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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Do We Take Our Voice For Granted?

Last Saturday morning I attended a seminar on the use of
our voice called "Performing What We Say". It was practical
as the listeners were encouraged to participate, which makes
it memorable.

These are the most relevant ideas discussed in the seminar:

  • In our communication process, 7% of our message is expressed with words, 38% with our voice and 55% with our bodies.
  • The voice is the sound factory. It's articulated air.
  • Before speaking/giving a class it's essential to be relaxed and to stand in the right way. There are many exercises to relax the neck, shoulders and the face muscles.
  • Coughing so as to clear our throat is bad for our vocal cords. The correct way of keeping our throat humid is drinking water.
  • Our vocal cords are affected by extreme coldness and by extreme heat.
  • When we speak, we should vary our tone of voice so as not to bore our audience.
  • The features of the voice are: the tone (acute or grave), the pitch, intensity, rythm, duration (length of the phonemes).
  • The personality of the voice is determined by the individual's anatomy.
  • The most common speech malfunctions are: synaloepha (linking the final vowel of a word to the initial vowel of another word), omitting the pronunciation of some letters, wrong word stress in a statement, use of a monotone, lack of air, dropping the end of statements, nasalization.
  • Our bodies confer meaning.
An interesting exercise we did during the meeting was called "the funnel". In groups of three members, we had to stand facing each other at a distance and forming an imaginary triangle. All the triangles crossed each other. We had to tell the other members of our group what we had done the previous weekend and made ourselves audible. The idea was to check the intensity of our voice.
At the end of the seminar, we were given tips on how to speak in public as to body posture, gestures and the most suitable clothes to wear. As a kind of conclusion, we watched a video and some of us made a presentation of the video and others participated in interviews connected to it. Then we commented on all the aspects we had discussed.

All in all, the seminar made me aware of the importance of taking care of my voice and of using it in the most effective way.

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