More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Communication Tip: How to Deal with a Scratchy Voice

t’s a public speaker’s nightmare: having to give a speech when your voice is hoarse. There are some things you can do reduce the risk of having a raspy voice or deal with it if you do.

  • Avoid drinking milk before giving a speech. Milk tends to cause mucus to build up on the vocal chords. Beer has the same effect. (Therefore, you’ll have to find something else to fortify your courage.)
  • Try drinking herbal tea with lemon and honey. It supposedly helps your voice.
  • If you smoke, avoid doing so just before a speech.
  • Practice speaking from your diaphragm. Fill your lungs full of air, and then push the whole volume of air through your voice chords. This is much easier on the voice than speaking from your throat.
  • Take it easy if your voice is hoarse. Try not to speak too much or strain your voice.
  • Avoid clearing your throat by “ah-humming.” This can damage the vocal chords.

If the raspiness goes on for a very long time, see your doctor; it could be a sign of a more serious condition. Also, be very careful of your voice if you are suffering from hoarseness. You can damage your vocal chords if you mistreat them.