How to preserve your voice during cold season

During my high school years, late January and early February were anxiety-provoking. That was the time for the state-wide singing competitions, with state finals held at the Butler University School of Music in central Indiana, USA.

We spent many hours practicing our songs, beginning just after New Year’s Day. The contest performance rules would NOT allow sheet music, so we had to memorize every word and nuance of the music. It was a challenge to keep up with the pace of practices and avoid contracting laryngitis.

That also was the midst of wintertime cold and influenza season, with lots of coughing and blowing of noses. The temptation is to clear one’s throat with a harsh sound, but that bangs the vocal cords together, which is detrimental for one’s singing (and speaking) voice.

Our music director gave us a valuable tip: if you have the urge to clear your throat before singing or talking, swallow quickly twice in a row. It might still FEEL like your throat is coated, but your voice will be clear when you speak or sing moments later.

Try it. I think you’ll like it.

The two-fast-swallows technique is also useful for public speaking, especially if you are using a microphone! Throat-clearing is a harsh sound to begin with, and your audience’s ears will thank you for avoiding it.

Use this technique to keep up your usual pace of networking meetings, business presentations, and new distributor trainings. Your team will be grateful!

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

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