Getting some control over things
The ‘Control’ part of your voice-system is your mouth. The ‘noises’ you make in your throat are heavily modified to form words, using your
There are, of course, even some sounds (such as S and P) which are formed pretty much entirely in your mouth, not using the Generation part of the system at all!
As such, this is where we find a few crucial parts of your speaking, such as your
- clarity and diction
Your accent is outside the scope of this simple course – and it’s formed by the slightly different ways people in different parts of a country form their mouths when they form the same sounds. As a silly example, try speaking with your tongue close to the bottom of your mouth, and not moving it… it’s not a very good Australian accent, but it’s a start! 🙂
Thinking about clarity and diction, the more clearly you speak the more easily you’ll be understood. It’s important for everyone but particularly important if you’re speaking:
- to an audience whose first language isn’t yours
- in a language which isn’t your first language
- using microphones and other amplification
- in a venue which has difficult acoustics.
It’s important to warm up before you speak or present. The area around your lips and cheeks etc. is full of muscles and when you speak you use them very intensively. In the same way that you perform better in sport when you warm up your legs and arms properly, you get a better spoken performance when you warm things up in the right way.
This video shows you an exercise called “ Instant Posh” which is the best way of doing exactly that.
Of course, it’s not always possible to warm up in that way – you might not be able to slip away for a couple of minutes on your own for example; it’s not exactly the kind of thing you want to be seen doing in public!
The next bit looks at alternatives – they’re not as good, but they’re often more convenient 🙂
Rub and yawn
The last lesson looked at the best exercise for warming up. It’s what we do when we’ve got a big presentation coming up.
But for various reasons it’s not always possible – perhaps you don’t have time before you start your presentation or perhaps because there’s nowhere private enough to use and it’s not a good idea to do these things in front of people.
After all, it’s not always great for the audience to think that their speaker is crazy! 🙂
Fortunately there’s an alternative and it goes like this:
Okay, there’s more to it, as you’ll have guessed by now – the devil lies in the details: it’s about where you rub and how you yawn.
Rub the area where you grow a beard if you’re a man. If you’re a woman, rub the area you would grow a beard if you were a man! 🙂 Simple as that. Pay particular attention to your top lip and to the philtrum. A lot of people miss those out because of embarrassment or inhibition.
Don’t be polite about it. It’s not the kind of yawn you can hide behind your hand… it’s the kind of yawn you do when there’s no one around and you’re just waking up after a good, long, deep sleep… the kind that makes your jaw ache.
Don’t be shy and don’t be too gentle about it – there’s no point in gently and superficially massaging your cheeks, for example, and thinking you’ve done a decent rub! It’s about stretching and warming up the muscles.
For those of you who aren’t old enough to have ever seen Bagpuss, this is the minimum required yawn!
This video shows you these things being used.
Be a voice athlete
Think of it this way – you’re about to play a physical game such as football or badminton and you know you’ll play better from the start if you’re properly warmed up. Athletes don’t just go through the motions: they really go for it.