Today we are living in a precarious situation because of COVID-19 in which we need to stay 6 feet away from others when we are outside of our homes. Have you considered what is happening to your voice when you are wearing a mask and need to be heard when speaking? Most likely, your voice will be softer in volume and muffled because the mask is preventing clear sound.
In teaching voice, I discuss different volume levels with Volume 1 being the amount of sound most of us use throughout the day. Volume 2 is about a 50% increase and is the amount of sound you would use in a large conference room or small church without a microphone. Volume 3 is a doubling of Volume 1 and is what would be required of the actors in theaters if they were not using microphones.
If you are wearing a mask, you need to make a conscious effort to increase your volume if you expect to be heard. While you do not need a true Volume 2 (1.5) in most cases, you should probably increase your volume to about 1.25.
And if you are soft-spoken, I guarantee you are not being heard because your habitual volume is somewhere around .8 or .85. (This is why you are continually asked to repeat yourself.)
Unfortunately, most people who need to increase their volume beyond Volume 1 end up shouting because they do not know how to increase their volume correctly. In order to increase your volume without shouting or yelling, however, you must learn how to project your voice. A projected voice cuts through the mask so that your voice is not muffled. The result is clear speech which can be heard and understood.
Projection relies on the power from your chest cavity and not your throat. Therefore, to increase your volume properly, you must do 2 things first:
1. breathe with the support of your diaphragm, and;
2. discover the optimum range of your speaking voice which in most cases will be deeper in pitch than your habitual voice.
[By the way, the voice which is powered by means of the chest cavity is richer, warmer, and sounds more mature. Think James Earl Jones or Julia Ormond.]
If it is of value to you to be heard and understood, consider what voice training could do for you. Many people today are working from home – what a great time to discover your ‘real’ voice and be heard comfortably without shouting or yelling.
If you would like to see some wonderful ‘before & after’ video clips, visit Voice Dynamic.
The Voice Lady, Nancy Daniels, offers workshops, private Zoom sessions, and Voicing It, her video training program on voice improvement and presentation skills