In my last blog I suggested that it is important to warm up your voice, before you speak in the morning, by humming. I wanted to expand on this as I was asked the question “How do I know how to hum? I’m humming but I don’t know that I’m doing it properly”. So, I want to recommend that you warm your voices up because so many of us are working far more on Zoom, Skype, just on the phone and your voice is one of your most powerful selling tools. So, we warm it up by starting with a nice loose face and massage the big jaw joint on both sides of your face. Keep going, warm it up as you would have a back massage, massage your face. Now to loosen your lips up make a motor bike noise. Hours of endless fun! So, carry on doing that so that your lips are loose. Now, you want the sound to come into, what we call, the mask of the face. So, not including your nose but in the mask of the face, that’s where you want the sound to come from. You do not want to be humming on the back of your throat, because you don’t want to talk there, but also you don’t want to feel it in the nose because then you’ll sound a nasal. You don’t want to cheat, so humming with your mouth slightly with lips apart, you’re just using your tongue on the roof your mouth. That’s not bringing the sound forward it is sending it up which is also where we don’t want the voice to be. So, not on your throat, not in your nose, not up through the roof of your mouth. Where we want the sound is in the mask the face. So, you aim it there, you aim it to the front, as if you’re humming along a piece of string, out of the window to a point on the wall anywhere that’s far away from you. It doesn’t mean you’re pushing the sound out you’re humming gently along that imaginary piece of string. So, “hum”, just lifting those cheeks up. Now, this isn’t rocket science, but it isn’t necessarily something you ever even thought about. I want you to protect your voice which is why I don’t want you humming on the back of your throat. Nice and forward, along that piece of string. The only thing I’d add to that, is that you don’t have to be singing to understand that you have got a lot of notes in your voice, some of them very high, some of them very low. So, again, to warm those up before you start talking in the morning get that hum and take it up five and down five notes. Anywhere in your voice that’s comfortable. Always lift the cheeks because it’s always much better to be smiling, when you do any of these exercises. Enjoy!
As I write this, we’re in the midst of Covid-19 and I imagine most of us now are working from home and therefore we can feel quite cut off. So, it’s important to keep communication open with friends and family, but also, to keep our businesses going. We need to use everything to hand that is there for us to work from home, especially to do with technology and communication. Within that, I would say that your voice is one of your most powerful selling tools, so it’s really important that you do some gentle humming to warm your voice up before you go on a call, or a webinar or a video that you may be doing. Really think about your voice, because you wouldn’t run a race without warming up, you’d hurt yourself. Well, it’s the same with your voice, you can’t utilise all the different notes within your voice if you don’t warm it up. You will be going back to presenting, you will be going back to being with people in person, so it’s really important – practice, practice, practice. As you get out of bed in the morning, just start a gentle hum. The only thing stopping your voice coming out is your lips, so that is where you need your voice to be placed. In the mask of your face. Before you speak, you can wake your voice up by moving the hum up and down your register. Very gently. This will mean, by the time you talk for the first time, you will create a well produce sound and not be clearing your throat or making rasping sounds to your family, friends or clients.
Having watched “Little Women” I was struck by how strong all the performances were and I started to look online to find out more about the making of the film. I found an article from The New York Times about Florence Pugh.
I read the quote about Florence Pugh from the casting director Shaheen Baig “It’s rare that you find someone at that age who is so comfortable in her own skin,”.
Oh, how true. It is rare to find someone who is comfortable in their own skin at any age. Many actors go into the acting profession because they only feel comfortable hiding behind a character. I fear many people feel they have to “act” at work, at school, in life, when all eyes are on them. When you are in the spotlight you can use techniques to help your confidence grow and so get your message across effectively, especially by using the best technique of all…..just being you.
We are all unique and even if, at networking events for example, there are several who are in the same industry as you, it is important to remember you are the only you there. We all warm to different people, so just being you will be enough for some people, which is all you need.