How to set your voice free

2777 reads

When I was embarking on my "second career," public speaking,I had a little experience under my belt - member of a Toastmasters group, graduate of Dale Carnegie and a long list of speeches I'd made to community groups, plus various causes like getting a stadium built.

Sometimes I would speak several times in a day, trying to reach as many groups as possible.My message was often only as good as my voice.

So I did what I always do when I know I can do better:I went out and hired a public speaking coach. As it turns out, the fellow I have been working with is more than a coach.He is just a few ticks shy of a miracle worker.

I'm talking about Roger Love,who has coached speakers, singers,internet marketers and plenty of folks who understand the power of voice and the impact it has on their careers.His updated version of "Set Your Voice Free," first published in 1999,presents material that helps readers "showcase the best of yourself -- your talents,your passion,your originality,your authenticity.

I was quite fascinated by the anatomy lessons that form the basis of Roger's research and teaching.When you know how your voice works from the inside out, and how to best take care of it, your attitude will change.As Roger says,"The human voice is set up to speak or sing twenty-four hours a day without getting hoarse or strained or creating any physical problems."

That information was especially helpful to me because my voice is my living.Whether I am delivering a speech,making a sales call,making contacts for charitable or community causes,or mentoring future entrepreneurs,my voice needs to be strong and convincing.

He helped Reese Witherspoon and Jeff Bridges find their singing voices when they were preparing for movie roles that required them to stretch their limits.He worked with John Mayer and Gwen Stefani to expand their ranges and keep their voices in top shape despite demanding performance schedules.

Roger's techniques are clearly explained in his book, which makes it simple to practice on your own.  He says, "If you know how to control the pitch, pace, tone, volume, and melody of your voice, you can consciously use them to guide the emotions of your listeners and magnify the impact of every communication you have.

He acknowledges that great speaking and singing are not about being the best, it's about being unique.  "It's about expressing who you are and what's particularly special about you," he says.  "If you learn to use your own instrument with confidence, people will open their ears to you and recognize what sets you apart from everyone else.

This updated edition includes techniques he has developed to help people with speech disorders such as stuttering and spasmodic dysphonia.

"True artistry in speaking comes from creating a convincing blend of three elements: what you say, the way you say it, and who you are," Roger says.

The real take-home for me is that how I use my voice is nearly as important as my message.We learn how to talk at a very young age, and I suppose we figure out soon after which cute little voices will help us get our way.But through years of school and career, are we really using our voices to generate the best effects?

Roger discusses four key emotions you need to evoke in your audiences to make them like and believe you:happy,grateful,passionate and confident.But his explanations take readers beyond typical descriptions of these emotions.Learning how to project these key emotions will have marked effects on how your message is received.

The impetus for updating his masterwork now is the result of an interesting observation:the advent of television singing competitions and videos that go viral have "changed the landscape for singers, offering them new opportunities . . . and opening the public's imagination to the possibilities of where our voices can be.

Coincidentally,he credits the revolution to "The Voice," the television competition that asked its judges to do blind auditions, facing away from the contestants while they sang.The voice alone did the selling, he said."All of us realized that no matter what you look like, no matter what your age or background, if you can create the right sounds, people will see beauty, kindness, intelligence, and uniqueness in you."

Mackay's Moral:How you use your voice speaks volumes about you.


misner's picture

Dude, Where are my Wheels? Why Networking Helps – Even in the “Hood”

I recently visited Los Angeles and drove through an area that I grew up around.  I was regaling my wife with a story about a job I had in a pretty tough neighborhood when I was in college.  At the end of the story she said, “you have to
Harvey Mackay's picture

Resourcefulness = “Of Coursefulness”

A firm needed a researcher. Applicants were a scientist, an engineer and an economist. Each was given a stone, a piece of string and a stopwatch and told to determine a certain building’s height. The scientist went to the rooftop, tied the stone to
johnsullivan's picture

Sourcing Is the New Recruiting

I have some excellent news for you. Sourcing is the place to be in talent acquisition today! Recruiting as it has traditionally been known is going away. Increasingly companies are adopting recruitment process automation, and that means that there
harvardbusinessreview's picture

How to Prepare for a Panel

Make sure to connect with the moderator beforehand.
johnsullivan's picture

HR Roundtable: The Value of a Multi-Generational Workforce

In the classic rock anthem My Generation by The Who, lead singer Roger Daltrey screams, “I hope I die before I get old.” He echoed a sentiment of the times, but he never knew that he was also doing what...
adamgrant's picture

Why Women Volunteer for Tasks That Don’t Lead to Promotions

Here’s a work scenario many of us know too well: You are in a meeting and your manager brings up a project that needs to be assigned. It’s not particularly challenging work, but it’s time-consuming, unlikely to drive revenue, and probably won’t be
johnsullivan's picture

How Personas Change Sourcing Outcomes

It’s really intimidating to walk into a room full of people you don’t know. We’ve all had that moment of panic, scanning the room for any semi-familiar face and praying it’ll work. Just one person. I personally hate that feeling....
misner's picture

Body Language When Networking

Body language can be a powerful attractant or deterrent when it comes to building relationships with others. People assess you visually within the first fewminutes of meeting you.  I’ve been asked a lot about body language by the media over the
adamgrant's picture

This 4-Day Work Week Experiment Went So Well, the Company is Keeping It

A first-of-its-kind four-day work week experiment in New Zealand has come to an end after two months, but the trial went so well the company actually wants to make the changes permanent.While lots of research has shown the numerous benefits a