How Shyness in your Voice Can Stop Your Career.
”Since the early “70’s the percentage of adults in the United States reporting that they are chronically shy, such that it presents a problem in their lives, had been reported at 40%, and in the recent decade it has increased to 50%”, states Dr. Zimbardo, founder of the Shyness Clinic at Stanford University www.shyness.com/shyness-clinic.html.
George, a shy, soft spoken inventor in his 20’s, with a brilliant idea for a new business, decided that maybe voice lessons could help him speak louder during his presentations. In his initial consultation, I found that he not only was soft spoken and mumbled, but that he also had trouble initiating and maintaining conversations, and asserting himself in small groups.
George! Let me begin by saying that speaking voice training is a powerful tool that can easily eradicate the hidden message of shyness in your voice. To accomplish this we get rid of all your filler words, your hesitant speech, your quiet volume, and we stop you from mumbling. Inside you may still feel shy for a while, however, to others you will sound self-assured, confident, powerful & persuasive and they will interact with you as if you are self-assured, confident, powerful and persuasive.
I guarantee that you will like it and very quickly your new speaking voice will feel natural to you and you will feel much more comfortable in conversations, giving presentations and dealing with conflict situations. It is not rocket science, George, you just need to commit to practicing the speaking exercises for a period of months and let them take you on an insightful and powerful journey. I’ll be there every step of the way as you build your new voice. Are you ready?
At first, he had trouble believing that much of his negative, self-talk and fears would turn around just by learning how to speak well. I began with pronunciation exercises. Making him aware of how often, while repeating the voice exercises, he didn’t say his consonants clearly and didn’t finish many of his words. The next step was for him to be mindful of his pronunciation while talking socially and professionally and to correct himself when he heard himself mumbling words. With continued practice he found himself articulating both his words and thoughts with much more ease. Others heard him as being articulate and that meant he was more credible, more self-assured, and more assertive in their eyes.
Next he learned to use the correct breathing techniques in order to have more energy in his voice, to project and to sound louder. With these skills under his belt, his potential investors perceived him as a more confident, dynamic, and persuasive speaker. The result was that they were engaged and persuaded by the power of his voice as he detailed his new ideas and asked for their financial support. Changing his voice changed his life.
Along the way, I remember telling George the story about a young man in his 20’s in Hong Kong, who stood up to ask me this question while I was teaching exercises on volume control at a Hong Kong Toastmasters group of 300 people. The young man kindly thanked me for my training and then said, “I am confused, in China the culture is different from that of the West. Here people are taught to be humble”. I said, “It is fine to be humble, however if the audience cannot hear you, how do they even know that you are humble. The bottom line is that you have to be heard first”. George understood the many levels of this story’s message.
As a Voice trainer, I am aware that shyness, social anxieties, and deep seated fears strongly influence how much a person gets out of life. Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy and the programs at the Shyness Clinic, www.shyness.com/shyness-clinic.html are tools that can truly make a huge difference to making shy people feel more comfortable, productive and happy in the world. However, I also know from 25 years of teaching voice that changing your speaking pattern is a powerful tool to changing the way you present yourself to others. When you have control over how you present yourself, then you are in charge.
If you would like to learn more and discover how you can improve your speaking voice, Sandra offers a 25-minute Voice Analysis Consultation, http://www.voicepowerstudios.com/analysis.html