A few years ago, my son’s 7th grade teacher had the strange ability to increase the volume of her voice by means of her nose. While I have worked with thousands of people in voice and presentation skills, this particular ‘skill’ is something I had never heard before and haven’t heard since. The majority of people who have excessive nasality when speaking are not amplifying their sound by means of their nose. As much as their voice may be making its final descent through the nasal passages, their increase in volume generally comes from their throat and voice box.

Because of the teacher’s unique ability to power or amplify her voice by means of her nose, the sound of her voice was incredibly loud, harsh, and sharp. If I had had to sit through her class for 7 hours a day, I think I would have lost my mind. What is interesting is that this woman was not from an area of the country that we generally attribute to nasality.

While I desperately wanted to approach her about her voice, I thought it might not be a good idea considering my son had 8 more months to sit in her class. The unfortunate thing about voice training is that as much I would love to be able to approach someone about their need for improvement, it can be a touchy issue – almost like handing someone a bottle of scope! Remember, you do not have the ability to hear yourself the way everyone else does which is why your voice on your answering machine or voicemail surprises, shocks, stuns, or dismays you. The good news is, however, that you can make a surprising change in your voice and one of those changes is learning how to eliminate excessive nasality.

Say the following sentence by tightening your jaw, exaggerating your enunciation and sending all of your sound up through your nose. (Yes, it will sound silly but try it because it works.)

I waited for the bead of water to drop.

Now relax your jaw. Open your mouth and make sure that the ‘knot’ right below your ears is unclenched. Your mouth should feel loose. There should be no tension, no tightness. This time say the same sentence by sending the words along the floor of your mouth.

The secret of this exercise is your ability to be able to go back and forth – exaggerating the nasal sound and then sending your words along the bottom of your mouth. (When I explain this to my clients, I tell them that I feel like I am going over my words when I send it through my nose; I am going under my words when I sail along the floor of my mouth.)

If you practice this enough, your inner ear will begin to notice the difference between excessive nasality and normal nasality. Over time it will recoil whenever you ‘strike a nasal cord.’

Nasality is an unpleasant characteristic and can sometimes make you sound too young. If you would like to please your listeners’ ears and sound more mature to boot, rid yourself of the extra nasals in your voice.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic or watch Nancy in a brief video as she describes The Power of Your Speaking Voice.

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