A deeper dive into speaking deeply.

All of my offers come down to this: if you need to speak in public, I can help.

Let’s take a minute to define the terms “need,” “speak,” “public,” and “help.”

 

Need.

Someplace between “would be nice” to “absolutely essential for my (or my company’s) survival.” There’s a gap between what you can do and what you’d like to be able to do, or must be able to do in six weeks, or two days. You’ve always known it and now’s the time. Or something has just revealed this gap to you and you’re taking action. Or some “opportunity” for “growth” is coming and you need to flip that house of skills right quick. You need confidence in your content, delivery, and physical platform (voice, body, script).

Together, we’ll find that confidence and hone the skills to meet and exceed all expectations. In that public moment, you will relish the opportunity to share your conscious, aligned, skillful performance or presentation. When you've finished, you will know you have excelled.

 

Speak.

So, like it or not, it’s time to speak (engineers, I am talking to you!). Whether it’s dropping a few choice words or holding forth at length, do you tolerate/like/love the sound of your own voice? Notice that, by the time we get to “love,” there’s a negative association? Nobody wants to be guilty of that! So there’s fear about being seen anywhere along that slope. In my experience, this fear is so strong that we commonly believe we do NOT like the sound, or the feel in our bodies, of our own voices. This is a crime, a theft, a shame, and…a pretense.

The truth is, we actually DO like the sound and feel of our own voices! We may compare ours unfavorably to others’, we may complain about our vocal deficiencies, and we may avoid using them in public, but we actually…do…like (and even love) them. Just one proof: think about how you talk (or sing!) to yourself for comfort, company, criticism, and guidance throughout your day: do you spend even one second hating that voice? Of course not! It is so much a part of you as to BE you....

And now we approach the real problem: exposure. Vocal identity can be tricky and terrifying terrain. When you open your mouth, you are showing far more about yourself, more intimately, than you can control others’ impressions of. Why do you think texting took off and nobody answers the phone anymore? 

We trade control for connection. We are talking (texting) through a filter and a funnel that strip the richness from human contact in favor of safety. The cost of that safety is, of course, increased anxiety, loneliness, and alienation. And it’s been exponentially worse lately. So if you are feeling anxious about speaking up, you are not alone (a paradoxical statement): feel free to speak up about it! This will help everyone.

I help you find a true, sure, joyous connection to your own voice. If it has weaknesses or deficiencies we strengthen it and add the tools you need. All the usual things vocal technicians help with (pitch, relaxation, articulation, projection, breath, volume, resonance, stamina) are on offer.

 

What I uniquely offer is the resurrection of your beautiful, original, authentic voice (I explain what I mean by this in the About section). Many of us have left that voice behind somewhere in the tumult of adolescence and its aftermath. It is a beautiful voice because it is you, or as close to you as identity is. When you reclaim this voice, you sound like nobody else. You know that you are speaking deeply, from your essence. This is a perch from which you cannot be knocked. It is a piece of self-acceptance, a thing always beautiful to behold. When you are doing this in public performance, the audience will be on your side, without knowing why. It’s risk/reward, and your listeners will reward your daring to show up so fully.

Finally, one birthright of speaking too little claimed is the feel of our voices in our bodies.

The vibrations of our vocal cords can be felt in the chest, the back, in our skulls,

and in the room (or on Zoom), by ourselves and others. These vibrations just naturally feel good.

And, they can be further tuned and enhanced for speaker and listener pleasure.

 

Public.

Depends on you. Where do you draw the private-public perimeter? Private space can be defined by who isn’t there: strangers, clients, workmates or superiors, audiences, investors, competitors, fellow students, etc.: if these and others are absent, we have privacy. Just us and our family and friends. We can speak freely, without a working storytelling structure. We consider our words’ impact on people’s feelings, but not on things like money, power, promotions, success, status, esteem, litigation, and so on.

Some spaces are a mix of private and public: first dates, parties, weddings, funerals, religious services, support groups. I would say that private speech needs no script, while mixed spaces might well (a toast, best-man speech, or eulogy) and public spaces often clearly do.

For each public occasion or opportunity, we’ll consider audience first:

Who are they? What are their goals? What are their values and worldviews?

What pieces of their story can we weave into our storytelling, so that we achieve unconscious agreement?

Next, what are our goals? What is the most honest and effective way of stating or achieving them in this talk? How much time have we got and what ground can we cover?

Tone comes next: what blends of formal and casual, funny and serious, authoritative and open, or straightforward and sly will you use? What proportion of ethos, pathos, and logos is appropriate to this crowd, in this place, at this time?

Storytelling skills, both in writing and performance, are next. I teach these to you plainly, clearly, and achievably. You will be asked to contribute your knowledge of human nature and of yourself.  To say it most simply, whatever feeling you are having, you want the audience to have also. Using the right combination of body, voice, and story, they will.

 

Help.

If I don’t think I can help you I will let you know.

I also won't pretend I know something I don’t. We are finding what works for YOU,

which is always a unique process.

I’ve made it a practice to begin each session by listening to you, replaying what I hear, and teaching you where you are. This freshness helps ensure my respect (re|spect: literally, looking again) for you and for our work together

 

Helping you is my joy. Thank you! 

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