Do you know the difference between projecting your voice and yelling? The latter hurts your throat and can be painful to your listeners' ears. The latter also does not make your children sit up and take notice of what you are saying. Instead, they either cower in fear or stop listening to you.
Many years ago, I must confess that I yelled at my husband. His response was that he wished he had a tape recorder so I could hear what I sounded like. Luckily, that only happened one time but it is a memory I will never forget. I decided right then and there that I would never do that again.
A year later I started teaching voice improvement to graduate students of journalism and, in the process, discovered how to increase the volume of the speaking voice without shouting. It was an amazing discovery because I realized what most people – including me – were doing wrong when increasing their volume.
Most people lift the pitch of the speaking voice when increasing their volume and push harder from their throat and voice box to power the sound. Over time, this can result in serious damage to the vocal cords (folds) and is something popular singers often experience.
The answer is to learn how to use your chest cavity as your primary sounding board, your primary amplifier, thereby immediately relieving the strain and stress on your throat and voice box which occurs when you yell a lot or talk for great lengths of time. Even rooting for your favorite football team on a continual basis can do a lot of damage. Projecting your voice, however, will not.
Today, we are a people who are speaking more often and with more volume because of our environment, our lifestyle, and the requirements of our jobs. The amount of vocal abuse I am seeing tells me this is true. And, it is not just happening to older people. I am hearing from those in their twenties.
When I was raising my two boys, I honestly never yelled or screamed at them. I took a breath and powered a larger voice – more volume – from my chest cavity. The result was a sound they paid attention to. It did not hurt my throat nor did it hurt their ears. It also meant that I was in control of the situation. Truly a win-win situation all the way around.
Learn how to project your voice and you will not only stop the vocal abuse but also discover a richer, deeper, more mature sound in the process.