Nervousness- What to do When Your Voice Fails You
Our voices are an extremely important part of our lives, and for most of us, they are critical in helping us communicate and express ourselves. However, there are times when our voices aren’t responding exactly the way we would like. Sometimes this is due to overuse or illness. Other times it might be due to allergies or even anxiety and nervousness.
The most important thing to know about nervousness, anxiety and stage fright is that not only are all of these the exact same thing, so is excitement, anticipation and joy. Biologically, each of these is the psychological effect brought on by the body releasing a high dose of adrenaline in its system. Therefore, you get to choose what you call that biochemical release, which changes the psychology of it. In other words, think of nervousness, anxiety and stage fright as excitement, anticipation and joy, and you’re already a significant step ahead in managing your problem with stage fright.
This pertains to vocal care in several ways such as if an adrenaline surge goes unchecked, it can cause physiological problems with the voice like shallow breathing, trembling voice, dry mouth and stressed cords leading to hoarseness and actually could pave the way to true vocal damage due to misuse of the voice.
Nervousness when speaking can lead to a noticeable change in your voice tone, which can be problematic in many circumstances. For instance, a shaky voice during a public presentation or during an important conversation can reflect poorly on your confidence in your subject and even your confidence as a person. This can have negative consequences in many areas of your life from job interviews and sales pitches to even having a successful date if you find your voice shaking on a first phone call or a first meeting.
Feeling a sense of inner confidence is key, and a first step to overcoming a nervous voice. Concentrate on conveying confidence over perfectionism. If your voice sounds confident, you appear to be an authority on your subject, even if that subject is personal and about you. Volume has a little to do with it, and so does diction-enunciating your words clearly and using appropriate inflection. A good tip is to practice-even emulating a speech given by someone else or a monologue delivered by a skilled actor can help you improve and polish a confident delivery.
Maintain a sense of energy in your speech-again enunciating your words, using proper diction is very helpful. When your words fade off or sound mumbled, you appear less confident. To keep energy up, skip the coffee and instead take in some exercise in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast, listen to music that help you get charged up.
Practice-your speech, interview, pitch… Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself or invite a friendly audience over to hear you. Practice until you can’t get it wrong not just until you finally get it right. This strategy might not help you so much as you prepare for a date, but going on several dates will certainly help prepare you for the next one.
Posture is more important than you might think. Having good posture not only relays a sense of confidence, but it helps you attain and maintain proper breath support. One of the primary causes of a shaky voice is that you are not engaging your breath and supporting it properly. Stand up straight, head forward, shoulders back but relaxed, and breathe deeply, keeping your shoulders from rising and feeling your diaphragm extend through your waist. Then, speak, feeling a bit of tension in your waist, supporting your breath with energy. That should greatly reduce instances of your voice shaking from nerves.