Making Good Speakers Great

Discovering a Deeper Voice

When asked to describe a good voice, one of the qualities mentioned most frequently is “deep.” Everyone wants a deeper voice, believing it will project authority, strength, sexiness or whatever. Assuming it’s all about pitch, they press their voice down into the lower end of their range. Then they wonder why their voice tires easily and feels uncomfortable after any length of time. Their voice always seems “stuck” in their throat, and it actually sounds higher to other people.

I agree a good voice has a certain quality of depth, but it’s not necessarily related to low pitch. It’s more about having low resonance in your voice. Think of pitch as the actual “note” you are speaking. Think of resonance as the “space” you are using to produce the sound. Finding deep resonance in your voice requires attentiveness to three essential components:

  • The first is relaxation. Muscle tension stops sound vibrations. Tension anywhere in your body prevents the spread of sound vibrations. This restricts your voice to your throat and mouth and makes the sound seem higher. Feel the ground under you, allow your whole body to relax down onto the ground, and your voice will tend to drop into your body and sound deeper.

  • The second is breath. Breathing well relaxes the body at very deep levels, creates more space on the inside and keeps the channels very open. The quality of your in-breath will always set up the quality of your voice. If your in-breath is small and shallow, your voice will tend to be small and shallow. If your in-breath is full and deep, your voice will tend to be full and deep.

  • The third is space. Think of a bass drum. Its size and its large interior space tend to emphasize the lower frequencies of its sound. The same thing will happen with your voice if you enhance the feeling of open space inside your body.

Some people get lucky and seem to be born with voices that sound confident and authoritative. The rest of us have to develop it. You might not sound like Lauren Bacall or James Earl Jones, but the good news is that everyone, including you, has the potential for a voice that is warm, resonant and strong. With some training and practice, you can learn to relax, breathe, and be expansive, cultivating a genuine sense of depth in your voice that others will find appealing and attractive.


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