Learnership Management System

What do you sound like?

Dis pat wunt be necissry if peopled jus learnta speak cleara. Doncha rememba sittin an trynta unistan somebiddy whouz talkin bout sometain that sposdtube interestin, but you can’t quite gittit cause the speechuz sloppy?

If some of us wrote the way we spoke the above paragraph is what it might look like.

How Do You Sound?

English-speaking audiences respond positively to rich, deep, well-modulated, dynamic voices that carry conviction and
credibility.

Very few people recognise their own voices, for thevoice you hear from inside is not the voice the audience hears.

When you hear your voice on tape, you’re apt to say, ‘That doesn’t sound like me!’ You dismiss the sound of your voice and don’t give it the attention it deserves.

The speaker must realise that the voice is the instrument that carries the spoken message.

Important as your message may be, it can be marred if the voice is unpleasant to the listeners’ ears. Voice blemishes can destroy or shatter an otherwise appealing image. They can rob the presenter’s of power, authority, and persuasion.

How to evaluate your voice

    • Recognise that the voice you hear on a good tape or video recorder is the voice that people hear.
    • Be objective and recognise the fact that voices cannot be changed, but they can be improved.
    • Realise that your voice is distinctive to you as distinctive as your fingerprints.
    • Isolate and become aware of the blemishes that may prevent your voice from being as pleasant and powerful as it might be.

1. Are you a nose talker, a honker (nasal)?

When you talk through your nose, you twang. Test yourself by clasping your nose between your thumb and forefinger. Say: ‘She sang 17 songs and swooned.’ Your fingers will pick up the vibration caused in your nose by ‘m’, ‘n’ and ‘ng’, the only nasal sounds in the English language. Hold your nostrils and say, ‘Woe, oh woe, oh woe.’ The sound should come entirely from your mouth. Try ‘Sew, sew’, and ‘Low, low’. Again the sound comes from the mouth. If you buzz or feel the sound trying to come through the nose, even on ‘o’ or the 1′, you are a nose talker.

2. Are you a shrieker (strident, shrill)?

Look at yourself in the mirror as you speak. Does your neck look taut? Do the veins and cords stand out like ropes? Are the muscles around your chin tight to the eye and the touch? If they are, you probably sound like a seagull. Try tying a ribbon round your neck, at the level of your Adam’s apple. If you feel the ribbon choking you as you approach the end of each sentence, your voice is strident and forced.

3. Are you there (lack of projection)?

Do you sound weary and depressed? Do you constantly have to repeat because people do not hear you? Do people take what you have to say seriously or do they think you are cute (an adjective usually applied to women)? Place a finger on your Adam’s apple and say ‘Zzzzzz’. You’ll feel abuzz. It is a voiced sound which means the vocal cords are in vibration. Place your finger on your Adam’s apple and say ‘Ssssss’. Your larynx doesn’t vibrate. It is the unvoiced whispered counterpart of ‘zzzz.’ With your finger still on your larynx, make a remark in your normal voice. If the tell-tale buzz is missing, you’re probably a whisperer. Many sex symbol starlets affect a breathy voice which they feel enhances their appeal. But that’s not the image you want.

4. Are you a fader (unsupported breath)?

A close relative to the whisperer is the fader. If you start
sentences with enough volume and vitality but fade off at the ends, your voice is not well supported and your breathing is probably high in the chest when it should be in the middle of the body.

5. Do you mumble?

A mumbler, like a whisperer, manages to keep secrets even when trying to reveal them. If you run words together, omitting whole syllables, you’re a mumbler. Your lips and tongue are lazy. Speak into a mirror. If your lips barely move, you’re mumbling. You know for certain that you mumble when people mistake what you said for something else.

6. Do you have lockjaw (tension in the jaw)?

If your jaw is tense, your mouth can’t open to let the sound out. Your tongue can’t move freely to make crisp, clear consonants. A tight jaw contributes to a mumbled sound. Check your mirror once again. Does your mouth open when you speak or do the words have to make their way past clenched teeth?

7. Are you a foghorn (hoarse and raspy)?

If your throat tires quickly when you talk; if you’re constantly trying to clear it; if you’re constantly hoarse even though you don’t have a cold, don’t smoke, and are told by a doctor that there is nothing organically wrong with your throat, you’re not using your breath properly to support your voice.
The result is a fuzzy, foggy, or grating sound that irritates the listener’s ears as well as your throat. Excessive shouting (as opposed to projecting) can produce a hoarse, raspy voice.

8. Monotonous?

There is no such thing as a monotone voice speaking on one note. But there are certainly boring voices. The average speaking voice runs a scale of 12 to 20 notes. Unfortunately, some people use only about five of them. If you are one of those, your voice has all the fascination of a dripping tap you drip, drip, drone; others doze. Record yourself in conversation. Record yourself speaking formally and reading aloud. Do you vary the pitch, the pacing, the emphasis according to the sense? Or does every sentence sound like the one before? Does every word sound like another? Does each sentence end on the same note?

9. Do you speak too fast too slow (rate)?

Do you speak so quickly that people give up trying to keep up? Or do you find that others often complete sentences for you rather than wait until you finish? People speak an average of 150 words per minute. You must take the comments of your listeners seriously. What may seem right to you may be far too fast or too slow for the listener, who must receive the message. Rapid rate coupled with poor articulation and accent or dialect can make understanding impossible. A slow rate of speech in a hot climate seems natural, but listeners in a cold climate will become impatient.

10. Do you have a speech appendage?

Speech appendages are untidy additions you don’t need. They’re the mispronunciations, verbalised pauses, non-phrases, incorrect sounds, and tag ends. Speech should be clean-shaven. ‘Um’ and ‘ah’ may fill a pause but they don’t mean anything except that you left your motor running. You know, like, okay, right and eh give away the fact that you’re unsure of yourself.

II. Do you speak with a dialect or have an accent?

Every country has regional dialects. The United Kingdom abounds in them. Americans can quickly identify Texans, New Englanders, and New Yorkers. Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians all speak English but each region has a particular identifying sound. The influx of immigrants to English-speaking countries has produced accented speech. The ‘th’ sound is substituted with ‘f, ‘d’, ‘s’, ‘z’ or ‘f. The 1′ and ‘r’ sounds may be reversed or replaced with ‘o’. ‘V’ and ‘w’ may be reversed and final ‘ed’s’ missing. Dialects and accents can be charming and distinctive. However, if they interfere with the communication process, you should consider working to clarify sounds.