Eliminating Throat Clearing

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Eliminating Throat Clearing

 

Throat clearing is one of the most traumatic things you can do to your vocal folds. When you clear your throat, you create an extreme amount of movement of your vocal folds, causing them to slam and rub together.  Sometimes people do not even know that they are clearing their throats; it has become a habit.  Often they say that they feel something in their throat, like phlegm or mucus.  The majority of the time; however, when you clear your throat, there is simply nothing there.  One thing you have accomplished is to create more vocal fold trauma.

 

We are going to try to make breaking this habit easier by giving you a substitute that will (a) take the place of throat clearing, (b) accomplish the same thing as throat clearing , and (c) is not abusive.  If in fact you occasionally have an increased amount of mucus on your vocal folds, a hard swallow will accomplish the same thing as throat clearing, minus the vocal fold trauma.  The only difference is that throat clearing sounds good.  It psychologically gives you more relief than the hard swallow, even thought is physically accomplishes no more.  It is your goal to overcome this psychological dependence.

 

To break this habit, tell everyone in your family and any friends who are around you often that you are not permitted to clear your throat anymore.  When these “helpers” hear you clear your throat, they are to immediately point it out to you.  Your task then is to “swallow hard”.

 

After your family and friends have pointed out your throat clearing , you will begin to catch yourself.

Another Accent on Business Tip: Stay away from caffeine, dairy products, and foods with mayonnaise during the meal before your presentation as these may cause you to feel the need to clear your throat. 

About the Author:

Ellen Dunnigan founded Accent On Business in 2001 specializing in public speaking, communication skills, and executive presence for leaders in business. She has 25 years of experience with professional and nonprofessional speakers in healthcare, media, politics, engineering, sports, and other industries. Ellen’s coaching in speaking skills gives established and emerging leaders greater confidence and credibility. Her leadership programs in accountability, alignment, difficult conversations, and organizational communication have helped leaders expand their influence. Ellen is known for her practical “how to” style.
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