Tip #196: Keeping Your Voice

male office worker

A trainer depends on having a clear voice. So, during cold season and cold weather, it can be very stressful if you start to get a scratchy throat or a nagging cough.
I am not a doctor and my experience is purely my own. But I have found several remedies and tips that have seen me through the trauma of a cold when I have to facilitate training.

1. Avoid dairy. It will increase phlegm, which will only make matters worse.

2. Avoid caffeinated products, cold or hot. The caffeine tightens your throat.

3. Use lemon- either lemon in water, in hot herbal tea, or in a non-caffeinated lemon beverage. It will cut any phlegm that is bothering you.

4. For coughs, I have found that Walgreen’s brand menthol or cherry cough suppressant drops are excellent. Other brands have been less effective.

5. When necessary, my doctor has prescribed a nasal spray.

6. Eat properly and get lots of sleep.

7. Have plenty of liquids- and yes, hot chicken soup is very soothing.

8. Make sure to rest your voice whenever possible.

9. If you need one, ask for a microphone so you don’t have to strain the voice you do have.

10. Get a flu shot to try to minimize the likelihood of illness.

Although it is unpleasant, it is possible to train when you are sick. Years ago, I actually fell to my knees with a coughing fit in front of a group at the very beginning of a full day of training. That’s when a kind participant who sings taught me that lemon will cut the phlegm. She went to the cafeteria, brought back lemon wedges, and got me through the day, God bless her!

I have also trained with laryngitis. I woke up prepared to conduct a three day program for folks who had flown in from around the country, and found I had absolutely no voice. I couldn’t even make myself heard on the telephone. So I had to show up, request a microphone, and spend the next three days whispering into it- which is apparently not a good thing to do if you have laryngitis. The funny part of this story is that the participants all began to whisper back!

If there is any other remedy or tip that has helped you through training with a cold, please write and tell us about it!



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