Find your Voice
For the longest time, I couldn't stand listening to my own voice!
I realized much later that this wasn't just me. Many of us hate our own voice when we do voice notes or when we have to listen to ourselves on video. And to top it off, if you're in school or college, your friends will give you an ample amount of grief for sounding the way you do - by calling you pretentious or by calling you out on your fake accent. Once you start working, the nasty comments aren't as front and center, but more behind your back.
However, we sound totally fine when someone sneakily tapes us without us noticing. It's somehow not unbearable anymore. Is the secret to sounding good being oblivious to the fact that you're being watched? There's more truth to this than you may initially think.
Call me old-school, but my favorite band to this day is Metallica. I'm a massive James Hetfield (lead singer) fan and it's still a dream to watch them live in concert someday before they grow too old and stop touring. Naturally one of my favorite interviews of all time is also of Metallica, on the Howard Stern show in 2013. It came as a shock to me when Howard Stern played one of Metallica's early songs, and you could see James Hetfield squirming on air. Everyone had a laugh and spoke about how James didn't sound like himself. He then went on to admit that it took him many years to find his voice on stage and to figure out how to sing. It's important to remember that this was well into Metallica's days as a famous band.
When I was new to the stage, I was nervous, tight, my voice wouldn't come out clean, I'd talk really fast and sound nasal, and if you are where I was, it's totally alright because what you’re facing is not uncommon. The way James Hetfield found his voice, was that he did it a lot, they toured extensively and that's how he built up confidence. In his own words, "It's a tough thing to develop and it happens after thousands of hours of practice." The moment of breakthrough is really a moment of breaking out of your own shell of consciousness. When you passionately rant about the previous night's football game with your lads, you're not being conscious. You are the best version of yourself as a speaker when you're not being conscious.
It has taken YouTubers, vloggers, and public speakers thousands of hours to sound loose, comfortable, and at ease while speaking or recording. Along with finding your voice, it's also about finding your style. It takes time and it definitely doesn't happen overnight. Do it a lot, and be incredibly patient while you do. Much like going to the gym, you may not notice the subtle developments, but your viewers do.