Warm Up Your Voice

How to keep your voice strong and healthy.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #48

General Preventative Maintenance

So as part of my general preventative maintenance of my voice, I try to sing every day. That helps to keep my muscles strong. Besides I like to sing. It puts me in a good mood and I can do it anywhere.

Again in the category of prevention, just like for your general health, the best thing you can do is stay hydrated. I drink plenty of water throughout the day. Also, I drink water before I go to bed and keep a glass by my bedside. If I wake up in the night, I take a drink. And, in the morning, I drink the rest of the water. My kids do this too now too.

Your vocal cords vibrate very fast and you need the water be sure the lubrication is the right consistency. It's kind of like keeping your motor oil clean. If it gets too thick and mucky it doesn't do as good a job. Basically, by having lots of water in your body it optimizes your throat's mucous production.

By the way, some of you may have heard that you should avoid milk because it stimulates mucous production. However, according to recent research there’s no proven correlation between drinking milk and excess mucus production. Turns out it only feels that way because there is a slight, temporary, thickening of saliva after drinking milk. So if you like to drink milk, go for it, but maybe not just right before speaking.

In addition to water, I enjoy drinking tea. Hot tea is very soothing. I mostly drink decaffeinated tea, because caffeine causes dehydration. Some people like to use “throat coat” tea which is an herbal blend that purports to support throat health.

Of course, both water and tea are ways to internally hydrate yourself, but you can also externally hydrate your vocal cords. I sometimes take a shower or just turn on the shower so I can breathe in the steam. Some people use a personal steamer. You could also run hot water and put a towel over your head and breathe in the steam. For similar hydrating reasons, some people like to regularly use a humidifier. (In fact, we keep our home humidified and one time the humidifier broke. I noticed it immediately because of the way my mouth and throat felt.).

Ok, so there you have it, some quick and dirty tips to warm up your voice and keep it healthy and strong. Scott, I can’t emphasize enough just how important this is. These tips are not just for performers and other professionals that put a stress and strain on their voice; it’s important for all of us to be able to communicate with a healthy and strong voice.

This is Lisa B. Marshall. Passionate about communication; your success is my business.

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If you have a question, send email to publicspeaker@quickanddirtytips.com. For information about keynote speeches or workshops, visit lisabmarshall.com.

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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.