If You Speak All Day

Then You Are At Risk!

Recently I have been directly challenged though social media and in a networking event, as to what value I add to highly educated and successful professionals.

Once upon a time, as an introvert, I would have disappeared into my cave for a month questioning what I am doing. These days, I do not have the luxury of hiding. Quite simply, there are too many people suffering and I can help.

When I started working as a Vocal Coach in the business world, I was met with a lot of initial scepticism. Executives scoffed at the prospect of working with an ex-opera singer with questions like: “What would you know about business?”. Then those same professionals started to ask covert questions, obviously seeking advice but too embarrassed or proud to ask directly.

So here is the deal. Over the next few weeks, I am not going to tell you what I have done; the experiences I have had; the life lessons I have learned from having Cancer twice; the conditioning of growing up with a bipolar father or the 30 + years of vocal training I have completed.

I am going to get very clear and tell you what I do.  I am not here to “kick the tyres”, although I am a rev head at heart. I am here because I am passionate about shifting your thinking and transforming your ability to communicate.

If you are a speaker, executive, entrepreneur, trainer, lawyer or a leader and you need to talk a lot, there is something here for you. These golden nuggets of information will help you to develop a voice that leaves a legacy in a room. One that you want remembered. Who knows, you may even be left wanting more from a vocal coach.

The greatest fear within the human population is ‘Public Speaking’. Yet this skill is not something we are taught in school.

Well, that’s not completely true I suppose. If you were like me, you got the opportunity to do a 3-minute presentation in front of your hormone ravaged, judgemental peers. And as if chocking with fear was not enough, you are then told you failed because they could not hear you!

Awesome, now the tone is set for your ability to speak in public for the rest of your life.

“You s^ck at it.”

Perhaps you were one of those rare people who were naturally outgoing and very gifted as a presenter. I bet you were still not taught the fundamental skills needed to make a high impact presentation. I get SOS calls every other day from people who are vocally fatigued; frustrated at why their voice cannot keep up with the 17 hours of talking per day.

So, let’s start with the big question, “Are you vocally fit?”.  What does this mean?  Let me put it another way.  If you were going to run a marathon, would you just rock up with your sexy running shorts and high-speed shoes hoping for the best with no actual training? I hope not!  You are going to be in a whole lot of pain if you do.  So why then do you expect that you can speak, impact, influence and inspire without doing ANY regular vocal  training? Your vocal cords are tiny wafer-thin flaps of skin (this is the non-technical term). Without proper vocal training, eventually you are going to reach vocal burn-out.

I want you to meet 45 year old Jenny:  A CEO, professional keynote speaker and facilitator.

Jenny came to me with both vocal fatigue and vocal fry, which caused her to keep losing her voice.  Jenny thought she had the flu, but after an evaluation, it was clear her voice just could not keep up with her demands. This was affecting her ability to earn money. Jenny needed to do the Vocal Bootcamp Program. This program primarily focused on strengthening her voice, then building up her vocal control, stamina, breath, projection, partials, dynamics etc…

The first session was all about reconnecting with her breath, getting intimate with her diaphragm. Without a deep, connected breath your voice cannot function at peak performance. Your vocal cords need the pressure of breath to vibrate effectively. Together Jenny and I set out to disrupt her bad habits by implementing new breathing exercises.

During this process, Jenny also needed a new physical exercise routine.  I got her to do regular cardio, resistance and strength training, particularly on the upper torso. Why? Your tiny little vocal cords need the strength and endurance of your body to support the physical action of speaking. By strengthening your physical body, you release tension, allowing your vocal cords to function with ease and flexibility.

Imagine if you could inspire every time you open your mouth. I recently looked the word Inspiration and was pleasantly surprised to find the Latin root of the word is In spirare = To Breathe.

Ladies and gentlemen, to be inspirational, impactful and truly influence your people, you must first be connected to your breath.