I’ve noticed a lot of nerds, including myself sometimes, tend to talk in a pinched, nasal tone. This is something that women do not find attractive. Women like deep, manly voices. You don’t have to sound like Darth Vader, but you do need some depth and some bass in your voice.
If you have a high or nasal voice, don’t fret. It’s not something you’re born with, but a bad habit that you can change. All you have to do is stop using your nose so much and let the rest of your vocal apparatus do some of the work. Here’s what I’ve learned from celebrity vocal coach John Deaver:
Sound is produced by air from your diaphragm being pushed across the vocal chords, but there are three main places where sound can vibrate, and all of these play a role in shaping the sound:
- The nose and sinuses.
- The mouth.
- The chest and throat.
Your first instinct might be to say “Ok, I’ll push all the sound into my throat and talk with a really deep voice”, but that would either make you sound fake or stupid. This is because you can’t articulate the vowel sounds with the throat.
The trick is to find a balance between all three. The chest resonates and provides depth and fullness, the mouth provides clear articulation and a natural buzzing vibration, and the nose and sinuses provide the occasional high pitch or nasal consonant.
Here is an exercise that you can do every day to retrain your voice:
- Start with a low hum to get the feel of chest resonance. Do this for a couple of minutes to get warmed up.
- Pinch your nose and talk or read out loud. You’ll feel when the sound starts trying to go up into your nose, and you’ll be able to pull it back toward the throat.
Do this every day for a few minutes, ideally in the morning, since your voice is naturally lower at that time, and it’ll help you set the tone for the rest of the day. Then, throughout the day, listen to yourself talking, and try to subtly move the sound away from the nose and sinuses and more towards the chest and throat. Over time, this will become a habit, and it will sound completely natural without you having to think about it.
Nothing’s sexier than confidence. A good-looking person hiding in the corner will only accomplish a fraction of what an average person with confidence can accomplish. And that applies to so many aspects of life, from business to dating. You can’t fake confidence, but you can pump it up from the inside using the following tips:
- Do something that scares you. The first time I sang in the New York City subway, I was nervous, but afterward, I wasn’t afraid of anything. I was walking down the street singing, smiling and making conversation with people. Can you imagine how cocky you’d feel if you went skydiving? It doesn’t have to be that intense though. Try singing karaoke or playing at an open-mic, talking to a complete stranger, joining Toastmasters to practice public speaking, anything that gets you out of your comfort zone.
- Lift weights. Heavy weight lifting produces a surge in testosterone and growth hormone, both of which we could all use more of. To maximize the benefit, do compound exercises and use free weights so you can work more muscles per exercise and spend less time in the gym grunting. (I talked more about weight-training here).
- Stop looking at porn so much. I’m not a prude. I think looking at porn once in a while is probably fine, but chronically overstimulating yourself will result in abnormally low dopamine levels, leaving you depressed and anxious. Not sexy. Read more about it here.
- Stand up straight. Good posture not only makes you look more confident, it makes you feel more confident, too. Instead of getting all stiff and awkward, just relax your shoulders and neck and picture a string attached to your breastbone pulling you upward. So, chest up and out, shoulders down and relaxed. And tilt your head up slightly, like you’re relaxing and taking in the air on a beautiful summer day.
- Smile. Sure, we smile when we’re happy, but did you know it actually works both ways? Smiling makes you happy, and happy people are more confident. And since smiles are contagious, people will smile back at you, which will make you feel even more happy and confident, and so on and so on in a positive feedback loop. I find that this works best when I smile from the inside. In other words, don’t just flash a smile, think it. Let it start from your eyes and then slowly wash over your face. Read more about the power of smilling here.
- Put on a nice shirt. If you look better, you’ll feel better about yourself. There is a difference, however, between a shirt that’s “nice” and a shirt that makes you look good, and it all comes down to fit. Fit matters more than price, fabric, color, or designer. Get a perfect fit by making sure of two things: 1) The shoulder seam aligns with your actual shoulder (this makes your shoulders look square and manly) and 2) Avoid excess fabric around the mid-section (this just makes you look fatter).
- Get a haircut. There is probably no cheaper and quicker way to dramatically improve your appearance than with a good haircut. If you’ve been going to some lazy barber who’s been hacking at you with a clipper, take the time and money to find a real hair-stylist who can suggest an improvement.
Any other suggestions?