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Maybe it’s because I’m a singer that I just naturally know that one’s voice has an intrinsic, almost automatic relationship to happiness. Singing brings me untold joy. And connection—to myself and to others. And it’s not just based on my own personal feeling or intuition. Over the last 20 years, researchers and study after study have shown that singing

            --boosts your immune system, thereby staving off illnesses

            --lowers the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, in our bodies

            --releases endorphins (the peptides that relieve pain and reduce stress)

            --releases oxytocin (aka the “love hormone”) and increases our sense of connection and wellbeing

            --assuages grief

            --improves mental health and one’s mood

And lastly, and of particular relevance to my work as a voice coach—

--improves one’s speaking abilities, especially among people who have autism, Parkinson’s, aphasia or who stutter

And what then do happier people make? For one, they’re happier individuals. For another, happy workers are as much as 20% more productive than unhappy workers. And happy communicators communicate whatever it is they’re trying to get across to others that much more effectively.

And I could just drop the mic here and leave it at that. But there is yet more I’d like to say and there are, no doubt, doubters out there who may not believe in this connection as strongly as I do.

In a 2020 Forbes article, “The Power of Connection Through Voice,” leadership consultant Andrea Luoma put it quite succinctly: “Hearing happiness in the voice of another makes us pay more attention than even hearing happiness in our own voice.

Similary, Nick Morgan, a communications theorist, pointedly asked in one of his blogs, “What does the pursuit of happiness have to do with public speakers?” And gave the rhetorical (though, probably for most readers, a highly unexpected and counterintuitive answer): “It’s a mistake to try to manage the happiness of your audience.”


I’m not supposed to make my listeners happy, you’re likely thinking. What am I supposed to do, then, make them sad? Angry? Confused? Well: Big no, another big no, and No yet again.

Be happy. Being happy affects your speaking voice—in a way that, duh, you will then sound happy. And not in a fake or facile or performative way. If you’re faking happy, if you’re trying to just sound happy without actually feeling some foundation of happiness, then, yes—your audience will pick up on that almost right away. And you will have lost their trust, their attention, their belief in you and what you’re telling them.

But be honest—come from a place of certainty, confidence, respect for yourself as much as for your listeners—and that all adds up to a form or a kind of happiness if not actual happiness itself. And that then inspires your listeners.

As Oprah has said time and again: speaking your truth not only empowers you it brings you happiness. Satisfaction. Joy. (And oftentimes: relief.) And it circles back to honesty. As 
Caroline Goyder, author of Find Your Voice: The Secret to Talking with Confidence, said in an interview on Metro last year: “Happiness lies in being able to speak your truth. Express what you’re feeling, honestly, and with power. That’s what people we admire are doing.

That’s why some people suggest starting off the day with a song—it elicits happiness. It gets those endorphins going. And interestingly enough, it’s US singing. There is something neurochemical, apparently, about humans hearing the sound of their own voices that releases all the good stuff inside us. Our voice is our best medicine: for ourselves and for others.

So don’t just focus on technique or process or spend so much time on the specifics of what you’re saying. Relax. Be straightforward. Be you.

As Goyder also pointed out: “
It’s important to be able to express the things that matter to us. If you feel you can’t speak up, that you’re not heard, that’s an unhealthy and an unhappy state.

So be yourself and be heard. It won’t only make you feel better, it’ll make the people listening to you feel better too.