One of my favorite speech exercises to open up the back of the throat and allow you to speak with more control is the “ho ho ho” exercise. Yes, it’s just like Santa has come to town, only in this case: you are Santa!
To do this exercise, you have to get in touch with your “inner child,” so you probably don’t want to do this at work. Make sure you have some privacy and can be loud. Then allow your neck to elongate (the top of your head goes to the ceiling) and your eyes are at “eye level” (that way you know you aren’t squeezing your neck; if you do, your eyes will look upward). It’s also a good idea to “ground” through the feet before starting the exercise. I often do this one seated, where more grounding is a good idea. When standing, of course, you are already “grounded”. Have you ever noticed it’s harder to speak louder and project your voice while seated? That’s why it’s a good idea to practice while seated since many of us want to speak up with less effort in meetings.
Once you have a good, strong, supportive posture, open the back of your throat and laugh like Santa “ho ho ho”. How long and loud can you go? Can you change vowels “ha ha ha ha” and “he he he he” and “hu hu hu hu” and then mix them up “he ha ha ho hu hu ho ho he”? The key is to open and activate the back of the mouth by allowing the sounds to come from the throat and vibrate or resonate in the back of the mouth.
After you finish doing this a few times, speak aloud as if you are addressing a large audience, “Good Morning Everyone! Welcome to the Conference!” How do you sound?
Remember to record yourself and to do a “before” and an “after” video so you can hear the difference. This is an easy exercise to add to your daily warm ups, and it will improve your public speaking voice!
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