It’s common knowledge that many people hate the sound of their own voice. I should say they hate the sound of their recorded voice. There are lots of YouTube videos describing and explaining this sad phenomenon. I’m not gonna add to that list; that’s not what this video is about; but it is the starting point.

You hate the sound of your recorded voice largely because it’s unfamiliar. It’s not what you’re used to hearing. The voice you hear inside your head, when you’re speaking, is not the voice that the recorder picks up or your listener hears. That’s true for every human being. You hear only a distorted version of your own voice. So think about that.

Monitoring your speech by listening to yourself is actually a trap, because you don’t hear the way you sound, anyway. You end up working with bad feedback. For example, your voice sounds louder and deeper, inside your head, than it actually is out in the room, so you think you’re speaking with a strong, engaging tone—but actually you’re not.

That’s why it’s critical to shift your focus away from listening to the words you’re saying, and that you pay more attention to how your voice feels in your body while you’re speaking, the physical sensations of sound. I can imagine your looks of confusion. Bear with me.

Human speech is a physical process. The act of speaking is accompanied by a whole range of tangible sensations, the activity of muscles, the movement of breath, the vibration of sound, are just a few examples. Most people pay no attention to those sensations, at all. They’re completely focused on the thoughts, the words and how they sound.

You need to pay a lot of attention to those physical sensations, and here’s why. The better your voice feels to you, the better you sound to us. When your voice feels relaxed and easy to you, it sounds relaxed and easy to us. When your voice feels strong and deep to you, it sounds strong and deep to us. On that happy day when your voice feels great, you will sound great to us. I guarantee it.

Every skilled speaker knows this: You cannot listen to yourself. Yes, of course you’ll still hear yourself, but you’re not listening to yourself. If you do, you’ll be off the tracks very quickly. You have to know how your optimal speaking voice feels, and that’s how you monitor how well you’re performing.

So, no pretty sounds when you’re speaking. That’s not what you’re trying to do. All you should care about is noticing how a phrase feels, and asking yourself what you might do differently so the next phrase feels even better. Feeling sounds.

I know I sound like I’m on drugs, but this is such a critical part of speaking. If you’re always listening to yourself, you will never find your whole voice, because in the act of listening, you will instinctively stay close to what sounds familiar—and that’s your old voice. By paying attention to something completely different, the physical sensations of speech, you start to open doors for something new and transforming.

I hope this suggests a whole new way of approaching your practice, that it uncovers more potential for progress and ultimately transforms how you feel about your own voice. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you in the next video.

So You Hate the Sound of Your Voice

Like many people, you might have a negative reaction when hearing a recording of your speaking voice. The voice you’re used to hearing inside your head is not the voice your friends and family are used to hearing. That’s not a news flash, but have you stopped to consider what that means for everyday speech and presentation? There’s a reliable way to monitor your speaking voice, and it might surprise you.