Image from www.drumhellerchamber.com
(This post is republished from my blog post on wwww.bespoke-communication.com.)
If you already know how to talk, then why would it be important to spend time working on your voice? Isn’t the sound that comes out just the sound you were born with?
Well, no. Not necessarily. Do you feel like you could talk all day and not lose or strain your voice? Do you feel like you are always using the appropriate volume, or are people often telling you your voice is too loud or asking you to speak up? Do you feel like your voice is helping you say what you’re trying to say, or does it get in the way? Do your nerves change the sound of your voice? Do you mumble?
We were all born with a powerful voice. Babies, whether we like it or not, have the ability to scream and cry for hours and hours and hours (and hours…)— without losing their voices. Without even going hoarse. It’s an important survival skill. Babies need to be able to cry and scream until someone who can care for them takes notice. You used to be able to do that.
For a multitude of reasons, many of us over time become disconnected from that powerful voice and adopt other habits that can prevent us from communicating fully. Now, I’m not saying that to communicate fully you have to scream like a baby. While that might certainly have an impact, it might not be the impact you wanted.
However, the way you use your voice at any age can affect the perceptions of the people who listen to you, as well as your perceptions of yourself. Albert Mehrabian’s research revealed that, when you’re discussing your thoughts and feelings in ambiguous situations, 55% of effective communication has to do with body language. 38% has to do with tone of voice. Only 7% has to do with the actual words that you’re saying. When taking that into consideration, it seems that it’s just as important to think about how you’re saying what you’re saying as it is to think about what you’re saying. You get what I’m saying?
Working on the voice can therefore provide a powerful way of working on your communication. Learning how to use the voice efficiently (so that you can talk with appropriate volume and a variety of color for as long as you need to without strain), and learning how to connect your voice to your message can help you find authenticity, gravitas, and impact.
So just how do you work on the voice? If you would like to try working on your voice at home, you can start by browsing through BeSpoke Communication's Voice Coaching Audio Lab, which offers free audio coaching sessions. If you would rather take a class, contact me or stay tuned to this blog for upcoming course announcements. And you can always contact me about private sessions!
I am very excited to announce here that, with my dear friend and co-creator Lindsay Walker, I am starting a new voice and communication skills coaching venture: BeSpoke Communication. Lindsay and I got our MFA's in Voice Studies together from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. During our time there, we bonded over many things, from a shared love of red wine to a mutual interest in developing a holistic vocal practice that addresses mind, body and voice. We are both fascinated by the theme of presence in communication. At the heart of BeSpoke's mission is that presence is as much physical and vocal as it is mental. We offer coaching that is a combination of body work, voice work, and mindfulness to promote practices encouraging your whole self to be present in the act of communication.
What is unique about BeSpoke is that it's not just in-person coaching. We also offer (free!) online audio content that is intended to help guide you through setting up a sustainable home practice of working on your voice and communication. This audio content is an excellent supplement to any classes you are taking or have taken, as well as to in-person private coaching. It's a way of keeping your voice work specific as well as a way of offering you a guide when you don't feel like guiding yourself. Voice work on your own can sometimes get lonely, so BeSpoke's online services are a way of creating an online community dedicated to working on their communication skills. To help bolster the community, we'll have a blog that regularly addresses communication issues.
Lindsay and I are really excited about this new venture, as well as about continuing to grow our own private coaching businesses (which you can still contact me about through this website, and which I will still be writing about on this blog!). If I have gotten you curious about BeSpoke, head over to our website at www.bespoke-communication.com. On the site, you can sign up to follow our blog so that you'll be the first to receive updates about new content. We are also on Twitter @BeSpokeSpeaks and on Instagram as BeSpokeSpeaks. We'll be using those platforms to update you about content and to encourage you on your communication journey!