Tour Leaders and public speakers of all kinds know that their voice is the most important tool in their toolbox.
That’s why this week we are focusing on how to get your voice ready for tour and sharing a number of our favourite vocal warm-up exercises.
As a treat for you, we are featuring a special guest: Rocco, an experienced guide from the Netherlands. Not only is Rocco a great guide but he has also been a performer, actor, and dancer ever since he was eight years old. Rocco sent in some video clips of the warm-up exercises he uses before every tour.
These vocal techniques are used by voice coaches all over the planet to help rockstars, broadway performers and opera singers get primed for the stage. Warming up your vocal chords is also one of the best ways to avoid injury or losing your voice!
As a bonus, we’ve put together a free PDF “How Not To Lose Your Voice (and How to Get it Back When Its Gone!)” These extra tips focus on the day-to-day things you can do to keep your voice healthy, plus some advice for recovery should you need it.
The six voice exercises from the video will enhance your vocal performance if done up to thirty minutes before your tour.
While they may seem a little silly, remember that the first few moments are some of the MOST important for your guests. Having our voices ready to project as tour guides will ensure we are in the best position to succeed right from the beginning of our tours.
A strong and healthy voice – properly warmed up – is your greatest asset as a tour leader. A big thank you to Rocco for sharing these exercises and taking the time to record them on video!
Want more tips on effective public speaking as a tour leader? Check out this video on How to Become a Powerful Speaker? Lessons from History’s Finest Speeches.
Good luck out there,
How do you keep your voice healthy as a tour guide? Any other warm-up exercises that you do? Share with the whole community in the comments below!
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peckers… [laughing]
Okay, enough about pickled peckers. Kelsey Tonner here from the Be a Better Guide Project. This week, we’re going to be talking about how to warm up and properly use your voice. The best part is we’ve got a special guest all the way from the Netherlands and I’ll let him introduce himself.
Rocco: My name is Rocco and I’ve been an actor, dancer, performer for 18 years. I started when I was 8 years old so I was very young. From a very young age, I learned to use my voice in a correct way.
How cool is that? Rocco is not only an experienced tour guide in Amsterdam but has also had vocal coaching and training almost his entire life. He sent in six tips to help us in a Be a Better Guide Community warm up our vocal chords, prepare our breath and get our voices ready to project. Let’s take a look.
1) Have an open and upright posture. Your shoulders should be back, your chin at 90 degrees to your body or otherwise think of a line from your chin being parallel to the floor and elongate your spine. Imagine someone lifting you up from the very top of your head like this and that’s going to open up your airways and allow you to project.
2) Breathe low and deeply. Bring your breath as deep into your core as possible, almost all the way down to your belly for deep belly breath. As you breathe in and out, focus on expanding and retracting down here. Here’s Rocco to demonstrate.
Rocco: You breathe in through your nose; you breathe out through your mouth.
Repeat that breath a few times and notice where Rocco is keeping his hands. This allows him to feel his abdomen rising and falling. Now, on tour, you want to focus on taking a big deep breath before you start speaking so that you can power your voice with your entire abdomen.
3) Massage your throat and jaw muscles. The muscles of your jaw, your face and your neck are all essential for speaking and some gentle massage will help increase blood flow and reduce some of the tension. Here’s Rocco demonstrating two of the massage techniques he uses before every tour.
Rocco: Let’s just massage our jaw a little bit. Now take your hand like this and you just move this your throat back and forth.
4) Embrace your inner siren. Now, for this exercise, what you’re going to do is take a deep breath and then do what Rocco does.
Rocco: [Sirening] Push the volume up and also let it go higher. Let’s do it one last time. [Sirening].
5) Warm up your diaphragm. How do the theater pros on Broadway get their diaphragm and chest muscles ready? By laughing, of course, but in a very special way.
Rocco: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. What I’m doing is I’m breathing in and I just push from the stomach and I let the sound come out. Yeah, let’s do it one last time. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.
6) Enunciate the alphabet. Mumbling or slurring our words is a pretty common habit in everyday life, and kind of an unfortunate one. We, as public speakers, need to break this habit. Do everything we can to focus on enunciation.
Rocco: We’re going to do a little pronunciation exercise to actually activate the mouth, the tongue, and the lips to pronounce clearly. We do that by saying A-E-I-O-U.
You can really exaggerate your mouth movements so that you pronounce extra clear. Let’s do it one more time and then we’re going to go down the alphabet. Ba-Be-Bi-Bo-Bu. Now the C. Ca-Ce-Ci-Co-Cu. Now the D. Da-De-Di-Do-Du.
Vocal coaches say that doing these exercises will enhance your vocal performance if done 5 to 30 minutes before your tour.
Because we’ve got your back, we also created a bonus PDF that goes along with this video. It’s called How Not To Lose Your Voice And How to Get it Back When It’s Gone? If you’d like a copy, just use the link below.
Now, if you have techniques for preparing your voice and keeping it healthy, share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear them. As always, if you’re inspired, give this video a share or a like, and I’d like to extend a big thank you to Rocco for sharing his expertise and to you. Thank you for being here and we’ll see you next time.
Here’s another tongue twister: I saw Susie sitting in a shoe shine shop where she shits she shines… This is clearly designed by a 10-year-old who wanted people to say shit. I saw Susie sitting in a shoe shine shop. Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits. Take that, 10-year-old!