Monday, 3 September 2018

More on Bravery: Finding Your Voice

I’ve done a lot of voice training work this year and last. Some of this training is on how people use their voice, and I work with their breath, posture, their pitch, pace and use of pause to make their voice a more effective tool. I consider this to be work on the physical level.


But there’s also an element of helping them find their voice, and this is work more on the emotional and intellectual level. To find your voice is to feel confident in what you are saying, and that confidence comes from belief in your content. There’s a definition of courage the London based innovation company Sticky Wisdom use: to speak your mind with all your heart. The speaking is the physical aspect, but to speak your mind you have to know what’s on your mind, your message, and to fulfil the third dimension of courage you have to believe in what you say so you can speak it with all your heart. Coaching can put you in touch with your values and drivers so that you can articulate them.


The more we do this, the easier it becomes to find our voice. So believe in your message and the value your message can have for your audience. Make sure your message is grounded in your convictions and actions. Then share it - stand up and speak up to stand out. And record yourself, so you can monitor whether your voice and presentation style is enhancing or diminishing the power of your message, and if the latter is the case - get help.


I had a client recently who was very confident with his content and his ability to deliver powerful training sessions. But he had experienced some asthma attacks for the first time in his life, and was literally losing his voice. He had to keep clearing his throat and failing to catch his breath and for the first time in his career was starting to lose confidence because he no longer trusted his voice. When I spoke to him on the phone before I started working with him, I could hear that he was producing speech from his throat rather than his chest or stomach, so the sound was thin.


We worked for three sessions with homework in between, first just on his breath, then on breath and simple sounds, and lastly on a range of sounds and pitch using breath from the chest and stomach. Not only did he find his voice again and have his confidence in it restored, he discovered a much richer, deeper and expressive voice than he’d ever had before through breathing and pitch techniques.

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