Coping with Coronavirus COVID-19

Posted on April 3rd, 2020


It’s staggering what this world is living through right now. And you are still expected to work.

Now, that many of you are working from home, you’re teleconferencing 100% of the time using your phones, Go-To-Meeting, or ZOOM, for example.

Great and not so great.

The great part: You can still be productive, connecting to colleagues and clients while being safe in isolation.

The not so great part: that easy and relaxed way you speak when a person, or persons are sitting in front of you, is now a problem.

The problem is comprehension. Your pronunciation and enunciation need to be modified for crystal clear comprehension.

If you have an accent, other than the majority of those to whom you’re speaking, your pronunciation is now even more critical.

And added to this, your tone of voice can be a hindrance.

Oftentimes, I have had to turn the sound down when conversing with people, because their sharp voices hurt my ears. You’ve done it, I’m sure.

You can’t afford to have people grasp 80% of what you’re saying, nor have the listener not even want to hear you!

But what needs to change? Well, that depends on your particular accent, but making sure your vowels are strong and consonants vibrant will help.

Here are a few tips:

START vs STOP:

“Start the work” vs “Stop the work”

That’s a pretty serious difference in meaning.

You may be surprised that these can sound the same. It all depends on your accent.

The R aspect of this vowel sound, called a DIPHTHONG (a sound formed by the combination of two vowels), is really important, specifically in a strong American accent.

Note: Americans love R. Make it your best friend!

WON’T vs WANT:

“I won’t, Amir” vs “I want Amir”.

Poor Amir will be very confused, or happy that you want him!

The Long O sound in WON’T, must be very precise.

A simple trick to create this sound, is to form your lips into a rounded shape, making a circle with your mouth. As you make the sound, the center of the circle gets smaller; small enough that you could put a pen in that little space.

SHARP PITCH

I can’t type pitch, so just imagine that you’re listening to me dragging a metal chair across a concrete floor.

Got it?

Relaxing your vocal chords is key here.

One method I use to modify this, is to place your voice so it comes from a warm MMMM sound, as if you’re humming to yourself. And then speak from that same placement. You’re aiming to hum your words. And this voice is powerful and commanding in person, as well as on video.

MMMMM…I won’t start without Amir…MMMM

Good for Amir!