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Care and Feeding of Your Voice

by PowerSpeaking, Inc.     Apr 30, 2015 2:00:00 PM

You have an important presentation two days away. Your throat is scratchy and your voice feels weak. What’s causing the problem and what can you do for instant remedy?

Voice Hazards

  • Dairy Products—Milk products contribute to the build-up of phlegm and mucus (frogs in your throat). If you’re nervous, like before a speech, the problem is worse.

  • Vocal Strain—The vocal apparatus is very delicate. Any type of strain, whether yelling at a football game or compensating for a bad PA system, results in hoarseness, laryngitis or worse.

  • Strong Throat Sprays—A newscaster colleague once lost his voice for a month after “pushing it” through a sore throat by using a strong spray. Vocal cords are delicate tissues that need TLC, not punishment from chemical band-aids.

  • Smoke—If you speak a lot and still smoke ...what’s there to say? Smoker’s throat, smoker’s cough, and the sound of a voice that has been tortured with smoke should convince anyone that smoke is cruel and unusual punishment for the voice.

  • Coffee and Hot Tea—Both contribute to the dryness of throat and mouth tissue, which is especially bad just before making a presentation or speech.



Voice Treatments

  • Hot Water—Drink it all the time. I have used it in place of coffee for years and it’s great! Hot water has a taste and is terrific for your vocal apparatus (and entire body). You can also add some lemon. At a speech or presentation, I request plenty of hot water. It works!

  • Salt Water—Gargling with salt water is absolutely the best treatment for a sore throat. Do it frequently, every half-hour if possible. It is also a good treatment just before giving a speech, a meeting or a major sales presentation.

  • Steam—Breathe hot steam into your mouth, nose and lungs. This is the best treatment I’ve ever found for hoarseness, sore vocal cords and laryngitis. Hot steam from a shower will do, but I get better results from a teakettle on the stove. Drape a towel over your head, inhale the steam for as long as you can, take a break, then do it again. You’ll feel the results almost immediately. The secret is moisture and warmth. Your voice loves both.

  • Throat Lozenges —Use good quality, gentle, but effective throat lozenges. The best one I know of is Ricola® Swiss Herb Candy, imported by Richter Bros., Inc. Look for it in drug stores, health food stores, and supermarkets.


As with so much of life, common sense is crucial. This is especially true on health matters and those related to the voice. As a manager, salesperson, or speaker, your voice is your most important asset. We only get one voice. Take good care of yours.


Download Voice Hazards and Treatments Guide


Related Blog Post: Warm Up Your Voice For Credibility, Connection and Influence


About the Author

PowerSpeaking, Inc.

Topics: Voice, Presentation Tips, Delivery Style, Presentation Skills

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