in: Behavior, Character, Podcast

• Last updated: September 30, 2021

Podcast #506: How to Improve Your Speaking Voice

When it comes to your personal presentation, there’s one aspect that often gets overlooked: your voice. 

Your voice is a big part of what makes you, you, and what makes you likable and influential. Yet you probably don’t think too much about it. 

Not to mention, my guest today argues, you’re likely not even using your true voice thanks to bad habits you’ve picked up throughout your life. 

His name is Roger Love, he’s a voice coach who’s worked with some of the world’s most famous singers and speakers, and the author of Set Your Voice Free. Today on the show, Roger explains why having a clear, confident, pleasant speaking voice is important for success in your career and your life, the the biggest ways people sabotage their voice, including voice fry, uptalk, and being nasally, and how these issues can be addressed and eliminated. Roger also shares how to speak in a more masculine way, and why you’re probably not speaking loudly enough. 

Show Highlights

  • Why singing and speaking are basically the same 
  • Why the voice you have is not necessarily the voice you were born with
  • The reason so many people dislike hearing their own voice 
  • The most common vocal bad habits 
  • The rise of uptalk (valley talk), and how it’s different from going up in melody
  • What role does anatomy play in our speaking voice?
  • Why men try to artificially lower their voice, and the physical risks of doing so
  • Brass tacks tips for improving your voice 
  • What is voice fry? Why are people doing it?
  • How to avoid sounding angry 
  • Why people almost always speak quieter than they should 
  • Why you mumble and how to fix it
  • Why your voice is more important than your words 

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Read the Transcript

Brett McKay: Welcome to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. When it comes to your personal presentation, there is one aspect that often gets overlooked, your voice. Your voice is a big part of what makes you you and what makes you likable, influential, yet you probably don’t think too much about it, not to mention my guest today argues that you’re likely not even using your true voice thanks to bad habits you picked up throughout your life.

The name is Roger Love. He’s a voice coach who’s worked with some of the world’s most famous singers and speakers and the author of the book Set Your Voice Free. Today on the show, Roger explains why having a clear, confident, pleasant speaking voice is important for success in your career and in your life, the biggest ways people sabotage their voice, including voice fry, uptalk, and being nasally and how these issues can be addressed and eliminated. Roger also shares how to speak in a more masculine way, why you’re probably not speaking loudly enough.

Roger Love, welcome to the show.

Roger Love: Thank you so much for having me.

Brett McKay: You are a vocal coach and you’ve written a book called Set Your Voice Free: How to Get the Singing Or Speaking Voice You Want. How did you become a vocal coach? Is that something when you were eight, like, “I want to be a vocal coach”? Or did it sort of happen organically?

Roger Love: It happened organically. I was really interested in singing, all things singing, so when I was 13 years old, I convinced my mother to take me to have lessons from the most famous voice coach in the world. When I was 16 years old, he left for Canada to teach a masterclass and he didn’t have anybody to take over the studio, so he just casually asked me if I wanted to take over the studio on Monday. I casually told him that I had no idea how to teach, that I was just doing my best to become a good student. He said, “Don’t let that worry you because I’m going to pay you hundreds of dollars an hour,” and I couldn’t wait to get over to that studio on Monday fast enough.

I showed up as a novice voice coach, never having been trained as a voice coach, and my first day, I was voice coaching The Beach Boys and Earth, Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder and all of these incredible super groups that he had already had as students.

Brett McKay: That’s great. Was that intimidating?

Roger Love: Can you even imagine?

Brett McKay: Yeah.

Roger Love: One by one, the biggest singing stars in the world came into the studio and every single time, I thought, “I should just let them know that I know nothing and we should just end right there.” But I literally faked it, and what happened was a miracle. It surprised me just as much as anyone. Six months later when he came back, every single one of his students wanted to study with me. They wanted to stay with me because we found that I had an ability to listen to people’s voices and then make changes to make them better.

Brett McKay: Are most of your clients, are they singers or do you also work with public figures who, they don’t sing but they do public speaking?

Roger Love: For 17 years, I stayed as a junior partner with that teacher and only taught singers, and I still have about 50% of my roster as singers. But along the line, speakers started coming to me, people like Anthony Robbins and Suze Orman and actors like Reese Witherspoon and Jeff Bridges. They wanted me to work on their speaking voices sometimes. In the beginning, I literally turned them away because I considered myself only a singing teacher. Through the process of me taking them as students and learning what I needed to learn and create content that I needed to create, I realized that there’s really no difference at all between speaking and singing and that I had gotten very, very good at helping singers open up their mouths and influence millions of people, and then I realized I could do the same thing for speakers.

Brett McKay: Well, that’s counterintuitive that singing and speaking are the same because most people think, “Okay, I can understand a vocal coach for a singer, but speaking, that’s something you do every day, you’ve been doing it since you were one.” Why would people need a voice coach? What goes on with the way we speak that we develop bad habits and things like that?

Roger Love: Well, here’s the thing. People believe that they are the voices, speaking voices that they were born with, but the truth is it’s not true. What happens is, as we grow from babies, we just imitate the sounds that we hear. If Mommy speaks with a really nasal voice and I really want to get breast milk, well, then I say, “Hungry, hungry.” If Dad speaks with a really airy voice and I want to be carried all the time, I say, “Up, up.” So we imitate the sounds that we hear as we learn language, and that’s our way to survive.

Then suddenly we’re adults and we think that’s the voice that we were born with, that voice that we hate on our voicemail message, that voice that doesn’t seem to be getting us where we want in our careers or in our personal lives. We think that’s the voice we were born with. But I teach people that you can just decide from today you don’t like your voice, it’s not working for you, and you can learn how to use it so that your voice becomes your greatest communication asset that you could ever have.

Brett McKay: Yeah. People don’t talk about it, but there’s a lot of people who don’t like their voice. They hear that recording and it sounds like, oh, boy, I don’t like that at all.

Roger Love: Join the group. About 95%, if not higher, of the people who listen to their voicemail message even after they bought a brand new, really expensive phone, they listen to it and they’re like, “Ech, who’s that?” Then they try to re-record it, and then they still don’t like it and they try and try and try. About 30 minutes later, your average person says, “I’m an executive. This is ridiculous. I can’t possibly spend anymore time recording this silly message,” and then you settle and you leave your phone alone. Well, that voice that you don’t like, that you settled with on your voicemail message is the voice you’re using all through your business dealings, all through your personal dealings. Maybe other people don’t like it that much either.

Brett McKay: That’s kind of the hard thing about voice because you use it all the time, so there’s a disconnect. You don’t notice it until you actually listen to it as a third party.

Roger Love: That’s right. We’re not in the habit of recording our voices. But we also don’t realize that the sounds we make are making people believe us or like us. This is so interesting because in 2017, Yale did a groundbreaking study to try to prove once and for all when I speak to you or you speak to me what makes me believe you and like you. They found, after interviewing and studying hundreds and thousands of people, they realized that we’ve learned to lie with our words, so you can’t trust what people say, and that we’ve learned to lie with our physicality and our body language.

If you’re miserable and you put a smile on your face, you think you’re convincing the person you’re talking to that you are the happiest person in the world, but you’re not, because words lie and body language lies. But the study proved that the only thing that people believe are the sounds of your voice. Somehow, people can perceive whether you’re telling the truth, whether you’re honest, and whether you’re likable and believable just from the sounds of your voice.

Brett McKay: That’s powerful stuff. It pays to think about it a bit. You mentioned the way we develop these bad habits, vocal habits, is just imitation. We imitate our parents, we imitate friends. We might even imitate people we watch on TV. In your course of working with people, what are the most common bad vocal habits you see? You mentioned speaking with an airy … Is that a bad habit, speaking with an airy voice?

Roger Love: Some people think that speaking with air is speaking because you care. You go to a psychologist and they say, “It’s all about you. Roger, talk to me. Talk to me.” And they get all airy. Though the airy sound might sometimes work in the bedroom, it does not work in the board room because air, when it comes out of your mouth, dissipates in the air. When people are listening to airy voices, they’re just thinking weakness. They’re not thinking love. They’re thinking lack of strength. So, airiness is one.

Here’s a couple of other things that people need to immediately think about their own voice and then make the changes. We were taught when we speak to get to a comma or a period and then go down. I’m speaking and then I get to a comma and I go down in volume and I go down in pitch to a lower note. Every time I’m speaking, when I get to a comma, I go down, or I get to a period and I go down. But here’s why that is absolutely crazy and we should have never been told that. When you go down, when the melody goes down from highs to lows, it makes people sad.

Check this out. I love my wife. It’s my birthday. I didn’t get any presents. When I go down, it makes me sound sad, and then it makes you sound sad and it makes you feel sad. Yet, that’s what people are doing. We’re not supposed to go down all the time. Can you imagine telling Mozart that every time before he got to a rest he’d have to go down in his melody? Nobody would tell Mozart that. Nobody would even tell Ariana Grande that. The melodies create emotions.

On the other side, if you just went up, I love my wife, I love my dog, I love chocolate. Going up makes people happy. How many people listening today are going down at commas and then wondering why people are falling asleep or getting sad when they’re listening to them?

Brett McKay: No, that’s interesting. Related to that, one thing I’ve noticed in the past few years is this, I get uptalk. Is that when you go up? Whenever people do it, it’s like, I love this? It turns a statement, it makes it sound like a question.

Roger Love: Perfect. I’m so glad you asked that question because there’s a difference between uptalk and going up in melody. Let me show you how simple it is. If you slide from one note to the next, you like chocolate, it’s my birthday, I’m okay, that’s that. But if you don’t slide and you just say, “It’s my birthday. I like chocolate,” if you just go up instead of slide, then it’s only bad if you slide. And all those articles were written by non-musicians who didn’t really understand how emotion and music create thoughts. You’re absolutely allowed to go up. You just can’t slide.

Brett McKay: How do you think that started? I’ve noticed in the past five years really young people do the slide thing.

Roger Love: The origins that I believe are from the San Fernando Valley in California where Frank Zappa had a daughter named Moon Unit Zappa, and she used to speak like that and she would slide, that’s okay, let’s go. Then she actually became a celebrity, one of the first media celebrities, at least a daughter celebrity. Then that voice became known as valley talk before it was known as uptalk. But I’m dispelling the myth that going up is bad. As long as you don’t slide, going up is amazing. When I go up, I’m signaling to the listener that I’m not finished so they don’t interrupt me.

How many people are sick and tired of being interrupted? And the only reason they’re being interrupted is because they’re going down, and when you go down, the other person you’re speaking to thinks that you’re done, so, of course, they jump in. If you don’t want to be interrupted anymore and you don’t want to make people sad, you better learn the difference between valley talk and just going up in melody called ascending melodies.

Brett McKay: That’s fantastic. That’s a good example of how singing is the same as speaking.

Roger Love: Exactly right. When you think about it, singing and speaking, we use the same vocal cords. We use the same control over air. When a singer sings, they have melody so that there’s a melody line. Well, when we speak, we should have a melody line better than the ones most of us are using because, as I just showed you, most people are doing melodies that go down, melodies that go down all the time. We have melody. A singer has volume changes. Sometimes it’s loud and sometimes it’s soft, and we should do the same thing for speaking. A singer gets loud sometimes. Sorry, a singer gets fast sometimes and slow sometimes, and we should do the same thing for speaking.

When you think about it, almost every variable that exists in singing, pitch, pace, tone, melody, and volume, they should be considerations in the speaking voice, but here’s the problem. You and I weren’t born with the manual that told us how to use our voices. I didn’t get one. There was one missing from my crib. You have a nice voice, but I bet you didn’t get one either. I’ve spent my life writing the manual of what people should use their voices to achieve. If they want to influence people and if they want to be perceived a certain way, and if they want to have great relationships with themselves and with other people, and they want to have great business dealings, and they want to be able to get into an elevator and in three floors make a pitch that turns into a great business, then they need to start thinking about their voice and stop worrying about a lot of the other things they’re worried about.

Brett McKay: Well, another common complaint that people have about their voice is like, “Well, I’m very nasally,” and they think, “Well, it’s just the way I am. There’s nothing I can do to change about it.” Is nasally speaking, is that just a matter of habit? It’s not a matter of anatomy? Or does anatomy play a role?

Roger Love: Anatomy plays the role because as sound heads through the throat and then goes towards the sinuses, the size of your nasal cavity, the size of your nostrils, they play a little role, but it isn’t definitive. In other words, no matter you might have the smallest nose or the biggest nose or the smallest sinuses or the littlest sinuses, but you can immediately get rid of nasality, and let me give you the simplest fix right now. When people have a nasal voice, it’s because their Adam’s apples are actually too high. If you put your index finger on your chin and you slide it back down to the first bump that you find … Can you find your Adam’s apple, Brett?

Brett McKay: Yes. I’m doing it right now.

Roger Love: Okay. Now, swallow and you’ll notice the Adam’s apple jumps up.

Brett McKay: Right.

Roger Love: Then it comes back down. Okay. Most people, when they speak, they let their Adam’s apple come up really high and that closes up the back part of their throat. Then, when the back part of the throat is closed, the air goes towards the sinuses. It’s a super simple, easy fix. Put your finger back on your Adam’s apple and say mum. Say mum.

Brett McKay: Mum.

Roger Love: Now, say mum like Yogi Bear, mum, mum, mum.

Brett McKay: Muv, muv, muv.

Roger Love: Did you notice how your Adam’s apple went down?

Brett McKay: Yes.

Roger Love: Now if you had a nasal voice, you don’t, if any of your listeners have a nasal voice, they need to put their finger on their Adam’s apple. They need to practice for a few minutes with their Adam’s apple down, making this Yogi Bear low larynx sound, I call it, and then the Adam’s apple just jumps down and the throat opens. They do this for a few minutes, even though they feel totally silly, but it’s telling the Adam’s apple to stay down, and then they let go a little bit of the bassy sound and let go a little bit more and let go a little bit more, but try to keep their Adam’s apple down where their finger is. In a few minutes, after you practice it a few times, you’ll learn that you can keep your Adam’s apple down and it’ll stay there by itself. When the Adam’s apple stays down, when you practice it just a little, your throat sounds open and full and rich and all the nasality goes away.

Brett McKay: That’s amazing. That’s a great tip. You say that’s the person’s true voice? Once they eliminate those bad habits, that’s their true speaking voice?

Roger Love: Great comment. I believe most people have no idea what their true voice is because they’re so busy imitating all the people they grew up with. The only way you find your true voice is to bump heads with somebody like me who says, “Here, let’s do this. Let’s learn how to breathe better. Let’s learn how to drop your jaw. Let’s learn how to go high and low, and it’s really simple.” Then, when you’ve built an instrument, which takes minutes, then you can find your true voice.

Brett McKay: I think for a lot of men, this is the Art of Manliness podcast, one thing that they’re trying, they do with their voice is they lower it a lot. That might not be their true voice, correct?

Roger Love: Exactly right. Here’s what happens. Before puberty, a man and a woman’s voice is exactly the same. It hits the same notes on the piano. If you said hello and they said hello, it would be the exact same note, same frequencies. That’s also why I believe that little boys and little girls get along so well, because they make the same sounds, so they feel very similar. Then puberty happens and a male voice drops an entire octave, which is a huge direction down, lower, and a woman’s voice does not drop. A woman stays on the higher side and a man goes lower.

Well, when that happens, a man usually doesn’t even pay any attention to the high parts anymore and just focuses on the bottom part of the range because it’s new and it’s exciting. Not only is it already lower than women’s voices and already louder and thicker because the cords are longer, but it already sounds different. Most men don’t really need to then, well, I’ll just make it lower or I’ll make it more husky. It’s not true that they need to make it louder and thicker and bassier because it’s already in the basement and they’re already on the penthouse.

But there are sounds that men should learn how to make that don’t separate them from women. Point one, yes, that chest voice, that lower part of a man’s voice, is very appealing, so every man needs to know how to access it and create volume and thickness without any kind of shouting or angry sounds, because people do not like listening to people who are shouting and angry. But, yes, a man should learn how to find this beautiful, open, low chest voice.

But a man who is stuck there all the time ends up scientifically as being proven to be less attractive to women sometimes because not only does the woman, for example, want to hear a sound that proves he can go out and hunt the buffalo and bring it back. A woman also wants to hear sounds in a male voice that shows honesty and trust and caring. A man who only stays in the very low part of his range and sounds like a caveman is not allowing those caring, loving feelings to actually vibrate against his partner some of the time. Does that make sense?

Brett McKay: That makes sense. Also, I’ve heard, you can correct me if I’m wrong, is that if you try to artificially stay down in that very low range, it can actually damage … You can lose your voice. It hurts your vocal cords.

Roger Love: Any time you try to push your voice too low or too high and you create pressure, you can damage your vocal cords. But there are really simple ways to create thickness down at the bottom part of the range. Let me give you one right now. Most men have too much air at the bottom part of the range, so it’s not just about being low, but they’re low and airy. The low and airiness is not perceived as manly. It’s the low and edginess, that edge sound, that is actually perceived as manly. How do you go from air to edge, because they’re both on the same note? There I am down there low thinking I’m super manly, except it’s all airy, and now I add that edge and I really understand what being a man and having a male voice is all about. You do this. Say the word rat. Do that for me, Brett.

Brett McKay: Rat.

Roger Love: Now when you did that, that was awesome. When you did that, did you feel like the little buzz, a little rumble in the back part of your throat?

Brett McKay: I did.

Roger Love: Rat. Do it again for me.

Brett McKay: Rat.

Roger Love: Awesome. As opposed to rat, which sounds all airy. Right?

Brett McKay: Yeah, right.

Roger Love: The difference between brat and rat is that edge sound, the sound of the vocal cords vibrating. We need to learn how to use that edge in every word. So, say this for me, I …

Brett McKay: I …

Roger Love: I can if I want.

Brett McKay: I can if I want.

Roger Love: Almost. I can if I want, edgy all the way through.

Brett McKay: Okay. Here we go. I can .. Oh, man. I can … Now I’m not doing it. I’m like …

Roger Love: You’re closer than you think. Stay on low. I can …

Brett McKay: I can if I want.

Roger Love: Awesome. Most people listening sound more like this when they’re trying to go low. I can if I want, and then that doesn’t sound masculine because air dissipates in the air and has no strength. You’re not going to be able to lift the mountain unless you have some of that edge sound. That makes all the difference in the world.

Brett McKay: It’s amazing. Unrelated, I can see this going, the edge thing, going into another voice trend I’ve seen, and I think it’s come out of California as well, the idea of voice fry where you’re like … It’s like the Kardashians do it. But I’ve also seen dudes do it as well, where they’re just like … And they do it with uptalk as well. What is voice fry? How is it different from that edge?

Roger Love: Okay. Again, great question. Vocal fry happens when the vocal cords are vibrating with no air, so vocal fry is this. I’m talking to you and then I run out of air and then I feel like I’m getting paid by the word, so I’ll just add a few more. And the Kardashians are princes and princesses of this. They run out of air and then it goes to vocal fry. Vocal fry has no air. Vocal edge has air coming out of the mouth. Totally different. Edge, fry. Fry sounds like you have a sore throat or a throat infection. You’ve got no air and you got no power. Edge has air and thickness and power, completely different things. We should lose that fry altogether. You want to know how to lose it?

Brett McKay: How do you lose it? Just breathe?

Roger Love: You’re so right. But specifically, one thing that you need to do with breathing. Let’s do this and have all your listeners listen. This is what …

Brett McKay: Okay.

Roger Love: Take a breath on the count of three. One, two, three, big breath. One, two, three, breathe. Now you’re smart, Brett, and you probably let your tummy come forward as if you had a balloon. Yes or no.

Brett McKay: Correct.

Roger Love: But a lot of people let their chest and shoulders go up. That’s called accessory breathing. When you breathe, you take a big breath and your shoulders come up and then you exhale and your shoulders come down. But that’s the way to get the least amount of air into the body, and that’s the way to use the air in the worst way because it doesn’t give you a good sound. We’re supposed to do a thing called diaphragmatic breathing, which means we breathe into our nose. We pretend that we have a balloon in our stomachs. We breathe in, the balloon inflates, so it gets bigger, and then all the time we’re speaking, we’re supposed to be letting our stomachs come in.

That’s just the same way a car works. You put gas in the engine. You drive by pushing the accelerator pedal so there’s always gas, gasoline getting to the engine and the car runs and wins races. But we don’t do that with our breath. We hold our breaths, and if your stomach is not coming in when you speak, that’s what creates the vocal fry. That’s what creates nasal voice. That’s what creates a small, thin voice. We should learn to only speak while our stomachs are coming in. Take a big breath with me.

Brett McKay: Okay.

Roger Love: Pretend you have a balloon in your tummy. Take a breath and say, “Roger wants me to only speak while my stomach is coming in.” Do that one.

Brett McKay: Roger only wants me to speak when my stomach is coming in.

Roger Love: Great. When you do that, you can’t possibly go into vocal fry, and you can’t possibly sound like a mouse because that air is pushing the sound out so you have great volume without sounding angry. Oh, I want to talk about that. People don’t realize … I already mentioned that when you go down, I love my wife, I like chocolate, when you go down, you sound sad. People think the emotion you’re exhibiting is sadness. And when you go up, people think you’re happy. But what’s the vocal sound of angry? Because men need to really know this, because women and everyone in general is just sick and tired of people yelling at them as if they were angry. Nobody likes that.

You might just have a thick, strong voice and people are saying, “Who are you mad at? Are you mad at me? Why are you arguing with me? Why are you always trying to mansplain by getting louder?” When there’s phrases like mansplaining that’s happening in the world, we need to deal with that volume thing. Okay. Here’s the sounds, the components of angry. When you get louder, but you get faster, when the words get faster and you get louder, those are two elements of angry. If you get louder and then you get faster while you get louder, then the third element is you don’t have any melody at all. It’s all just one note. If I get louder and I stay on monotone, I don’t have any time for notes. This is the only note I’m going to give you, and I speak really fast, it sounds angry.

Again, this is all simple stuff. When you sound angry, it’s because you’re saying the words really fast. You don’t have any melody and you’re louder. But if you just took one of those ingredients out, you wouldn’t sound angry. For example, let’s say I was really loud but I had melody, so I was going up. Well, if I was really loud and I had melody, I don’t sound angry at all. I sound happy. Volume, if I mix a little bit of melody in it, immediately takes away all of the anger. Also, volume, if I just slow down the words, I don’t sound angry anymore. Simple trick, but this solves a lot of problems, and this will make everyone realize you’re not trying to argue with them. All you got to do when you get louder is add a little melody or slow down your words and then no one will ever think you’re angry.

Brett McKay: Well, and speaking of volume, you write in the book about most people when they speak, they undershoot the volume. They speak quieter than they need to.

Roger Love: Yep. Most people are speaking as if they were always on the phone or they always have microphone right in front of their lips. Even public speakers do that. They’re like, “Well, I’m going to be mic’d, so I don’t have to make very much volume.” But the truth is, is that people don’t understand that speaking is supposed to be a physical connection. Let me explain. When I speak to you, my sound leaves my mouth in the form of invisible sound waves. This isn’t science fiction. This is true. Those sound waves exit my mouth, and if I’m a great speaker, those sound waves vibrate your body. They leave my mouth and then they travel across the air a few feet or however far you are, and they vibrate your body.

When you feel my sound, we’re actually connected, and then that sound, some of it goes into your ears and goes into your brain and gets processed. But if my voice doesn’t physically get over to where you are, we are actually disconnected. We’re not connected. This isn’t really having a conversation, and most people are speaking in a way with less volume and less edge. It’s like they’re talking to themselves. The sound is coming out of their mouths and lucky if the sound is going an inch in front of them, but it isn’t going two feet or three feet or six feet, however far away the person is or the people are. We have to learn to do that because we not only want people to hear us. We want them to feel us. It’s a physical thing. Isn’t that interesting?

Brett McKay: That is really interesting. Another issue that people have with speaking, there’s the tone part, sounding nasally and things like that, but people also are insecure about their enunciation and how they pronounce things. They say, “Well, I just speak like I have a bunch of rocks in my mouth.” What can people do to get better at that aspect?

Roger Love: The number-one reason that people mumble and other people can’t hear them is because they don’t drop their jaw. 85% of the population speaks and their upper teeth are too close to their bottom teeth. It’s like they’re clenching their jaw. They have tension in their jaw. They’re not opening their mouth. They somehow have learned to speak like ventriloquists and they don’t move their jaw. They don’t drop their jaw, and they think they can get all the words like that, but when you don’t open your mouth, then all the words get all mushed together. People think it’s because they speak too fast. It isn’t. It’s because they’re not dropping their jaw more. You’re supposed to drop your jaw when you apeak, and then that separates word from word, vowel from consonant. Then people will totally understand you when you learn to drop your jaw more. Super simple.

Also, you know what I forgot to mention? We live in a world, because you’re talking about words now, people don’t understand the words. Well, I also wanted to mention that science for the last 50 years has proven that the words you say don’t really even matter, but that everyone who’s listening to us today is of the mind of thinking that if I had the right words, I could convince this person to hire me. If I had the right words, I could make this company go forward. If I had the right words, this person would go out with me. This person would marry me if I had the right words.

But science proves now that the words matter the least and that the sounds of your voice matter infinitely more than the words you use. Those people that are still just trying to learn the right words, they’re already behind the eight ball. You need to learn what sounds to make so that people feel things when they hear you. Nobody’s going to remember the words you use, but they will remember the way you made them feel, and you can only do that with the sounds of your voice.

Brett McKay: This doesn’t take a lot of practice, a lot of time. Some people think, “Well, if I’m going to improve my voice, I’m going to have to dedicate hours a week.” Do you need to do that?

Roger Love: No. That’s what’s great about it. You want to learn how to play an instrument like the piano, you better set aside 6, 10, 12 hours a day to practice piano if you want to be an amazing pianist. Voice is so easy to change because I immediately break all of the bad habits that people have, and when you just break a few of the bad habits, boom, all of a sudden, the true voice starts coming out. I have people do what are called vocal warmups, super fun sounds that they do for minutes, a few times during the week, just two or three times a week, once a day, and they’re super fun and they warm up the voice. After a few minutes, you feel like your voice is an instrument and you can play it and everyone else seems to be wanting to hear you because they’re realizing that you’re suddenly speaking their favorite tune.

Brett McKay: What does that sound like?

Roger Love: Exercises are fun, like dug, dug, dug, dug, dug, dug, dug. I’ve designed these exercises to put the vocal cords in the right spot and to fix how the air goes to them. Just a few minutes of gugs and dugs and some other little warmups that I have people do and a little bit of breathing practice, you’re good to go. You can go out and conquer your day based on knowing that you’re going to sound the best and everybody’s going to want to talk to you.

Brett McKay: Would there be a benefit for people who don’t want to be singers but just want to improve their voice or their voice voice, their talking voice? Would there be any benefit of taking singing lessons?

Roger Love: There is a benefit taking singing lessons, yes, because you learn how to breathe, you learn how to find the high notes and the low notes. But I’ve taken 17 years of being a singing coach, teaching the most famous artists in the world, and condensed that into what speakers know, into what doctors and lawyers and teachers and every man and every woman actually needs to know about their voice so they can have the same benefits that great singers get.

Brett McKay: That’s awesome. They don’t have to do the singing class. They could, but you’ve distilled it for them.

Roger Love: Yeah. And most people believe they can either sing or they can’t, but everyone can have a musical speaking voice and then use that voice to achieve the things that they want out of life and the things that they’re not getting now. They’ve tried everything else. They’ve tried another degree. They keep reading more books, but yet, they don’t have the success that they want. The last thing on their list that they’re thinking about is the sound of their voice and yet, that is the greatest makeover that you could ever have. It takes minutes. I get thousands and thousands of emails a month from people that just read one of my books or got one of my online programs. Never met me, but completely changed their voices and then changed their lives based on that.

Brett McKay: Have you ever had an experience where someone changed their voice for the better, but then they had their friends and family, “What are you doing? Why are you … That’s not how you sound. You’re trying to be someone different”?

Roger Love: I usually do it so gradually that I don’t shock the people. They come to see a lesson with me or they buy one of my products. They change their voice, they go home. It’s so open and rich and thick and strong with no anger, and it’s got so much music in it that usually just the opposite happens. People say, “Wow, you sound so happy today,” or, “Did something good happen to you today?” Because, again, I’m going to quote one of my students in a project that I did this past year.

One of my jobs was I took Bradley Cooper and I taught him how to sing for the film A Star Is Born. He did an amazing job, and, of course, it won all kinds of awards and the public loved it. It was a super hit movie, and his voice sounded great. Didn’t you think he sounded like the singer he was supposed to?

Brett McKay: Yeah. He sounds good.

Roger Love: He told me after the process was done, he said, “Roger, the thing I’ve learned the most is you can’t lie with your voice, that finding your voice really is the key to figuring out who you are as a character, as a person in life, that you can’t lie through voice.” I thought that was beautiful, that understanding that if you want to be perceived as believable, if you want to be authentic, if you want to showcase the best of who you are, you have to use your voice.

They used to say that your eyes were the mirror to your soul, but it’s not true anymore. Now, your voice is the mirror to your soul. If you want people to see inside of you, to see your best parts, to see why you deserve the promotion, to see why they should go out with you and have your babies, if you want any of that, then you have to use your voice and you have to start today to say, “My voice can be better, so I’m going to use my voice to make my life better and make every communication I have mean something.”

Brett McKay: I love it. Well, Roger, where can people go to learn more about the book and your work?

Roger Love: Well, the good news is that I have prepared a very special offer to your listeners, and it’s $50 off of my Perfect Voice complete collection, and it’s just for listening today. If you go to,, and you enter the code manly and when you write it, write it, say it with an edge, manly, not manly like airy, manly, at checkout and you’ll get $50 off of what already is the most cost-effective program and effective program on voice on the Internet.

Brett McKay: Fantastic. Well, Roger Love, thanks for your time. It’s been a pleasure.

Roger Love: Oh, thank you so much for having me.

Brett McKay: My guest today was Roger Love. His book is Set Your Voice Free. It’s available on and bookstores everywhere. Also find out more information about his work at Also check out our show notes at

Well, that wraps up another edition of the AoM podcast. Check out our website,, where you find our podcast archives. There’s over 500 there as well as thousands of articles written over the years about personal finance, physical fitness, how to be a better husband, better father. You name it, we’ve got it there. If you haven’t done so already, I’d appreciate it if you’d take one minute to give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher. It helps out a lot, and if you’ve done that already, thank you. Please consider sharing the show with a friend or family member who you think would get something out of it. As always, thank you for the continued support.

Until next time, this is Brett McKay reminding you to not only listen to the AoM podcast, but put what you’ve heard into action.

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