How to Project Your Voice

If you need to project your voice and make yourself heard, The Public Speaker has 3 tips for how to make your voice bigger (rather than just louder). 

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read
Episode #248

Most people only fill the top of their lungs when they breathe, but in fact, your lungs are larger at the bottom than at the top.  To get a good breath, you need to fill your lungs all the way to the bottom.   Ask any musician who plays a trumpet, tuba, or any other wind instrument and they will tell you that your waist and abdomen must move outward as you inhale and back in as you exhale.  Your chest stays quiet. 

If you’ve never done this before, imagine that you are filling your lungs from the bottom up, as if it were water instead of air. Place your hands on your abdomen. You should be able to feel and see your abdomen push out when you breathe properly. Keep your hands there to feel it deflate as you speak.

Tip #2: Articulate with Energy

You might not realize that how well you articulate your words impacts how far your voice carries. You have all the tools you need to articulate clearly; the jaw, the lips, and the tongue. But most people have rather lazy diction (including me!).  You need to use these tools with energy to create clear, crisp consonants.

When you put energy into your muscles of articulation, your voice will lift up and away from your throat muscles and into your face. It actually moves into your cheeks bones and sinus cavities.

See also: How to Stop Mumbling and Be Heard

Your cheek bones act like the sounding board of a piano, and your sinus cavities (assuming you don’t have a cold) resonate like a big, open room.  That means your voice will have more resonance and will project better to your listeners.

Think of how much energy it takes to run the length of a soccer field or basketball court.  Clear articulation requires just as much energy; you’re simply using smaller muscles.

Tip #3: Don’t Push Your Voice Harder - Make it Bigger

Have you ever been in this situation: You’re trying to make an announcement, but the noise in the room is drowning you out. You ask for quiet, but no one hears you. So you raise your voice, and then raise it again. It still doesn’t work. Someone finally whistles loudly and the noise stops so you can talk. But afterward your throat muscles tense up and you find yourself rubbing them and looking for a glass of water.

When you push your voice, you really don’t make yourself easier to hear. Instead you make yourself hoarse and you might even damage your vocal cords.

Instead of pushing, imagine that the inside of your throat and mouth are large, as large as the room you’re speaking in.  That will cause all the muscles around the inside of your throat to pull away, just as they do when you are yawning.  The bigger the space inside, the bigger the voice outside.

We’re out of time for today but I’ve only just scratched the surface of this topic.  In an upcoming episode, I'll give you some specific vocal exercises that will help you relax your voice and project. This is Lisa B. Marshall, Helping you maximize sales, manage perceptions, and enhance leadership through keynotes, workshops, books, and online courses. Passionate about communication; your success is my business.

If you haven’t added Smart Talk (the podcast) to your podcast reader, what are you waiting for?  I’ve been busy interviewing some exceptionally talented folks who are sharing about leadership, management, and communication.  The interviews always include practical ideas to help you unleash and amplify the extraordinary person that is already inside of you.  

Man speaking and trumpet player images courtesy of Shutterstock. Jose Carreras image by Ivica Drusany/Shutterstock.com


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.