Warming up your voice is very important for a good resonant voice. This is especially more so if you have long speaking gigs ahead of you.
The biggest misconception I have heard is that, only singers need to do voice warm ups.
I think that is similar to saying : Only marathon runners need to do warm ups before they run, which is not true. I think every person that does some exercise needs to warm up, and the same goes for anyone that talks more than normal for a living.
Professions that use their voices more than others for a living include: Speech Pathologists ( ME!), Teachers, Doctors, Lawyers, Public Speakers, Singers, Trainers, Actors, Politicians, Advertisers, Radio Jockeying, News broadcasters, Translators, Real Estate, Auctioneers etc. The list goes on, and the higher you get in your ranking within your company, the more you have to tap on your interpersonal skills : Voice, speaking etc.
As you can see, there is a huge range of people in the population, who need to use their voice. I personally warm up my voice for the day, before I embark on recording audios/videos of myself. I also tend to warm up my voice if I have a long speaking day ahead of me. Point that I am trying to make is, Prevention is better than cure. Do some voice warm ups consistently, and keep your voice healthy, so that you don’t end up with a sore, croaky voice during crucial periods of your career.
There are many different ways to warm up your voice, and many people have different methods of warm ups. ( Just as you would see in a gym, different warm ups for different exercises etc). I found this website, which had GREAT ideas and research articles. But here are some ideas on what to include when warming up your voice.
- Awareness of body balance and centering before you start. This means, you are stretching, bringing awareness to your body, and vocal cords, noticing areas of tension etc.
- Bringing awareness to muscles involved in breathing. I would say this involves all areas to do with breathing in and out. Engage in abdominal breathing exercises.
- Attention to the jaw. All of us hold stress in different parts of the body, and the stress gets held in the jaw. You may often walk around with a tight, clenched jaw, without realizing that you do. Smile and relax those jaw muscles!
- Tongue tension : The tongue has a mind of its own too. Check by placing your thumb under your chin, and feeling for the base of your tongue. Poke your tongue in and out – to relax them.
- Humming as a warm up.