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Getting My Priorities Straight - Headset with microphone!

4th May 2020

Voice Tip Series - The Lombard Effect

Getting my priorities straight! Headset with a microphone a must!!!

On the day of lockdown, I had to move into temporary accommodation. I currently don't have any warmer weather work clothes, but I did make sure I had my priorities sorted - workbooks and...a headset with a microphone!

A headset and microphone are one of your most important tools for those working on video and 'phone calls for much of the day. One of the most essential voice tips for the moment. If you can use a headset with a microphone (preferably two earpieces - this was all I could find as everything was sold out) on many of your calls, it really will help save your voice!

As many of us are working from home with others around, with more noise happening in the background, or dealing with the internet cutting in and out, we have an involuntary reflex in which we raise our vocal effort to enhance the audibility of our voice.

This is called the Lombard Effect.

 You may have noticed your voice feeling more tired at the end of the day, or a decrease in how interesting you sound when speaking later on in the day (if you don't feel the tiredness). That is because the muscles involved in creating your speech are working overtime - your volume increases and so too can your pitch, rate (speed of speech) and prosody (how variable your voice sounds: syllables, stress, rhythm and intonation). All of which are increasing the demands on the muscles that are used for speaking.

Additionally, you may find that you are hunching your shoulders up if holding the phone to your ear, or worse, holding it with your shoulder whilst making notes! Ahhh! Don't do it! Seriously, if you don't already have a headset and microphone, get one and use it - mine was very inexpensive and is not the best but it is saving my voice as I spread my calls out and always plug this into my phone when a call comes. I make sure the mic is close to my mouth if they say they can't hear me and literally do a mini sound check if I can't hear them or they can't hear me.

You may not mind your voice being tired at the end of the day, especially if it recovers well and quickly. However:

1) This online, remote way of working is likely to continue even when we start mixing again, so learning to take care of your voice and how to reduce neck and voice strain is incredibly useful and important.

2) As your voice tires, you lose the flexibility that makes you sound interesting and engaging. eg. if you are teaching, you may not be as inspiring for those later hours, or if you are selling, you may be doing a disservice to your product, service or employer.

Finally, it is such a simple thing to do, to pick up a headset and pop it on - your coiffure may not thank you for it, but your voice and boss will!

For more tips, tricks and exercises to help you sound great and take care of your voice, get in touch with any questions or to schedule a consultation. Online of course.

If you would like to enhance your communication skills, get in touch if you would like more specific help. Throughout May 2020, I have spaces available at discounted rates for the whole month - give me a call to find out more!

For more information on the services I offer in relation to this or other posts, please contact me to book your Voice Work Consultation. 

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