Speaking With Authority: Your Voice Comes from Where?
Linda Shields | Speaking With Authority | KNOW Raleigh
If your eyes are the windows to your soul, then your voice opens those windows and lets the sounds of your soul out. What you speak, the way you speak, and how you say it tells the world about you. Your identity is tied to your voice, revealing something about you.
Where does your voice come from when you speak? Of course it comes from your vocal anatomy: your breathing muscles and the 60 muscles that are located in the larynx or voice box. But all human sound comes an irresistible impulse from the brain; from a desire to communicate something out loud. This desire comes from a set of values and beliefs and the will to express them. So, your voice comes from who you are. It resonates from your very nature, your evolving self-concept.
When clients contact me for voice and speaking skills coaching, I begin with their personal background and listen “between the lines” for significant events, family dynamics, where they were raised and how they were encouraged (or not) to speak their mind. One example of this illustrates how family dynamics plays a part in how we feel about communication.
As a part of individual coaching, I have clients perform vocal exercise that mimic different emotional states. I ask them to speak as if they were excited, angry, depressed, nervous, happy and so on. It’s a great demonstration of the ways our emotions affect how we sound. One client could not express any sound of joy or happiness, saying “I have no idea how to sound happy.”
This woman had the saddest voice I’ve ever heard. When we explored her background, she shared that her childhood was one of verbal and emotional abuse. The sound of her soul came from her deepest pain and insecurities.
What delights me as a coach is finding the key to unlocking a client’s true and authentic voice. I’ve found as a voice pathologist that if my clients can imitate the sounds, words and muscular positions of certain emotions, there is great hope. In my client’s case we used a mirror to practice smiling, a very unfamiliar task for her. We recorded the sound of her flat, sad voice and then did a contrast exercise with a smile she eventually could muster. Since your voice follows your face, she discovered that her inflection increased. For the first time she heard a totally different voice, one that sounded much happier. She practiced daily and eventually declared that for the first time in her life she could express joy!
I believe that by improving your “vocal image”….how others perceive you as a result of how you sound, you can change your life. Your voice comes from somewhere. Exploring your voice will challenge you, confuse you but ultimately excite you. It’s a journey worth taking.
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