6 Tips to Protect Your Voice When Facilitating or Speaking

I asked this question online and was thrilled with the scope and variety of responses!

Recently delivered a 2 day facilitator training workshop. Participants were interested in tips re: protecting their voices when they are speaking/facilitating for many hours. What’s your best advice?!

Here’s the advice that was shared by my learning/development contacts and professional speaking colleagues:

  1. Remember Your Role

“If you’re mentoring newly-minted facilitators, I believe this maxim: the effectiveness of your facilitation is proportional to the quality of your voice at the end of the day. If I’m losing my voice regularly, it tells me I need to reflect on the role I’m filling, since my true success as a facilitator isn’t in my speaking, but in my ability to get others to communicate effectively.”  (Jeremy Jordan via LinkedIn)

“Great instructional content in any format leads the discussion and is nudged by the facilitator. Utilizing the experience and performance of the participants to highlight the objectives will minimize the facilitator stress.”  (Matthew Alkire via LinkedIn)

“Engage the group in conversations so that THEY do the talking!” (David Gouthro via Facebook)

  1. Keep Hydrated with Room Temperature Water

“WATER! WATER and more WATER.  Keep hydrated.”   (Patti Pokorchak via Facebook)

“I agree on the water. If I am facilitating I always bring my own and I prefer it in a bottle without ice.”  (Joel Sweeney via Facebook)

“Drink water, perhaps with a bit of lemon.”  (Randall Tresidder via LinkedIn)

“And drink room temperature water–but small sips at a time. Drinking large quantities at a time has other biological consequences because your body can’t absorb it all efficiently.  Mind you, that also provides opportunities to be where you don’t want your voice to be heard . . . “  (David Gouthro via Facebook)

  1. Dig Deep into Your Diaphragm

“Also relaxed breathing and getting your speaking power from your diaphragm as opposed to your chest and throat. That’s been my biggest voice saver in the past few years.”  (Jason Reid via Facebook)

“Learn to use the diaphragm instead of the throat. Best advice I ever had in my military career, especially when conducting drill class.”  (Randall Tresidder via LinkedIn)

  1. Use Technology as Your Friend

“Use technology (microphone, sound system). How many times have you heard a speaker say “I’ve got a big enough voice, I’m sure you can hear me.” Unnecessary and why risk your voice?”  (Ron Grender via Facebook)

  1. Avoid Continual Clearing of Your Throat

“Try not to “clear your throat” or cough. (Advice I received from an opera singer).”  (Ron Grender via Facebook)


  1. Pop or Sip A Little Something

“Mint chlorophyll” (Christine Paquette via Facebook)

“Herbal tea” (Sandra Currie-Samson via LinkedIn)

“Ricolaaaaa” (Ron Patterson via LinkedIn)

“I’ve never used it but have heard from several people about Throat Coat Tea.” (Lisa White  via Facebook)

HUGE gratitude to everyone who took the time to weigh in on this question!  Lots of fantastic tips here.  Thank You!

What other techniques do you use to keep your voice healthy?  Share an idea in the comments section below!




Gerard Murphy is s the founder and president of Barefoot Facilitation Inc., based in Nova Scotia, Canada.  Learn more about our April 2016 three-day “Facilitation ABCs” workshop  at trybarefoot.com

Follow Gerard on Twitter:  @trybarefoot

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