How To Warm Up Your Voice For Speaking

How To Warm Up Your Voice For Speaking

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It's important warm up your voice before giving a speech or making a presentation, because your success is determined not by just what you say but also by how you say it. This is the vocal warm up exercise routine I use myself. You can use it to develop a more powerful speaking voice too.

It is so important to warm up your voice before you do any sort of public speaking, give a presentation or create content. Your voice is a muscle. I'm going to show you how to warm it up and strengthen it right now.

Hi, I'm Joshua Seth, keynote speaker on communication and presentation skills. And I'm going to show you some quick and effective vocal warm ups for speaking right now.

I should mention that I've also been a pretty successful voiceover actor for over 20 years on over 100 TV shows, movies, and video games.

It's the video games that were ripping up my voice years ago so I went to a vocal coach for opera singers to learn some of these techniques. And it really changed my life because it kept me from feeling vocal strain and damaging my vocal cords.

I do these exercises or some form of them every day, whether I'm giving a speech or a presentation or not. I suggest that you do as well because in addition to protecting your voice and helping to warm it up for giving speeches and presentations, it's also going to strengthen your voice so that you'll sound better and be a more effective communicator for others.

So let's do these vocal warmups right now.

The first thing is to connect your voice and your body and you do so by releasing tension. You can just roll your shoulders back, roll them forward. Roll your neck around like that as well and do everything gently.

I did that a little bit quickly, actually, do everything gently. This is not about power. Yes, your voice is a muscle. But your vocal folds are they're small, they're delicate.

This isn't like pumping iron in the gym. Everything that you do today should be done very gently and fluidly. It's more about consistency than it is about power.

So we've released tension from our bodies. Now we're going to just yawn. Yawning is a great way to open up your capacity for airflow and also place your voice better in your chest and not in your throat.

If you're speaking from your throat like this all day, you'll create vocal strain because there's tension there. When you place it in your chest, well if it's just in your chest trhen that's going to sound hollow. So you actually want to place it a blend from head tone and chest tone out in front of you like this, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

We're going to yawn like that. What that's going to do is bring your voice out of your throat and into your chest which is a good stepping stone toward speaking with more vocal power later.

You'll notice that I'm yawning down, never up. Which would be a weird way to yawn anyway. Yawn like that, opening up the throat, creating more airflow.

Next we are going to do your lip flutters, which look ridiculous, like this. Do it with me. Good, I assume.

Now let's add some sound. It's the descending siren sound from the yawn that we just did before. Always descending sounds for better placement. A better, richer, fuller sound. Excellent.

Next we're going to engage your diaphragm. Now, how do you do that? Okay, this is your diaphragm, between your sternum and your belly button right there is your diaphragm. When you breathe in, the diaphragm should go out. When you breathe out, the diaphragm should go in. So you're breathing in and extending like a balloon and breathing out, deflating.

But we also want to make a sound to strengthen our voice.

Don't do a hissing sound. I've seen this all over YouTube. It's terrible. Advice. Why? Because hissing is creating tension in your throat. We just did a bunch of exercises to release tension. Don't do Sssss, do Huh, like that. Okay?

Be careful who you get your advice from. 

And notice that when you're saying Huh, the "balloon" (the diaphragm) is moving in and when I breathe in the air, the "balloon" going out. And forextra credit do it double time.

So to recap our vocal warmup today consisted of:

  • Releasing tension throughout your body
  • Connecting your voice to the rest of your body
  • Yawning to open up your throat and your airflow
  • Doing lip flutters (silently at first)
  • Adding a descending siren sound for better placement
  • And finally, engaging your diaphragm for vocal power

Do these vocal warm ups every day before you give a speech, create content, or any sort of a presentation. And if you do them consistently, in addition to protecting your voice, you'll actually be able to transform your voice into a richer, more powerful, more vibrant sound that will communicate better to others.

Joshua Seth is a celebrity voice actor, turned communication skills keynote speaker.

His mission is to help sales leaders speak with influence, communicate with confidence, and connect with people.

Joshua's known to millions as the voice of over 100 animated TV shows and movies, and can be heard in everything from Akira to Spongebob Squarepants. But he’s best known as the star of Digimon, voicing the main character Tai for the past 20 years in both the hit TV series and all 8 movies, helping it become the 75th highest grossing media franchise in the world.

Joshua has delivered hundreds of keynote speeches and presentations over the past 10 years for many of the world's top companies and professional organizations.

For information on Joshua’s keynote speeches and workshops visit

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