up to.   Do it again and find out if you can increase the number.

Note:   No matter how quickly or slowly you do this it will not affect the number you can count up to if you hold the volume the same!

6. Run through these muscle strengthening tongue twisters to improve clarity.

Make sure you really work your speaking muscles to get the best out of the exercise.   It is important to make sure you pronounce each letter clearly.   Do it as quickly as you can without losing clarity.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled pepper?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper,
Where’s the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked?

Pink lorry, yellow lorry.

Red leather, yellow leather, red leather, yellow leather.

She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.

A proper copper coffee pot makes a proper cup of coffee

Around the rugged rocks the ragged rascals ran.

Long legged ladies last longer.

Mixed biscuits, mixed biscuits.

tonguetwister          You can find lots more tongue twisters online if you want to extend this part of the exercise routine.

I just found this Ted talk and as it is saying a lot of what I have said here and adding some important extra bits I am adding the link here – some days later – for you to enjoy and learn more from – thanks Julian Treasure

Ted Talks – Julian Treasure

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