As a teenager I hated my voice. It sounded thin, high-pitched and had no power. Nobody heard me in loud environments. Nobody noticed when I threw in something in a group discussion, so these conversations went mostly without my input. I would just sit by and say nothing, and if I did, it was mostly to no avail. I felt excluded, and that had a worse effect on my confidence than almost anything else.
The only times I had a cool, deep voice was after a night of drinks and parties. Alcohol, combined with trying to talk to someone over loud music has that effect. Smoking is supposed to help, too, but I never tested that.
These hungover Sunday mornings gave me a glimpse of what my voice could sound like, but without sustainability. It was low and manly, but it would also break frequently, more than once earning me unwanted laughter.
I thought it would get better after adolescence, but it didn’t. Ok, at least my voice stopped breaking so often. But it still did, occasionally.
Around the age of 17 I started taking vocal lessons, and that helped. I learned about deep breathing, which is by far the most important step to getting the voice you want.
The lessons also helped me loosen up in general and made me more comfortable with expressing myself.
But I was still only halfway there. Immediately after the lessons, I felt and sounded great, but the effects would quickly wear off after I returned to my normal life.
A more profound change was needed.
To Achieve Lasting Change, We Need to Form Habits
I trained my body to breathe deeper by meditating every day, as well as becoming aware of my breathing as often as possible throughout the day. This has tons of other benefits beside improving your voice.
It helps you become more present and calm, which are two essential prerequisites to handle any given situation and improve your overall quality of life.
Besides deep breathing and becoming more comfortable with your voice and with expressing yourself, there are also some hard and fast techniques that help your voice "man up" instantly.
One simple thing that is often overlooked is just taking a deep breath before you talk. If you do this, your voice has more space to resonate, and you can speak longer sentences without pausing for a breath at the wrong moment. This should be obvious, but it isn't.
Another great technique is stretching and warming up your vocal chords, as shown in this video.
If you can't watch the video, here's a brief description.
1. Look to the sky or the ceiling.
2. Touch your upper lip with your tongue in a way that stretches the vocal chords but isn't painful.
3. Hum to make your vocal chords vibrate.
4. Ignore the people around you giving you weird glances or laughing.
I often do this when I'm alone (in elevators for example) because it seems strange. But it works like a charm.
Deep breathing results in a deep voice.
That's the most important thing to remember.
Meditation can help you condition your body to do that on autopilot.
Breathe in before you talk.
Stretch your vocal chords.
Do you have any other techniques or tips?
Did you or do you have similar problems?