Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
How to Develop a Compeling Voice
From JohnnFour | updated December 10, 2020
Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #003
Table of Contents
- How to Develop a Compelling Voice
- The Gamemaster's Hall of Shame: Monty Haul's Top Ten Cousins
How to Develop a Compelling Voice
I learned a new habit recently that has had a surprising and positive impact in my life: speaking from the diaphragm. Breathing and speaking from the diaphragm will give you a more compelling and powerful voice–a definite plus when roleplaying–and it also gives you self-confidence and greater control. Try it and you’ll know what I mean.
Practice these instructions before going to the game table.
First, take several deep breaths. Breath in deeply through your nose and push out your stomach/mid-section as you inhale. Don’t stick your upper chest out as you intake air– that’s not your diaphragm. And don’t stick out your tummy either. The diaphragm is in between your stomach and lungs and that’s what should “take in the air.” The first several times I did this I was not used to it and there was a little discomfort, so I did not breathe as deeply. Keep at it and the area will relax/strengthen up over time.
Next, speak out loud while putting a little pressure on your diaphragm. I picture it as tensing my stomach for an incoming punch and you will need to try it a few times before getting it 100% right. Use a book or magazine article to practice.
Make it a habit to always speak from your diaphragm. Your muscles will build in that area and it will get much easier over time.
What are the benefits?
The tone of your voice drops and becomes more compelling. Your voice will not rise in pitch, as it does under stress. I call this “talking from your head instead of your gut.”
The way you breathe will change. Shallow breathing, which is typical when “talking through your head” reduces oxygen flow to the brain–and game masters need all the brain power they can get to keep on top of things.
I also noticed, as my abdomen toned up a bit after awhile, and just from the feeling I got by breathing that way, an increase in self-confidence and a greater sense of self- control.