Vocal authority is one of the many facets of presence and personal impact – and as ever, we want to be the ones in control. So if specific words are difficult, or a sound isn’t coming out quite the way you want, you can probably fix it.
We often hear words pronounced differently – people have their own interpretations of sounds, and also their own vocal habits: a sibilant ‘s’, a distinct ‘r’, a lisp, a slushy ‘t’… This can be charming and individual, or it can be problematic, depending on the impression you need to create.
I’ve been having swimming lessons recently: I have swum since childhood, but not particularly well. As I learned again, I was amazed at how small habits, repeated over years, had got in the way of the power and ease I saw in other swimmers – and how possible, with effort and practice, it was to put this right.
So there are books that can help you with vocal authority, but you will do better with a specialized voice coach who can listen, diagnose, and show you how to correct both intrusive pronunciation and limited tone.
You need to work with the whole face and voice structure: it’s not a matter of repetitive tongue twisters, but of rebalancing and toning the right muscles while understanding how they act together to form specific clusters of sound (i.e. words!). You might include placing (i.e. positions of the articulators, like tongue and lips), listening and practice, and deconstructing difficult sounds so that you can rebuild them with a new habit.
So if you want precision and clarity at your tongue-tip and not merely your fingertips; if you want your voice alive and toned, you can achieve it. As with my new improved front crawl, it takes a guide, and it takes practice – and the choices are then all yours.
What’s your vocal authority like and could it do with a refresh?