October 30, 2020
Posted in Interviews
October 30, 2020 Shilpi Das

We are because we can talk – Know Your Voice

It was a delight to chat with Ms. Viji Murthy on Avka Naturals – Winner Mindset Series Episode 16 on 18th October 2020.

Viji Murthy, a full-time mother embarked on her entrepreneurial journey and strives to inspire women from all walks of life to become go-getters and chase their aspirations unapologetically. A multifaceted woman, she is a leading Holistic Wellness Expert, Reiki Distance Healer, Ayurveda Nutritionist, Angel Therapy Channeller and an Access Bars Facilitator.

I was quite pleased when she inquired about how and why voice matters, and wanted to share the same with the viewers through our conversation.

The Significance of Sound

The presence of sound – Every entity in nature asserts its presence through sound.

Sound energy causes air to vibrate using sound waves. These vibrations are then processed by our brain.

The sources of sound could be either natural or man-made.

  • Have you ever felt  crickets chirping in the silence of the night?
  • Or frogs croaking in the monsoon?
  • Did you feel romantic with the gushing sound of the sea breeze or the crashing waves?
  • How do you respond to the sound of pitter-patter raindrops or the loud thunder?
  • Do you remember how your teeth felt when your teachers wrote on the blackboard with chalk, making that  unpleasant screeching sound?
  • What response does the sound produced by a fork scraping a plate trigger in you?
  • Did you ever feel like punching that rude neighbour who destroyed your Sunday afternoon siesta by deciding to drill nails in the walls?

Imagine the obligation to give a patient hearing to a woman with a high-pitched shrill voice.

We respond to sounds emotionally.

The concept of Human Voice

Human voice is the sound produced by the vocal tract in-built in humans.

The elastic recoil of the lungs provides the necessary acoustic energy, while the diaphragm, intercostal muscles, and abdominal muscles manipulate how that air is released through the larynx, a complex structure that houses the vocal cords, and the supra-laryngeal vocal tract (SVT), which includes the oral cavity and the pharynx, and the cavity behind the mouth and above the larynx.

Our brain plays the role of processing and understanding speech, influencing the production of the right sound. It governs the muscles that move the tongue, lips, jaw, and larynx and control lung pressure during speech,

It’s quite a complex anatomy to understand..

Voices are important for humans. They are the medium through which we communicate with the outside world: our ideas, and of course,  our emotions and our personality.

Voices reveal:

  • particular social regional groups the owner of the voice belongs to,
  • an individual’s physical and psychological identity,
  • and the momentary mood

Voice is  also the medium through which we (successfully, most of the time) recognize other humans who are important to us—members of our family, media personalities, our friends, and enemies.

Voice matters

Visualise the sounds of hawkers and vendors at a railway station. What response do you think they evoke in their prospective customers? How do they sustain their voices?

Voice enables us to engage in meaningful conversations and convey our intent. It has a critical  impact on key decisions. Appropriate vocal functioning facilitates the effectiveness of communication.

The moment we open our mouths to speak, we are judged.

As words are spoken, assumptions are made about who we are. Presumptions about our intelligence, desires, determination, confidence and influence are all inferred from how we use our voices from the following:

  • The sound of our voice
  • The attitude in our voice
  • The rate of our speech
  • The clarity and crispness

For instance:

  • Our tone, pitch, quality of articulation and inflection deliver subtle messages about the kind of person we are. They convey our mood and our feelings at a particular time.
  • Having the capacity to project appropriate sounds can make a critical difference in the way we are perceived and treated. When used effectively, our voice can work favourably and enhances our personal and professional relationships.
  • It can be said, that our voice is the primary link between our mind and body. Therefore, with the appropriate mindset and awareness of how to use our voice properly, we can exercise control over how we speak, improve effectiveness and do so with confidence.

Attributes or Elements of Voice

  • Pitch/Frequency/Tone
  • Volume/Intensity/Loudness
  • Pace/Rate of Speech
  • Pauses/Written-Verbal Punctuation
  • Inflection/Intonation
  • Emoting Key Words

When are these applicable?

All the time. We are because we can talk.

Ask yourself how do you involuntarily expect people in the following professions to sound.

  • Teachers – assertive, warm, intelligent, motivating
  • Doctors – calm, soothing, concerned, empathetic
  • Public Speakers – energetic, vibrant, inspirational
  • Trainers – knowledgeable, pleasant, approachable
  • Corporate Presenters – commanding, assertive, passionate
  • Singers – soulful, melodious, passionate
  • Call Centre Agents – friendly, courteous, respectful
  • Sales People confident, informative, enthusiastic
  • Announcers/Emcees vivacious, smiling, chirpy, comic
  • Hawkers – cheerful, eager, enthusiastic
  • Storytellers emotive, interesting, intriguing

And Voice Actors?

The use of effective voice modulation is the difference between a crowd pleasing speech and a boring one!

The truth is, modulation isn’t easy. It

  • Binds the audience
  • Expresses emotions
  • Shows confidence
  • Speech becomes interesting
  • Allows speaker to stress/draw the attention of a listener
  • Bring clarity in communication

Can everyone do it?

Have you ever pondered that the human voice is the most natural, oldest and completely self contained instrument? Vocal music is the oldest form of music, since all it requires is the human voice and no other instrument. In fact ,the musical notes were initially derived from human vocal tones. The musical instruments are inspired by the human voice.

The human voice is the most beautiful instrument of all, but it is the most difficult to playsaid Richard Strauss [German composer, pianist and violinist, 11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949]

Everything in Nature has a Sound, and thus has a presence.

Voice – The most important component of communication for humans.

When we neglect our voice:

  • We are neglecting the potential of our presence
  • We are limiting the potential of our communication

We are because we can talk. Wouldn’t you check how you sound?