Are You Afraid of the Sound of Your Own Voice?

Are You Afraid of the Sound of Your Own Voice?

By Susan Berkley

Do you remember the first time you heard yourself on tape, on an answering machine or voice mail? You may have been shocked and thought: “Do I really sound like THAT?”

As you start to become aware of your voice you may feel it is:

  • “Letting you down badly”
  • “Getting worse”
  • “Embarrassing you” and so on.

Actually, these reactions are very common. Here’s why.

We tend to hold an idealized image of ourselves. But when something– like a video camera or tape recorder– shows us we are not as we thought, we flip to the opposite extreme and put ourselves down with a vengeance.

Learning or improving a skill requires that we first accept seeing ourselves objectively in order to grow or change. Yet many people find it hard to be objective and realistic, especially when it comes to something as personal as the sound of their own voice.

In my workshops and seminars, many people complain they sound nasal. Yet no one else in the room agrees with their self-assessment. Their voice sounds nasal to them because they are hearing it from inside their head where it is distorted by the bones of their skull.

Once they become aware of this phenomenon and realize they don’t sound as bad as they thought, they feel less inhibited and communication becomes easier and more fun.

In general, we are neither as wonderful as we think we are nor as terrible as we imagine. In voice development and in life, you need the objective and supportive feedback of others. This feedback will keep you from becoming depressed about imagined shortcomings that don’t exist, and keep you from making a fool of yourself because you are overly confident about a quality or skill-set that still needs work.

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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit

Copyright 2012, The Great Voice Company. All Rights Reserved.  Are You Afraid of the Sound of Your Own Voice?

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