How to improve Your Speaking Voice?

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    How to Improve your Speaking Voice?

    The following transcript is from an actual session I led with a client who is beginning to make

    audio recordings of his presentations to make available to his students. He wanted to learn tips,

    tools and techniques to improve the quality and effectiveness of his live and recorded voice.

    Gary Wohlman = GW Participant = P

    P: In todays session, I want to focus on improving my speaking voice both when Im making

    recordings for my students as well as in person. What can I do?

    GW: Okay, to get started, in the physical space that your voice is projecting into right now to record

    this session, envision yourself speaking to live people, rather than just focusing on speaking into

    the metal. because you are alive and they are listening, but you never see them. And they never

    see you. So, you are making contact without the visual element. When you are speaking into the

    recorder without people being able to read your gestures and physical expression, its even more

    important to make a strong and resonant connection with your body and your messaging asthough your audience were right in front of you

    For example, one time I was working with a man name Bob Rathbun. He was a news

    commentator for sports, and this was on the east coast of the United States. Then he received a

    promotion and moved with his wife to the mid-west of the United States. He got a job on TV doing

    presenting. Now people saw him. Before he made his big move to become one of the most

    successful and celebrated sportscasters and live TV commentators of all time, I showed him

    ways he could speak with greater effectiveness on the radio with his voice without anybody

    seeing him. He actually started doing some really interesting things to enhance his vocal

    effectiveness with his body.

    Without being prompted by me, he naturally put his fingers of one hand together into a

    focused pose like a tripod, and in that focus, his energy was so much more connected. His

    speaking voice sounded so much more powerful as a result of the way he put his body in

    particular postures and stances that allowed him, like a radio antenna, to pick up different

    frequencies and to communicate in such a way that he revealed a depth of resonance in his

    residence, in the landscape of his body. And that happened as a result of tiny shifts in his finger

    and hands and posture. It only took moments for him to speak with greater command and

    connection.

    P: Ok, so he shifted his posture and then he spoke better.

    GW: Because his posture was focused. So, theres a lot of ways of working with your voice.

    P: When I want to do a recording voice, I want toI am sure youve heard Anthony Robbins speakin the audios. Then other people are speaking and they read of the script. Im guessing Anthony

    Robbins speak while hes walking, or doing body gestures, while the other people just read

    without expressing themselves.

    GW: Yes, lets see whats natural for you, because you may find a combination within a natural ability

    to take a stance to move through space, to hold particular postures. With the speaking voice

    people dont necessarily see, but maybe you are standing on one foot and that gives a feeling of

    Im alive, Im on the edge. Or perhaps, you are sitting down and you are more relaxed. Or

    perhaps you are walking around. Its up to you to find a way thats most dynamic. You might

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    realise that the speaking voice is a function of your posture, your movement patterns and your

    intention. Now lets go through the challenges you experience in relationship to your speaking

    voice.

    P: I have been working on my voice it the past week. Ive been reading up on the posture. So, neck,

    the back of the neck long, and the front short. Ive noticed my vocal cords a lot more. Breathing

    through my stomach, chest out. Its like what we did last time in our session. And when I speak,the vibration. . . I can feel my chest and jaw vibrate when I speak. And Ive no ticed my voice is a

    little bit more raspier now.

    GW: And how would you communicate differently if you could because obviously you are not that

    happy with that. Thats not satisfying to you. Thats not satisfactory to you. What would be?

    P: In terms of my voice?

    GW: Yes.

    P: I want it to be powerful, direct, and strong. When you watch TV and you hear voiceover guys

    advertising a film or a show, and they get this deep raspy voice that really connects with people?

    its that kind of connection that I want. So that people be listening to me, if you know what I mean.

    GW: Who reminds you of that?

    P: Those voiceover guys on TV.

    GW: Its a deep voice. Deep and resonant in the sense of authority, theres a slowness, a cadence

    between syllables, a slow deep authority that communicates through a rhythmic slow pattern that

    moves people to recognize that This is an authority speaking. I want this product. I trust this

    voice.

    P: Yes. Exactly. I want to have video sales letters. I want to be doing that. I want that voice to be

    authoritative just like those voices of people I always hear. And I love them. It just grabs you.

    What I want is exactly what you said: slow words, that certain rhythm, that cadence all that.

    GW: Ok, so lets practice. Lets practice with something.

    P: Ok. Can I read something?

    GW: Yes. What would you like to read?

    P: Anything. Have you got anything for me to read? Because Ill be reading mostly the video sales

    letter.

    GW: Heres my new brochure.

    P: Ok. (reads) About Doctor Gary Wohlman. Im a communication skills coach. I specialise in

    helping people express theirideas and opinions effectively.

    GW: Ok. Already, I have some comments. What do you suppose Im going to say?

    P: Im reading.

    GW: Exactly. You need to read if you are reading as though you are not reading. Act as though you

    arent acting. Perform as though you arent performing. So it feels like, it sounds like, it looks like

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    (if I am seeing you) that you are integrous with your messaging, and resident in your residence

    with your messaging. Youre envisioning and picturing everything you are saying as you are

    saying it. If you can put your attention at the base of your spine, directing your attention to that

    place in you getting the message first, picture what you are saying.

    To master this art of speaking in your natural voice that is commanding and compelling all at

    once, practice just a few words or sentences at a time. And picture one phrase at a time, feel it,

    see it, imagine it as though you were seeing what you are saying happen before you go on toyour next statement. In other words, allow yourself to be a little bit more self-reflective when you

    are speaking, not just producing words for you to download to people. Now, I want to feel those

    words as though I can picture it, because you are saying it as though its happening in the

    moment. Ready? Do it that way.

    I: Ok. (reads) Im a communication skills coach. I specialise in helping people express their ideas

    and opinions effectively.

    GW: Just notice how, in taking little pauses after each of those phrases, theres room for me to be in

    that image with you. I cant be in the image with you without you also seeing it and visualising it

    first. And when you do, then Im brought into the sound bite of that scenario, and I am there with

    you. Its much more engaging. So, more pauses. Picture that as though you are in that moment

    itself. I almost thought it was me talking, when you were just reading the words I wrote aboutbeing a communications skills coach, yet it was you You got it? Keep going.

    I: With an excellent understanding of the personal and professional developing industry, I have

    developed a revolutionary technique, which helps people find their true voice.

    GW: Now, I think you are on the right track with getting the words out in a way thats strong, direct and

    powerful. Im going to make a recommendation starting today that you shift your three key words

    to something slightly different. Because Im having the same experience as you are speaking

    right now. What am I going to tell you?

    I: The words in the way its written and being strong in the way of being authoritative doesnt suit

    the context?

    GW: Something like that. You are sensitive, so you know what I am about to say. What I am about to

    say is look at these three key words you have been holding as your essential qualities: Powerful,

    direct and strong. They are all strong, alpha male, macho, fiery, powerful, assertive words. With

    those words alone, theres no room in there for gentleness in your authority. Theres no room for

    tenderness, humanity, your caring, your deep caring. You do care deeply. When I hear you

    speaking with forcefulness, it feels too loud, and pushes me away. To reach me effectively, I

    require a lot more vocal variation and sensitivity in the voice production of sound.

    So that I can get strength with sensitivity, I get directness with dulcet tones; I get power with

    poignant poises. I am playing with the letters, so you can remember that, and Im saying this to

    you so you can present more of your presentation in a way that is a combination of the assertive

    and receptive elements that are necessary. Otherwise, its all fire, its all male, its all push, its alldirect, its all strong, and it leaves me cold. Its just loud like these announcers. I take exception to

    those announcers because I prefer to have a combination of authority with confiding gentle,

    sometimes even whispering tones that suggest the real secret to this is, as though you are

    speaking with and confiding in a dear friend. And thats strong! When I just said the real secret to

    this is, I wasnt shouting, I was whispering and speaking with tenderness, gentleness and ease.

    Allowing more of your whole humanity to come through, and I will want to listen more to your

    message, and Ill remember your message. If its all loud, its like a hundred train cars coming

    barreling down the tracks, leaving me with an empty feeling -- and theres no space for me to see

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    the numbers on the train cars. I need a little bit more variation in your quality of sound production.

    What did I just tell you that made sense?

    P: Vary the vocal message. I was fiery and direct, but its good to feel the words. For example, here

    it says with the excellent understanding. I just said it. Rather than saying excellent

    understanding, I can say with an excellent understanding of the personal and professional

    development industry, I have developed a revolutionary technique which helps people find theirtrue voice.

    GW: Its better now. Whats different, whats better? Because now I feel its not just strong, strong,

    direct power that feels like Oh God, its too much. This is more what?

    P: Im connecting more with the words of what they mean or meant to me. For example, I say

    understanding. Understanding is a kinesthetic word. When you understand something, you have

    a feeling for that.

    GW: And even you did what Bob Rathbun did, you are putting your fingers together and you are

    dropping your fingers like a lead weight down to the torso. That shows an authority. But its not

    louder, its softer. Its quieter, its deeper connecting with your gut feelings, your primal instincts,

    your deepest intuition. Yet it comes from a calmer, collected, cohesive container that at the baseof the pelvis is like a base in itself. The pelvic basin can be seen as the seat of the emotions.

    Your generative force as it comes out through passion, through vibrancy, comes from a place of

    stillness, rather than a place of commotion. Im much more able to hear you from this place.

    P: (continues reading) This innovative approach of generating breakthroughs in communication not

    only transforms peoples presentation, yet also their presence to life in general.

    GW: Part of it would be good as you are reading is to release hesitation. What would be good to

    release hesitation, is to read the phrases to yourself first before you say them and allow the

    pauses so it doesnt sound like you are reading. Let me show you what I am talk ing about by

    demonstrating the Double-Extreme technique Ive created.

    If I am reading this like I am reading this, I may say, I. am. A. Communication. Skills. Coach.

    And if I am reading it like I am not reading it, I might say, I am a communication skills coach.

    Whats the difference between the two?

    P: Youve connected the words. It was more flowing the second time.

    GW: Yes! Its fluent, its fluid, its flowing, its focused. Its me picturing the statement as though I was

    telling myself first. If you can tell yourself first and really get the communication before you move

    on to the next point in your own feelings of Aha! I understand, then the audience and everyone

    else will get it by osmosis. If you get it first, everyone else is going to get it. If you dont get it first,

    you are just producing sounds, people are going to lose focus and attention and wonder what

    youre talking about every single step of the way. As a practice when you are speaking, find

    yourself every step of the way receiving the communication, not just delivering the

    communication. Its a lightly slower tone of voice, of repeating syllables. Then you will speak froma deeper authority at the same time.

    P: With the words, I dont know whats going to come next.

    GW: Then breathe and read and digest the words before you say them, and then you know whats

    going to come next. You dont say the words when you are reading them. You breathe and thats

    your time to read to yourself. Then youve got the picture of what it looks like, and then you enter

    that zone. You become that picture.

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    Hans Selye from Canada years ago was known for his concept of conscious proprioception,

    which is the essence of guided visualisation for athletes. He had a way of encouraging athletes to

    visualise excellent, superb, top performance outcomes. By consciously propriocepting, seeing

    beforehand the desired outcome, by receiving the message you will giving by reading the words,

    you will be receiving it first by giving it to yourself, then we get that you are getting the message. I

    hear you. I really hear you.

    P: I do understand what you mean. I tell you this.

    GW: What did you understand?

    P: I understand how if I get it, the person hearing it or the people hearing it will also get it. If I am just

    reading word for word, I dont understand what I am reading. However, if I put the words inside of

    me, and understand, and feel the words, that projection comes out. I know what you mean

    exactly. I am just going to practice that.

    (keeps reading) Having a doctrine in transformational psychology and years of specialist

    practice, I have identified the key elements of interpersonal effectiveness. I have a track record..

    Whoops! I lost it here.

    GW: Notice in the place right between where you find it and where you lose it. Se...