How Would You Describe the Quality of Your Speaking Voice?

Whiny – high in pitch – nasal – hoarse – throaty – gravelly – scratchy – whispery – soft – loud – shrill – strident – thick – thin – childlike – old – muddy – chirpy – sharp – raspy – tight – wispy – wimpy – shaky – heavy accent.

If just one of those descriptions is typical of how you sound, you should think about a course in voice improvement because the words that describe a dynamic speaking voice are not found in that list.

Those descriptions would be rich – warm – deep – and full of resonance.

You may have noticed that the monotone voice and mumbling were not included in the above example because neither of those characteristics describe the actual quality of the voice. They describe what you are doing (or not doing) with the voice and will need additional work.

Should you be displeased with how you sound, do some research and find someone who will teach you how to use your chest as your primary sounding board. This is a priority because all of those adjectives, whatever they may be, will disappear once you have learned to place your voice in your chest cavity. It is truly amazing to see and ‘hear’ how this works.

Stay away from those who want to give you various exercises to fix whatever adjective describes your voice. Aside from mumbling, excessive nasality, and the monotone voice, the rest of those other descriptive ‘qualities’ will be gone once you place your voice properly.

If you have chronic hoarseness and are not sick, for example, then you are probably suffering from vocal abuse. Once you use your chest to power your sound, you will immediately stop the stress on your vocal folds (cords); thus, your vocal abuse will gone. If you sound like a child (and are over 21), powering your voice from your chest will give you a mature sound – not too old, not too young – ageless. If you speak with a heavy accent, for example, your diction will improve.

Even some slight nasality can be eliminated when you change your voice placement. Excessive nasality, however, which is typical of Brooklyn or the Bronx or even Philly, will probably need some additional work.

Finding your ‘real’ voice is a wonderful means of increasing your self-esteem. Imagine sounding better, looking better, and feeling better about yourself just by changing where you place your voice. It’s that simple!


If you are interested in finding your ‘real’ voice in a Voice & Presentation Skills Workshop, visit the Workshop page on my website for this year’s schedule.

9 Responses to How Would You Describe the Quality of Your Speaking Voice?

  1. ihsan says:

    Thanx for the reply. I already have the dvd. Now, I am bit confuse the step to cure it whether I should start with practice breathing with diaphragm or finding my optimum pitch. Plus how to know whether I should finding with “o” or “a” vowel since I feel my voice is too deep.One more thing, is it possible to correct my vocal abuse just in 3 weeks from now?

  2. What you have definitely sounds like vocal abuse or voice abuse. If your voice is coming primarily from your upper throat, then you are pushing too hard. And, your voice will disappear in a crowd, for example, because that area of your throat doesn’t have the power to give you any volume. Many who are soft-spoken are pushing from there. If you use your chest as your primary sounding board, however, your volume will increase automatically. In addition you will be able to increase your volume to Level 2 without shouting or hurting your throat. Yes, my training, Voicing It!, takes you through the whole process. Plus, I am here for you if you have questions or just want to talk.

    Thank you for your comment.

  3. ihsan says:

    Hi nancy..I’m lucky enough to get know your wonderful program. But I have big problem with my voice over 6 years until now. I feel that my voice come out from upper throat. My voice is too soft if you ask. In a crowd or noisy place, my voice just disappear. It is very frustrated. I cannot sing,shout because it is like something restrain my voice. But I wonder if your program manage to solve my problem since I believe this is voice abuse!

  4. DLM,
    Now you’ve added another problem to the picture. I didn’t realize you were soft-spoken. Yes, you’ve got a throat problem. Your voice is stuck there. I question, however, if you really do know where your optimum pitch is or how to find it because, if you are doing this correctly, you will not be aware of the resonance in your jaw and hard palate as much as you will feel it in your mid-torso region.

    By the way, if you sound similar to Craig’s ‘before’ video clip, then you are doing it wrong. I would love to hear your voice. Why don’t you call my toll-free number: 1-888-627-2824 or if you are outside of the states, email me and I will phone you.

    PS – It is awfully difficult to fix a voice problem by words. That is why my training is on DVD. Just as you cannot become a great athlete or great pianist with a book, so too, it is near to impossible to find your ‘real’ voice by means of the written word.

  5. DLM says:

    I think my biggest problem is that my voice is in my lower throat. It sounds very similar to your client Craig’s before video. I think the reason I’m soft spoken is because I’m speaking too far back in the throat and the throat as a resonator is too soft of a surface to amplify sound. My optimum pitch feels like my sound is resonating along my jaw and hard palate.

  6. DLM,

    I would say you are on the right course. Your optimum pitch is within your optimum range. Your goal now is to make your true voice a habit.
    Your vocal cords? They’re still working when you power your sound with your chest — they’re just not working as hard. The wonderful thing about powering with your chest cavity is that it is much easier to speak, much more relaxing, and involves no pushing whatsoever with your throat and voice box.

  7. DLM says:

    I breathe with my diaphragm. I try to find the optimum pitch with vowel sounds (usually the “O” sound). I’m just curious to know what’s happening to the vocal cords and how the voice shifts into optimum pitch. I feel vibrations in the center of my chest when I speak, but I never get to optimum pitch sometimes. My ear can sense that it’s not right.

  8. DLM,

    Why do you want to raise your pitch? The vast majority (like 99.9999%) will find that their optimum pitch is lower — even if by a half-step — than their habitual pitch.

    The chest is the 5th resonator and is primary in my training. The reason it may be considered secondary by some is probably because very few are aware of it due to lazy or shallow breathing which again is typical of 99% of the population. Only when the diaphragm is involved in suppport of respiration, can one then use the chest as the primary sounding board.

    By the way, I don’t want you bringing your voice out of your throat…I want your chest cavity to take it over your throat.

  9. DLM says:

    Isn’t the chest a secondary resonator? I usually feel vibrations on the hard surfaces of my mouth and jaw first and then the chest kicks in. Also, do you know any good techniques for raising the pitch of the voice and bringing it out of the throat? I talked to a speech pathologist and they said I’ll need to see a coach in real life to help me. I can’t find one locally and don’t know which route to take. I feel like I’m very close to my optimal pitch sometimes but it never kicks in.

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