How To Project Your Voice

Project My Voice Step One: Test

“How do I project my voice?” is a very common question I’ve heard Project Voice and Increase Volumefrom clients over the years. To them, they think they are speaking way too loudly–as if they are screaming, when they really are speaking quite softly.  To find out if this is you…ask a trusted friend to stand in the back of a room. You say, “This is test A of my volume.” Deliver test A at volume level of “5” something not too loud and something not too soft.  Then do it again with test B, however during test B speak  at your level “9” then ask your friend for their ratings.  I’d bet $1000 dollars they don’t match. I know from experience that your test B was probably a level “5” (at best) for your friend.

Listen to my podcast on How To Project Your Voice  or sign-up for my Powerful Presenter course.


I also invite you to explore these related topics via Macmillan’s Quick and Dirty Tips website:

How Fix A Monotone Voice
Why You Hate Your Voice
Are Your Straining Your Voice with Vocal Fry?
How to Warm Up Your Voice
Do You Have a Radio Voice?
Vocal Exercises for Better Public Speaking
How To Sound Better
Mumbling is a Credibility Killer – Stop Now!
How to Stop Mumbling and Be Clear
How to Improve Diction and Speak Clearly and Crisply


Project Your Voice Step Two:  Breathe

But if you are already reading this you’ve probably been told you need to project your voice.  So you ask, how exactly do I increase the volume of my voice?  How exactly do I project my voice?  Well, the first step is simply know that you when you speak at level 9 others will actually perceive it as just right–so speak at level 9.  But you’ll need to do it properly or you’ll hurt your voice.

The first reaction of most people then is to tense up their neck and shoulders and try to “scream” out to gain volume. But I’m sure you know from experience, that you can’t sustain that type of increased volume.  Why? Because it’s strains your voice.  After yelling at a football game all day you find you can’t speak the next day, right?

What most people don’t take into account is that the breathe is what powers your voice.  The more breathe the volume and strength to your voice.  So the most important first step is to learn how to breathe properly. That is you need proper breath control.  Of course, the way you breathe affects the way your voice comes out.  After all, air flowing over your vocal cords is the reason you have a voice at all.

If you breathe shallowly, you will quickly run out of air, and then your throat muscles tense up to try to squeeze the sound out.  Your voice will sound strained and lack carrying power.  It’s hard on your vocal cords, too. (This is what most people do–especially at football games!)

In order to project your voice or speak with more volume you are going to need to breathe more deeply and take more breathes. Probably more than you are used to and it may feel a bit weird, but don’t worry–breathing is the most natural thing we do!

When you take the time to fill your lungs, it’s as if your voice is riding on a supportive cushion of air, and your throat muscles can stay relaxed.  Your voice will carry better and have a richer, more pleasing sound.

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.  Look in the mirror. Yes, right now go the mirror and take a deep breathe.  Did your shoulders go up?  Did you see tension in your neck or jaw?If so, you need to keep reading to learn how to breath properly!

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. Now move your hands to your back and lay them flat, just below the bottom of your rib cage.  Now take a deep breathe and imagine filling your hands as you draw in more and more air.

I’ve written in more detail about how to breathe to properly to support your breath and project better or listen to the podcast how to breathe properly.

To project your voice or raise the volume naturally you’ll need to feel comfortable with deep breathing.  I recommend you practice proper breathing everyday, several times a day, for a least one week in a row.  Set a daily calendar reminder for yourself to breathe.  I know it sounds silly–but well worth the effort, promise.

To learn more sign-up for my Powerful Presenter course.

Project Your Voice Step Three:  Articulate with EnergyProject My Voice and Increase Volume

Once you have the breathe, you need to create the sound properly.  The first step is to try creating a sound using your deeper breath. Try saying “ah” or “ee” but imagine the sound coming from below your ribs and in the back.  Try this a few times.  Really put your breathe behind the sound.  Can you hear the volume?  Great, right?

No , you say? Think about step one the test. I think that many people just don’t want to allow themselves to get loud or allow themselves to use their full breathe.  Many clients have said,”I don’t want to stand out.”  “Talking that loud is weird.”  “It’s just too much!”  Well, the best way to test is to back to your trusted friend and ask.

So let yourself do it! Make noise!   (Here’s a great video on how to project your voice from Celia Mitchell who talks about many of the things I’ve covered.  I really like her personality and you can hear what I’m talking about in her video.

Next, 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.

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.

I’ve written about this in more detail here: How to Stop Mumbling and Be Heard  or you can listen to How To Stop Mumbling and Be Heard

Project Your Voice Step Four:  Learn More About Your Voice

Here are all my related episodes posted on Quick and Dirty Tips.  I invite you to also sign-up for my Powerful Presenter course.:

How to Project Your Voice
How Fix A Monotone Voice
Why You Hate Your Voice
Are Your Straining Your Voice with Vocal Fry?
How to Warm Up Your Voice
Do You Have a Radio Voice?
Vocal Exercises for Better Public Speaking
How To Sound Better
Mumbling is a Credibility Killer – Stop Now!
How to Stop Mumbling and Be Clear
How to Improve Diction and Speak Clearly and Crisply

To learn more sign-up for my Powerful Presenter course.

There is 1 comment .

Joyce —

I am a toastmaster and current Area Director. Thank you for the free DISC analysis! I learned a lot that will help me become a better leader this year. Is there any way I can have my 17 year old son complete it? He is just about to start his first job hunt. Thank you

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