Hate your speaking voice? Here’s why.

Have you ever heard a recording of your voice and thought, “I hate the way that sounds. It doesn’t really sound like me.”

For better or worse, the truth is: yes, that’s the way you really sound—to others. The good news is that, with professional coaching (or, if required, speech therapy) you can make changes to the way you sound. But in the meantime, let’s take a quick look at why your voice sounds so different from what you hear in your head.

When we talk, others hear us by sound waves passing through the air to their ears. However, we hear ourselves through not only sound waves in the air, but vibrations through our bones, muscles and other tissues. Put the fingertips of one hand on your throat, and the fingertips of the other hand on your face. Count to ten aloud and feel the vibration of the tissue of your throat and face. These vibrations go directly to your ear combining with the sound waves from the air. That’s why you can only hear yourself as others hear you by listening to your voice on a recording.

This video from Business Insider does a pretty good job of summing it up.

The best way to improve your speech is to record yourself and listen closely and honestly. That’s when the real work begins. But with time and work, you can achieve speech that sounds educated and professional.