(Business Mentor Notes: Veteran voice artist. Experienced radio broadcaster. Internationally awarded youth advocate. Author. Highly sought-after motivational speaker and trainer. For 20 years, Pocholo’s voice has not only been used to bring literally thousands of characters and brands to life, but more importantly, for inspiring, motivating and empowering his fellow Filipinos. With the voice being his passion and his life, Pocholo established the very first voice acting school in the country, Philippine Center for Voice Acting. He also founded Voice of the Youth Network – an organization that gives the youth a voice in broadcast media, and Voice Care Philippines – a training organization that teaches professional voice users about vocal health to save their voice and save their career.
As a motivational speaker, Pocholo has been invited to take on the podium more than 1,000 times here and abroad, speaking to students and professionals on topics such as voice acting, communication, personal branding, Guerrilla Marketing, understanding the youth, life and leadership principles, and youth empowerment and development.
Pocholo has recently launched POCHOLOGY ACADEMY – his very own team of trainers, motivational speakers and teambuilding facilitors. Pochology Academy is the new-world SCHOOL OF LIFE that aims to inspire every Filipino towards greatness, excellence and success.)
Imagine for one second that no human being produces voice. How would a teacher teach a lesson? How would lawyers defend their client? How much fun would cartoons be? Can you appreciate a song without the words?
The human voice is one of the most powerful sounds in the world. Other sounds may be louder, but only the human voice has the power to convey messages that could very well move shape and shake the world. In our personal and professional lives, we do a lot of talking – whether in person, over the phone, or to an audience. At work, we use our voice to coach our staff, argue with our boss, pitch to an investor, or speak to a client. At home, we use our voice to tell our spouse how our day has been, ask our spouse how their day has been, or check if the kids did their homework. Speaking is probably the human activity that we spend most of our day doing!
Despite being an extraordinary and essential instrument, however, our voice remains to be our most overlooked and taken-for-granted tool.
Think about it. How many times have you taken conscious effort to project your voice the proper way? Did you even know there is a proper way to project your voice? How often do you drink water throughout the day to keep your throat moist? How conscious are you of the way you breathe?
We always say that prevention is better than cure, but that is not our natural approach when it comes to our voice. Our “default setting” seems to be that whenever we open our mouths to speak, there will be voice coming out. That is, until we experience the opposite. When hoarseness, sore throat and loss of voice occurs, that’s when we start scrambling to learn the behaviors and do the things to salvage what is left of our voice.
This is especially true for professional voice users – people whose occupations rely heavily on voice use – like teachers, preachers, lawyers, salespeople, trainers, public speakers, TV and radio broadcasters, among many others. The voice is their primary tool of the trade, but they are not given or taught the fundamentals of how to properly produce their voice, or prevent vocal strain and abuse. Professional voice users are trained on how to USE the voice – communication, speech and even public speaking – but not on its CARE.
Care Philippines is a training organization whose mission is to equip professional voice users with the knowledge and tools to save their voice and save their career. Founded in 2013 by Pocholo “The Voice Master” Gonzales – veteran voice artist, experienced radio broadcaster, internationally awarded youth advocate, author, and highly sought-after trainer and motivational speaker. For 20 years, Pocholo’s voice has been used not only to bring literally thousands of characters and brands to life, more importantly, to inspire, motivate and empower his fellow Filipinos through training and motivational speaking.
Here are tips coming from the Voice Master himself:
Keep your throat moist. Hydration is the best way to prevent voice problems. Since the vocal folds open and close several times when we speak, it is important to keep them lubricated to prevent vocal strain. The use of lozenges to improve or “heal” a voice problem is also another big myth when it comes to voice care. When you experience hoarseness or loss of voice, there is nothing else that the vocal folds need than hydration (6-8 glasses of water a day) and voice rest. Lozenges are meant to numb the pain the throat, which is where the problem begins. Because you don’t feel the pain in your throat, you will continue to strain your vocal folds when you should be resting them.
Get enough rest. The old adage of getting 6-8 hours of sleep is vital to regenerate the body during rest, and that includes the resting and repairing of the vocal folds. Another way to rest the voice is by taking “voice naps” during the course of the day, especially for professional voice users. The general rule of thumb is, you should rest your voice for 15 minutes for every hour of vocally demanding activity (a.k.a. teaching in class or public speaking).
Correct your posture. Today’s lifestyle of sedentary desk jobs and assembly line production caused people to not only get less physical exercise, but also caused strain on the upper back. Voice is produced more efficiently when the body is free of tension, so it is important to be mindful of the alignment of your spine.
Observe proper breathing. The breath is the fuel of voice. People nowadays only use 10% of their lung capacity, causing the breathing to be shallow. Proper breathing means you should feel your abdomen expanding and contracting as you inhale and exhale. If your shoulders rise and fall when you breathe, it means your breathing is shallow.
Minimize – or better yet, eliminate – caffeine. Caffeine is diuretic, which means it causes you to pee a lot. Therefore, this leads to dehydration, unless you make it a habit to rehydrate yourself.
Project, don’t shout. When you need to make your voice louder, the tendency is to shout instead of project the voice properly. What’s the difference? Shouting all comes from the throat, producing a shrill sound that forces and damages the vocal folds. Projecting, on the other hand, means you employ deep breathing when you speak, and using the diaphragm to provide vocal power.
Don’t ignore the signs. Most voice problems like hoarseness would go away after a few days if you allow your body to rest. However, some of those voice problems may be a symptom of a bigger issue, such as a polyp in the vocal fold. Make it a rule to seek medical help for voice problems that last longer than two weeks.