What Your Voice Reveals
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Just as posture betrays your age and character to some extent, so does your voice reveal to others your age and many of your personality characteristics. Observe how on the stage an actress portraying the role of an old woman, for example, uses a voice that quavers, because such an aged woman no longer has enough strength in her diaphragm to control the column of air so that it comes out in a steady stream. The fluttering type of woman or effeminate type of man is portrayed by allowing many inflections in a hit-and-miss fashion, indicating very little mental poise, as well as no diaphragmatic control. A girl with little culture is given a flat or nasal twang. The listless person has a voice that is dull and lifeless. It is well to consider what type of character your voice tells others you are. If you are misrepresenting yourself by your speech and voice, you should do something about it.
Remember that a good personality has enthusiasm, vitality, and graciousness. If you are enthusiastic, you will develop personality in your voice, for the voice with personality has to be an alive voice, and an alive voice is one that vibrates with enthusiasm and sincerity. If your voice is not cheerful and dynamic you cannot hope to be attractive.
To speak well is an art. Like any other art it can be mastered only through hard work, but as with any other art, once you have mastered the technique, performance becomes almost automatic.
Train yourself to breathe properly. Practice for control and flexibility in the vocal organs. Once you have established the right habits, you can forget the means by which you acquired them, and can speak without self-consciousness or affectation—easily, naturally, and beautifully.