I’m sure at some point someone has told you that you need to be louder. They’ve likely said to you: “You need to project your voice more!” It’s very possible (likely, in fact) that after this was said to you, you pushed to make your voice louder.
Well I want to suggest that there’s a way to get louder without pushing. It just requires a mental reframe. After all, what is a projectile? It’s something that hurtles out into space and doesn’t return. It’s a missile. And let’s be honest, projectiles often miss their target. So the idea of projecting our voice encourages us to push or force it out into the world, not even necessarily clearly focused on where it’s headed. That’s not what we want! We use our voice for communication, and we want that communication to land somewhere. We’re even probably interested in receiving communication and information back!
So here’s the reframe…
Another word for being louder is using more volume. If we think about it in the physics sense of the word, volume is the space inside a container. For instance, the formula for the volume of a cube or 3D rectangle is length x width x height. You know this!:
I want to suggest, then, that we start thinking about getting louder as increasing our volume. This means we start with becoming aware of the 3 dimensional space we want to fill, whether it is all the way to the back of a large theatre or just across the table in a board room. Once we’re mentally clear about the space, we then fill this space with our energy and presence. As we start to make sound, our voice will go where our energy is.
This space can be whatever shape it needs to be. A rectangle, a sphere, or even an amorphous blob. Think about it as a bubble that includes who and whatever you want to hear you. If you keep your bubble unconsciously small and leave some of your audience out of it, you’ll have to push to reach them with your voice. That’s projection. However if you let your energetic bubble become as big as the space you all occupy, your voice will easily follow. That’s volume. And it’s so much easier!
Plus thinking in terms of volume will get you energetically more attuned to your audience, which will make you a better, more present performer or communicator. Ask yourself, why do we show up to see Beyonce or Taylor Swift at a live concert in a huge venue when we could just watch videos later (and we’re probably going to watch most of it on the jumbotron anyway)? It’s because they know how to do this. They know how to fill the volume of a huge space with their dynamic, amazing energy.
So be like Bey and T Swift. Stop projecting. Instead, fill the volume of space with your energy, presence, and you voice. It’s so much more powerful and so much easier.