What is Voice Coaching?
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD
How ever many machines and other bits of technology clever people invent, it’s by hearing your voice that people will get to know you. And you want to be heard at your best.
Find your voice. Find your style. Find yourself.
WE SOUND THE WAY WE DO FOR VERY SPECIFIC REASONS
Because of the way we breathe. Breathe more deeply, allowing your stomach and ribcage to move freely and your voice can flow more strongly and energetically. You’ll sound more confident and have greater presence. You should even feel more relaxed and energised.
Because of the way we move our mouth. If you’re speaking with your lips and tongue not able to move freely your voice will lack colour. It will be more difficult to articulate clearly. And your throat may feel uncomfortable.
We get used to using our voice in a regular way. You might feel that you use quite a restricted range when you speak. All around the same note. All at the same speed or volume. You might even feel that whether you’re talking about something happy or sad, it all sounds very much the same.
I come with glad tidings. There is more. More voice, more tunes, more warmth, darkness, lightness, gravitas. If you want it. If you’re prepared to do some exercises.
And more good news. Most people end up rather enjoying themselves.
DO I HAVE AN ACCENT?
Yes you do. Everyone has an accent. Are there good accents and bad accents? English is always developing new tunes and rhythms: it always has and presumably always will. We live in an international environment. If we want to communicate fully, and with clarity, we need good articulation. I coach people to make the best of all their vocal choices. I say, ‘enjoy your voice’. ‘Use it with pride and skill’.
YOU CAN’T BE IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE
Say out-loud the word MILK. Notice that your lips will shape the first sound, MMM. The ‘l’ sound is usually make with the tip of the tongue: try it, say LUH LUH LUH LUH. Have a look in the mirror and you’ll probably see the tongue pointing forward, and perhaps touching the back of your upper teeth? LUH LUH LUH. The final sound of the word, KUH, is the same sound you’d find at the beginning of the word COUGH or COLD. It’s usually made with the back of your tongue. If you can find a mirror, open your mouth and you’ll see the back of the tongue lifting up, in the back part of your mouth. KUH KUH KUH.
What a lot of work just to say one little word. And you’ll have noticed, it would be almost impossible to say ‘l’ and ‘k’ at the same time. But that’s so often what we do, try to say two sounds at the same time. It takes time to speak. It takes time to be clear.
I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO SAY but I don’t know how to say it
If knowing the story we wanted to tell was the same as knowing the best way to tell it, life could be so much simpler.
We need to show that we thoroughly understand the story. And that we are the best person to tell the story. And perhaps that we have a particular take on the story.
To share the drama and the fun and the mystery with our audience.
Usually, even if there’s a tricky bit of text they’re not sure they like, an actor can’t re-write the play or film script. Your script might look perfect on the page. But spoken language and written language are different. Sometimes less words are needed when we speak, simply because the look on our face, or the gestures we make, also ‘speak’. ‘Body language’ we can call it.
YOU NEED TO PRACTICE
Actors understand the value of rehearsal. It’s when you find out what doesn’t work, what doesn’t sound right. And then you take time to fix it.
If you wrote the script, you can edit the script. Too many words, too few words, can make a big difference to how you get your message across.
How many powerpoint screens do you really need? Do all those words need to be on the screen? Do you need to speak all the words you have up on the screen?
Who are you talking to? How can you shape your message for this particular audience?
You can’t just ‘learn the lines’ and read them off the page, and hope to produce a dynamic delivery of your message, whether it’s a formal presentation or a one-minute spiel in a meeting.
You need ways to physically and mentally and even emotionally prepare for the speaking moment, so that you fully engage. And this is what I teach and coach.
Introducing Confident Speaking: A Practical Guide [Paperback/ Ebook] published by Icon Books
Introducing Confident Speaking, by voice, acting, communication and public speaking coach Alan Woodhouse, teaches you to express yourself more clearly, persuasively and confidently. Alan offers advice on everything from business presentations to wedding speeches and preparing for job interviews. Available online from Amazon and Waterstones.