Tips for using your voice

They are just two small mucosal folds, but they can do anything for you. Sound interested, firm, intimate or businesslike. Voice trainer Elizabeth Ebbink explains how to be heard at a team meeting or to make contact with an angry student.



  1. How do I sound?

    Ebbink shows eight voice characteristics on a YouTube video. Each time she reads a piece of newspaper with a thick, hoarse sound at one time, at other times a pinched voice, nasal, monotonous, etc. You quickly recognize in which corner you (sometimes) are sitting. She also explains how such a voice comes across, such as childish, angry, frustrated or bored. Ebbink's point: they divert all attention from the content. Within such a voice character it becomes difficult to convey a message. And that is precisely the thing in education. Ebbink: “A condition for transferring information is that there is a connection. Think of rails on which information can go back and forth. ” The more distracting your voice, the more difficult it is to make that connection, says Ebbink.

  2. Talk to a student calmly

    Suppose a fourteen-year-old enters the classroom pissed off. She lost her cellphone. You, the teacher, immediately see that it will be quite a job to involve her in the curriculum. You ask what's going on. The lady reports in a high tone, with lashes and in quick, short sentences. Ebbink sees two options: “Fourteen is just a difficult age. Is the teacher still an authority figure or not? That differs per adolescent. An authority speaks back very calmly so that the child can relax. But much more often I think you have to say: Oh, how annoying (fast, with high accents) Have you checked everything? Have you been everywhere? Then you can't do anything about it now! ” It is important that you do not go along with the emotion of the student, but with her pace and loudness. Ebbink: “Empathy is not just soft and calm. It is empathizing with what the other experiences: How bad! (hard with swipe). This way you get to the same temperature and that connection can arise. In my theory you need twenty seconds for that. Then you can do whatever you want. ”

  3. You don't have to spare your tires

    Tips lists for teaching staff circulate on the Internet, including advice not to switch too much between hard and soft. You can save your vocal cords by using whistles and bells. Ebbink is not in favor of this. Provided you use your voice properly, from the belly. “Using the whole pallet makes you happy too. When my voice is constantly in a low, fairly monotonous place, I make myself depressed. So when I'm tired I spice things up a bit with: (she puts on a sharp voice with lashing upwards) Okay, now we are going to go through it, púnt by púnt, exactly what it looks like. That will wake you up. ”

  4. Inspirational voices

    One of Ebbink's favorite voices is Barack Obama. Because it goes very smoothly into both the high and low in one sentence. “Height in the voice is connection. It's nice, friendly and shows commitment. How good you did that (high emphasis on 'good'). The higher you pronounce 'good', the better you find it. " On the other hand is low. This provides security, says Ebbink. “If a sentence doesn't go down, it will float or it will challenge. You think: What is it? Just say what you want. ” Ebbink imitates Obama: I care (high) and i know the way (low).

  5. Pitfall for teachers

    The reproachful melody. Never do, says Ebbink. “I also call it the 'comma dork'. You end up bouncing up all the time. If you had done your homework, you would have known (up at the end). In fact, the reproachful melody allows you to put a comma and the word 'sucker' after each sentence. I thought you would ask that, fool. ” Peter R. de Vries does it almost without exception, Ebbink analyzes. “But you don't want to hear it, it's bullying. You humiliate the other and they start looking for ways to fight back. ” It is much more convenient to stop the ball and let that melody down, says Ebbink. "Then it is a fact, not a reproach."

  6. Acting differently is scary

    For yourself it is very exciting to make a different sound. But do not worry, the environment does not make the link, is Ebbink's experience. “Of course I let my clients try things out. Talk louder or with more tonal variation in a sentence. When I ask how it went, the reactions are: I just got my way, I didn't have to do my best to be heard. Or others say to them: What are you feeling energetic about, are you doing well, aren't you? People don't hear that the change is in the voice. ”

  7. Speak melodiously

    “The current trend among teenagers is terrible,” says Ebbink. “Sometimes they are just like computer voices. The whole heat dimension is gone. My sons are both sixteen. They only listen to hip hop, that's monotonously angry. ” And then the young girls: “They have a low and very pinched voice, which has small creaks at the end of the sentence. They too talk flat. ” It makes them less understandable, says Ebbink: “If you reduce all that expression, you also reduce the differences between the vowels. Jaaa and neee (monotonous and crackly) sound almost the same. ” Ebbink advocates melody. "People are as emotional as ever, but the mode of expression is incredibly limited at the moment." While the voice can be a source of pleasure. “Take the high notes. We know from research that these have a hormonal effect. Just try ooohoohoo! (siren sound). That makes you happy. ”