Have you ever found yourself in a situation where a bunch of people were talking and you couldn’t get them to hear you at all? It could’ve been due to the volume of your voice or simply because the environment was too loud. Either way, this experience probably felt somewhat alienating and discouraging, especially if you are an introvert.
Well, your mumbling days are about to be behind you. In the sections that follow, we’ll go over some of the most common reasons for talking in a low voice, and then offer tips on how to eliminate or at least improve this habit. Read on!
Talking in a Low Voice: Why Does It Happen?
First things first, let’s address the possible causes of your low voice and mumbling. It can be a consequence of both physical and psychological issues.
Talking Low Due to Anxiety and Stress
In most cases, people talk in a low voice due to nervousness and anxiety. This phenomenon is especially prominent in social settings where you are surrounded by others and you don’t feel comfortable speaking up.
In these situations, a lot of people aren’t even aware that they’re speaking in a low voice or that others can’t hear them well. They’re just focused on their inner turmoil and can’t concentrate enough to pay attention to others or how they’re being perceived.
Unfortunately, speaking in a low voice in a setting like this often results in miscommunication or exclusion. Even if they ask you to repeat yourself, people will probably move on with the conversation quickly, and your comment can easily get lost in the process.
However, there are ways to overcome fear and anxiety and speak louder. But we’ll delve deeper into them a bit later.
Speaking Low Due to Physical Issues
Of course, sometimes you can’t speak loudly — or even in a normal tone — because you have laryngitis, a throat infection, or another similar condition. If that is the case, you’ll struggle to speak at all, as doing so will irritate your throat and cause coughing and pain.
Moreover, some people are born with smaller larynxes and lungs, so they are naturally more soft-spoken and quiet. This fact makes sense, as they simply can’t get enough air to enunciate and speak loudly. However, certain tricks can help improve vocal ability in both of these instances.
See also: Why Is My Laugh So Silent? Is It Normal?
How to Stop Mumbling: All the Tips You Need
Now that you know what causes mumbling and speaking in a low voice, let’s go over some tricks you can use to eradicate these habits. We’ll go over tips for people with social anxiety first, and then focus on those with throat problems.
Address the Anxiety or Nervousness
If you only speak softly and quietly when you’re surrounded by others, it’s safe to assume that it’s happening because you’re nervous or anxious. Your subconsciousness is trying to help you by making you appear smaller and drawing less attention to you, resulting in a quiet and imperceptible voice.
Generally speaking, you can try to work on getting better at speaking in social settings on your own. If you keep reminding yourself that you need to be louder and that you aren’t in danger, you’ll slowly internalize it and become easier to hear. It will take time, but practice truly does make perfect.
However, it is also a wise idea to ask a professional for help. Namely, certified therapists can do a lot to help you improve your anxiety and stressors. What’s more, they can also help you find their roots and causes, which can, in turn, help eliminate triggers.
So, it is up to you to make a decision. It might be smart to try improving on your own and see how it goes. If you are successful, there is no need to go to therapy. But if you find yourself struggling no matter how hard you try, it is always a good idea to get someone to help you.
Do Breathing Exercises
Your breathing has a significant role in the way you speak. For instance, if you’re not breathing properly — either getting too much or too little air inside your lungs— you could unintentionally mumble or whisper. This phenomenon is especially common in anxious people, as they usually struggle with getting enough air in general.
One excellent way to combat both anxiety and low voice issues is to do breathing exercises. They can help you clear your head and calm your nerves, as well as get just enough air so your voice is strong and carries over necessary distances.
The easiest and most general exercises involve you breathing deeply. For example, you can start by expelling all the air from your lungs slowly, and holding for a few seconds. Then, start filling your lungs with air once again, and stop when they’re full. You can repeat this however many times a day you need to.
Another interesting exercise involves you lying down and placing a book on your abdomen. The goal is to breathe deeply in and out so that the book rises and falls with your actions.
Whichever method you pick, it’s important to try and clear your head while practicing. That way, you will also combat anxiety and nervousness, allowing your body and mind to relax fully.
Do Vocal Exercises
If you think that vocal exercises are only reserved for singers and actors, you’re wrong. In reality, they can help anyone who’s struggling with speaking loudly and clearly, no matter what the cause is.
So, next time you have a spare few minutes, try doing the following:
- Open your mouth as widely as it can go, just like you would do when yawning;
- Hold this position for a few seconds;
- Start repeating ‘ho-hum’, taking special time to extend the ‘hum’;
- After 5 repetitions, close your mouth;
- Move your jaw from side to side;
- Repeat at least 5 times per day.
Besides working your vocal cords, these exercises also target your jaw muscles. By making them more flexible, you can also improve your speech ability to sound clearer to those around you.
And in case this exercise doesn’t sound too appealing or it bores you, you can also try singing. Whether it’s karaoke or acapella, you’ll do a lot for your voice by singing your favorite tunes. Plus, you’ll improve both your tone and volume, which can help you speak louder as well.
Practice Makes Perfect
As already mentioned, sometimes people aren’t even aware that they’re speaking in a low voice or mumbling. It’s simple — they’re focused on listening to others and keeping up with the topics, so they don’t really hear themselves.
In such cases, it is smart to practice talking when you’re on your own. You can try recreating the atmosphere and volume levels from a party or gathering and pay special attention to your own voice and tone. If you can’t focus, try recording everything so that you can clearly hear how loudly or quietly you’re speaking.
Then, simply practice talking louder. Experiment with different volumes and tones, and find one that fits your circumstances. When you do, just repeat it enough times so it becomes more natural for you.
If you feel silly talking to yourself, you can always ask a close friend or family member to help you practice. And if you’d rather do it alone, it’s also wise to read aloud from a book or magazine.
Dealing With Physical Ailments
And finally, if you have a throat infection or another condition that makes speaking painful or nearly impossible for a time, there are also tricks you can use.
For example, drinking something warm as the event or gathering progresses can keep your vocal cords and throat in better condition. Furthermore, speaking slowly might help with any irritation, as no sudden bursts of air will enter your mouth and reach your throat.
If you’re holding a presentation, it can also help to ask for a microphone. That way, you’ll be able to speak more quietly and still reach everyone in the room.
Lastly, it’s also preferable to tell your companions that you’re struggling. If they’re aware of your condition, they will move closer or give you more time to answer. What’s more, they’ll pay more attention to your words, allowing them to hear and understand you better as well.
Final Thoughts on Low Talkers
As you can see, many causes can be behind mumbling and talking in a low voice, from social anxiety and nervousness to throat infections and the overall physical attributes of each individual.
Luckily, most of these causes also have solutions that you can try. Addressing the source of anxiety, doing vocal and breathing exercises, as well as hydrating and practicing speaking on your own, can all help.
The best way to determine which solution works for you is to experiment. So, give yourself time and space to figure out the root of the problem, and then try out different solutions from this list. Good luck!
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