Preserving Your Presentation Voice During Cold Season
by Pat Wahoske, Faculty and Speech-Language Pathologist
Preserving your voice during cold season when you have a big presentation can not only be challenging, but should also be a priority. Here are 5 tips to conserve an ailing voice when you have important business communication coming up:
1. Hydrate! Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily – juice or other fluids are not included in the count. Increasing water intake thins mucous and provides systemic hydration which the vocal folds desperately need when they are inflamed.
2. Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, alcohol, chocolate) which dehydrates the vocal folds further. If you can’t miss your morning joe, drink one glass of water for every caffeine serving.
3. Consider the cost-benefit of using antihistamines vs. decongestants. If nasal congestion is present without sneezing/itching you may get the same result from a decongestant and avoid the drying effects of antihistamines…..read labels.
4. Be mindful of throat clearing. Try a dry swallow, sipping water, or sucking a glycerin based lozenge to satisfy the urge without irritating delicate vocal tissues. Clearing one’s throat literally bangs the vocal folds together and exacerbates the problems.
5. Limit talking as much as possible to rest your voice prior to the presentation. Use a microphone with groups to avoid forcing your voice. Speak slower and articulate more precisely to help compensate for the vocal quality changes.