Meet Joan, a very successful lawyer who is next in line to be promoted to a VP in the XXX law firm. She is an expert in tax law and her expertise is in high demand in this mostly male law firm. What is her problem?
Joan told me, “I am terrified of public speaking and know that it is because of some pretty severe trauma from childhood. I have spent a lot of time in therapy working through a lot of my issues and I know that my fear is not rational however there is still the nagging fear of being judged and humiliated when I express myself “.
“I speak quietly and in a monotone voice and I feel others only tolerate this out of professional courtesy. In my heart, I know that if I could sound more confident and persuasive all the time, it would help me to be more confident and self-assured in the world”.
Joan took her first voice coaching session and realized that no matter what trauma helped create her speaking style, she now was in charge and furthermore by practicing the exercises week after week, it was relatively easy to change the way she spoke. Her challenge was not in doing the breathing exercises, the projection exercises, the diction exercises or the speech melody exercises.
Her challenge was in truly knowing that her quiet and monotone voice pattern was just that, a pattern. Even though it had resulted from a great deal of intimidation by her primary family who always put her down, minimized all of her natural gifts and never nurtured or supported her, it was still a pattern that could easily be changed by her. Joan could now decide how she wanted to sound and her will power and perseverance was at work as she practiced her voice exercises week after week.
She improved quickly and dramatically. The day came when she needed to make a conscious decision to be and sound like a woman who speaks with confidence and power. Making this decision after practicing for 3 months meant that her habitual childhood speaking pattern that was maintained by her subconscious would now need to be thrown away forever.
“One can’t have two voices”, I said. “This is your tipping point, Joan”. “You need to consciously choose to speak consistently with your new voice pattern throughout each day.
Joan never looked back and in another month she conducted a panel at a National Tax Conference with flying colors. In another couple of months, she was speaking with power and projection and speech melody in her daily conversations.
Speech melody made the difference for Joan. To sound more expressive and dynamic, she learned to vary her pitch on the words that she wished to emphasize. And the words that Joan chose to emphasize are the words that made her message come alive, grab the audience’s attention, drive home her points and command the respect of her clients and colleagues. Bravo Joan!!
If you would like to learn more and discover how you can improve your speaking voice, I offer a 25-minute Voice Analysis Consultation, http://www.voicepowerstudios.com/analysis.html