There are so many tips and tricks for boosting self-esteem, and projecting a sense of ease. But one of the easiest ways is to simply play around with the inflections of your voice, in order to command attention, get your point across, and seem more confident.
While it's not necessary to completely change your natural voice in order to sound confident, slightly altering the pitch can have a pretty powerful affect. This is along the same lines as standing up straighter and putting your shoulders back. You know how that can make you feel more confident? The same can be true for slightly adjusting your voice.
"Voice has a lot to do with how we interact with each other," Maraliz Campos, a certified sound practitioner and meditation instructor, tells Bustle. "One of the most immediate ways to influence the vagus nerve — the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system that has both sympathetic and parasympathetic functions — is through auditory stimulation. Therefore, the sounds we hear have a direct impact on our stress levels causing us to gravitate to sounds and voices that are pleasurable."
But it's not just about how you come across to others. "It's also worth noting that your voice not only effects your listener, but how confident you feel about yourself," Robin Greenwood, founder of the voice coaching app Astound, tells Bustle. So if you're looking for a little boost before going into a job interview, giving a speech, or heading out on a date, these tips can come in handy. Here are a few ways experts say you can inflect your voice and sound more relaxed and confident — in any situation.
1. Speak From Your Diaphragm
To have a more commanding voice — the kind that will project to the back of a room — you can try to speak from your abdomen. "A diaphragm voice is the strongest of all voices," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "The first step to achieving a diaphragm voice would be to train yourself to breathe from your diaphragm. To do this you will need to practice breathing calmly."
Here's how: "When you inhale, your belly should rise and when you exhale, your belly should fall," Backe says. "Once you become accustomed to breathing from your diaphragm, you will notice that you’re beginning to speak from your diaphragm."
This type of speaking voice can come in handy whilst giving speeches, during job interviews, or whenever you really need people to hear what you have to say.
2. Smile While You Talk
One way to sound warm and friendly while speaking is to smile just a little bit. "Inflections are impacted by your mood and your mood is influenced by your facial expressions," Maraliz Campos, a certified sound practitioner and meditation instructor, tells Bustle. "Have you ever heard someone smiling on the other end of a call? Even hearing someone else smiling as they speak can elevate the convo vibe."
While you obviously don't have to smile all day long if you don't want to, this trick can help your voice sound friendlier and put others at ease. And when that happens, it can truly help you feel more confident.
3. Yawn First
If you want to project your voice, it can help to yawn before speaking. "Yawning helps relax your throat muscles and vocal chords, giving you a deeper voice," Greenwood says. This can help you project which can, in turn, make you feel more confident.
4. Massage Your Jaw
Massaging your jaw can also help your throat relax, and make your voice easier to hear. To do so, "open your mouth slightly so that your teeth are apart, and use your fingers to gently massage your outer jaw," Greenwood says. "This might hurt at first, since these are your strongest muscles, and are often overlooked. The more relaxed they are the wider you can open your mouth." And the more confident your voice will sound when you speak.
5. Stand Up Straight
If you think of your body as an instrument to project your voice, then it makes sense why you might want to stand up straighter, so that everything can flow properly.
"As a resonator, your torso is a vital component in the quality of your voice," Campos says. "If you stand straight, you'll breathe deeper and resonate more efficiently. You'll also experience a boost in confidence which will favorably impact how you sound to those around you."
6. Make Sure You Enunciate
Most of us mumble a bit when speaking, and it's hardly ever a big deal. But when you want to make a point or seem extra confident, enunciating each word can definitely help.
"Mumbling comes across as insecurity, and people won't be drawn to you if they think you don't trust your own words," Campos says. She suggests a quick voice perfecting technique, to help with enunciating.
"Take a wine cork and place it between your teeth. Read the lyrics to one of two of your favorite songs. Remove the cork and read them again. Notice the difference in articulation." Now, practice speaking the same way, sans wine cork.
7. Take Time To Pause
To come off as extra confident, it's often helpful to take a quick pause before speaking. "By pausing, you allow time to get your thoughts in order, inciting confidence in your voice, and lessening the chances that you'll inject 'ums' and 'uhs' into your convo," Campos says. It also shows the listener that you're relaxed, which can help them feel more at ease, too.
8. Slow Down Your Breathing
When we get nervous, it's common to breathe faster. So taking the time to purposefully slow breathing down can calm the voice, too. As Campos says, "Slow down your breathing and the pace of your speech tends to follow suit. Rapid speech often elicits lack of trust, anxiety, and stress in the listener."
9. Find Your Natural Pitch
To figure out the natural pitch of your voice, try this little experiment. "Keeping your mouth closed, let your lower jaw drop (like yawning but with your lips closed). Start to hum the 'mmm' sound from a higher pitch down to a lower pitch, and place your fingers on your lips to feel the vibrations," Greenwood says. "When you feel like the vibrations are the strongest — you've found your natural authentic pitch. Now when you start talking, use that pitch as your starting point." That'll be your most "natural voice" and the one that'll feel most comfortable.
10. Match Their Energy
If you're looking for some inspiration, try mimicking the voice of the person you're speaking to — in a subtle way. "If they speak rapidly, speed up. If they talk slow, calm down," Spike Spencer, executive consultant and voice actor, tells Bustle. "We like those like us. When you get on their energy level, you will develop deeper rapport quickly."
11. Lower Your Voice Just A Tad
Again, it's not necessary to change your voice in order to project confidence, or be taken seriously. But it can be fun to play around with how simple adjustments can affect others.
Take lowering your voice, for example. "Studies show that we perceive people with deeper voices as more trustworthy," Greenwood says. So it might be helpful to slightly lower your voice when you're say, striking a business deal.
"In order to deepen your voice try this exercise," Spencer says. "Open your throat and talk from there. Just stick out your tongue and say 'ahhhh.' Feel that constriction in the back of your throat? That is your throat opening. Play with speaking from there."
These little tricks can help you come off as more confident to others, while feeling more confident yourself. And while it's not necessary to make a permanent change to your voice, if you're trying to seem more confident or charismatic, it's definitely possible to do so.