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I know many of you have had to deliver a speech when the stakes were high. And for whatever reason, you got a flu bug, bad cold or sinus condition. To top it off, you couldn’t cancel. This can be a terrifying!

Well! A couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to give a 2 day voice training workshop in the Midwest and two days before I get the worst cold and sinus condition I have had in years. You know, blowing your nose, coughing, ears all plugged up, a tickle in the throat and the beginnings of a hacking cough. People, were excited about voice training workshop and traveling from all over the Midwest. There was no way to cancel. I needed to get on a plane, travel through airports, stay in an air-conditioned hotel with windows that can’t be opened, (no fresh air), give the workshop and get back home.  Exhausted at the prospect, I thought, lucky, I asked for a lapel mike!

As you know, traveling in airplanes with a cold is no fun! Here are a few general tips.


  1. To relieve the pressure in your ears, which can be excruciatingly painful, take ½ a tablet of decongestant before taking off and before landing.
  2. Take a 12 hr. slow release expectorant to loosen mucus that may be building up on your vocal chords.
  3. It is important to keep hydrated, so take bottles of water on the plane and drink them all.  NO caffeine or sodas.
  4. Take along your neck pillow so you can breathe more easily while sleeping.

Here are a few extras that I use.  After I get to my seat, I take out my peppermint oil and put a dab in each nostril. It smells good, helps to soothe your sinuses, and keeps allergens and whatever is in the recycled airplane air from getting into your nose and sinuses.

Through out the day, I take a great deal of Vitamin C, eat light, easy to digest food, fruit, soups, cooked vegetables, (no dairy because it tends to produce mucus) and drink herbal Throat Coat and Breathe Easy teas.  To feel really relaxed I put my lavender scented eye pillow over my eyes and sinuses as I doze. It is important to stay as relaxed and comfortable as possible.

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As soon as I arrived at my Midwest destination city, I went straight to my hotel, took a steaming shower, ordered room service, took another decongestant and expectorant tablet  and got into bed.  REST is still the best cure…I knew if could get 10 hrs. of sleep…I would feel and look much better in the morning.

Next morning, I did my best to look as good as possible and took my herbal tea bags, protein bars, a full box of Kleenex, a bottle of water, some Tylenol, peppermint oil and my workshop manuals and notes and arrived ½ hr. early to the voice training room. Made some tea, put on my lapel mike, tested the sound system as the participants started to arrive.  

Speaking well with a cold is all about balance. It was absolutely necessary to pace myself and to use my energy wisely for the next 8 hrs. I would be talking, demonstrating voice exercises, giving voice coaching and I would need to use all of my vocal training in order not to lose my own voice. Because my voice coaching workshops have a lot of audience participation and readings in front of the class, it gave me time to rest my voice and do my relaxation breathing exercises while others were taking center stage.  

Being a voice coach with well-honed voice techniques supported me.  Inhaling and speaking with the exhale, kept the sound of my voice supported and helped keep me from getting into a coughing fit. It also gave me the vocal control to be heard easily. Excellent enunciation added to the clarity of my speech and finally my love of using speech melody and vocal variety, kept me sounding friendly, open, and engaging, no matter how I felt.

Directly after the workshop, I went back to the room and repeated the same routine as the night before…making sure to get 10 hrs. of sleep. The morning after the second day, I flew back home, repeating the same routine. It is about taking very good care of yourself and having a disciplined attitude to do so…

A few words of vocal wisdom from a voice coach…Good voice training, medicine, staying centered, rest, and discipline are absolutely necessary, however just as important is to STAY POSITIVE, BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT and GIVE YOUR BEST!

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1-877-783-2455. Want to sign up online for our Free Voice Analysis!

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