Voice and articulation problems

by Richard N

Richard’s Question:

Hi Gary,

First I would like to thank you for sharing great info for free, I have enjoyed reading your last articles, and they are well written and organized.

I have social anxiety. I have overcame most of the physical symptoms that used to happen when I’m in anxious situations (like: shaking, blushing, walking problems).

What I still struggle with, which is my BIGGEST social anxiety ISSUE is that people don’t understand what I’m saying and they ask me to repeat it.

My throat tenses up (I can feel it). My voice becomes very quiet and I can’t pronounce words clearly, this happens at random times even when I'm with my family.

I also don’t like the sound of my voice when I record it, it doesn't sound what I actually mean.

What do you think?

Gary’s Answer:

Hey Richard! Thank you so much for the kind comments, it’s good to know that all the work I’ve put into this site really reaches people out there!

Back in University I used to have huge problems with calculus. I would always try to learn enough just so that I would pass the midterms and hence pass the class. I failed this course repeatedly and blamed it on the teachers, the conditions, etc.

Until one day I decided enough was enough and I started practicing ALL the problems in the book; did every single one of them. It got more and more difficult each time but I started with the easy ones rising my way to the top. It was no surprise I actually got the skill to truly apply calculus/math. My brain got used to what math really was and it all became extremely easy.

What’s the point here?

The point is that you have the power to transform a flaw into a strength. Not only it transforms into something you “are ok at”, it transform into a strong point in your personality.

I think you can do the same with your voice.

Being self-conscious about your voice is actually contributing to tension building up in your throat, and tension building up in your throat is the reason you become self-conscious. It all becomes one of those vicious loops of doom that I’ve talked about before.

The way to go at it is to decide that you are going to take control over your problem with your voice.

This implies:

You are going to consciously work on it.

You are going to be willing to dis-engage from the emotions that come with going through the “incompetence” stages – a.k.a being willing to go through embarrassment.

You can take two mentalities on this; and both are actually true.

  1. It SUCKS that to have a “normal” life one has to go through some work that “normal” people don’t have to go through. – that’s true./li>

  2. It is always a win-win situation when you realize that you have to work on your social skills. You get to be better at it than the people who just learned it unconsciously and you always will get confidence and self-trust out of the work you put it. – it’s also true.

You choose which one benefits you the most.

Here’s what you can do about it:

About the sound of your voice: You should FULLY engage the sound of your voice, it’s “the one you were born with” and you can either build pride and confidence on top of it or feel insecure about it. There’s really no way around it, of course the way to go is to build confidence on top of it and fully engage it.

I used to not like my broken nose. I would try to hide it; then I realized that PEOPLE WOULD SEE IT ANYWAYS AT SOME POINT, so why hide it? Try the same with your voice, grab this mentality:

“People are going to hear me anyways so why not just show it off?”

Fully engage the inevitable.

When it comes to relaxing and taking control of your voice:

  • Try projecting your voice: When talking with someone imagine that they are about 1 meter farther away than they actually are.

  • Practice making your voice resonate in your chest: you should be speaking from your chest, not from your throat, powerful voices come from there.

Most importantly: Start searching for any kind of oratory or voice projection classes in your area. I know how anxious this idea might make you feel, but this it a grea opportunity to build your confidence and to actually get mastery over your voice. Experts in the area will help you out with it. And the best part is that you can be completely cool and open about it to instructors.

Hope that helps you out Richard.

Best wishes,


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