How to Protect Your Speaking Voice
Posted in Conferences on Apr 3, 2018
Losing your voice is an incredibly painful, frustrating, and debilitating experience. I’ve lost my voice a few times at conferences, especially in the first couple of years when I was new to the scene and wasn’t aware of how all the stresses could overwhelm me. I’m not a professional, but I’ve learned a few things, tried some other things, and haven’t had trouble with my voice for many years. Here’s what works for me.
First, recognize the stresses a conference can place on your ability to speak:
All of these factors can contribute1 to laryngitis, which can range from mild soreness and hoarseness to complete loss of the ability to make any noise above a whisper. And this can take days or even weeks to recover.
Here’s what I have learned to do:
I’ve learned that saliva is what moisturizes and soothes the throat, and staying hydrated prevents a dry mouth, which prevents a dry throat. I want my throat to stay in the middle ground between excess moistness and dryness.
I’ve also learned not to go to conferences where I can’t avoid things that make me ill. I do not go to Las Vegas. I have never been able to avoid secondary smoke there, no matter what measures I’ve taken. Even the hotel elevators, even at expensive hotels, even when I get a nonsmoking room, have cigarette smoke in them. It’s horrible. No more Vegas.
Above all, I try to talk less, and more quietly. By the time I’ve noticed that I’m getting hoarse, it may be too late: I’ve gone to bed slightly hoarse and woken up completely mute. I’ve learned to take this very seriously and not push my limits.