How to Fix Your Voice

Do you hate your voice? Reader Siri C recently wrote to me, saying she is very self conscious about her voice yet would like to host her own podcast. Whether you are podcaster, a speaker, an actor, or a business professional, developing the quality of your voice will help you to have a powerful delivery.

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read
Episode #333

Here’s the email I recently received from reader, Siri: 

Hi Lisa,

I want to start a podcast on my own…Since I never made a podcast or spoke in one, I am very self-conscious and do not know where to start! I am also very conscious of my voice as it is not as smooth as yours (I love your voice!). I’m afraid I may not sound entertaining or confident. 

Can you please give some tips on how to deliver with a bad voice?

Thank you, Siri C. ....

Hi Siri,

Thanks for your question. Although you’re right to think about your vocal quality, I think just about everyone says, “I hate the sound of my voice.” You may be surprised that you voice is better than you think!

However, when you are a podcaster, especially someone that wants to podcast stories, the quality of your voice is important. How you sound when you tell your story can be more important than the story you’re telling. In fact, "one of the most compelling sounds for the human ear is the sound of another human voice,” says David Candow, the now deceased voice coach for some of NPR’s most well-known hosts since 1995. 

Siri, since you didn't really describe why you think you have a "bad voice," I'll cover the most common issues people have with their voice.  

Breathe Properly

The basis for a better voice starts with proper breathing. Deep breathing, rather than shallow, helps develop a strong voice.Actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth highlights this vocal success secret in a funny video clip I saw recently. She teaches talk show host Conan O’Brian this proper breathing technique and they both use it to sing Puccini! You can learn more about the link between correct breathing and vocal strength by listening to my podcast, How to Breathe Properly.

Warm Up Your Voice

Next, athletes warm their muscles prior to competition to achieve maximum results on the playing field. Voices need similar care. Effective ways to prime vocal chords before speaking include: resting your voice before a presentation, saying tongue twisters to exercise mouth muscles, and singing scales (whether you can carry a tune or not!). My podcast, Warm Up Your Voice, provides more specifics on warming and maintaining a healthy voice.


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.