How does voice coaching make you a better speaker?
How do you know if you need speaker or voice coaching?
We know that some people seem to have an easy authenticity, a power that we name ‘presence’ or ‘charisma’. Great speaking essentially derives from:
- Thinking about what your audience needs in order to care about what you want them to hear.
- Developing a compelling narrative spine to frame your key points.
- A comfortable, colourful and clear delivery.
So it should be easy, right?
If you have an open willingness to listen, to practise, to be playful and experiment – in short, to challenge your habits – it is absolutely possible to be present and powerful with one person or with an audience of hundreds. The speakers who appear to do it effortlessly have done one or all of the following.
- Practised a lot.
- Had professional voice coaching and practised a lot.
- Are so authentically connected to their purpose that self-consciousness doesn’t get in the way.
That sounds too much of a stretch, hard work and complicated!
Actually, it’s immediately applicable, concrete, and intrinsically motivating. Not only are we learning about ourselves but we see the impact on others as immediate feedback. Also, think about this. You can practice at any time, anywhere, in any part of your life inside or outside work, just by applying what you learn from moment to moment. It’s incredibly time-efficient!
What it does require is commitment to the instrument you have at your disposal (your body and voice) and the brain that sends instructions to that instrument (that can be useful or not so useful). We often see changes happening quickly. We also need to be aware that to have a lasting effect, to have that seemingly effortless presence or charisma consistently , requires work from the inside out as well as the outside in. Some elements, like breath awareness and control, work in both directions.
What you will need might not be the same as what your colleague, friend or partner would need. I have been working doing voice coaching with a client from the banking sector recently, who is keen, bright and driven. He applies everything he learns with huge energy but struggles with the ability to relax and release. This is a key component for any speaker. So that is one important area of focus at the moment for his practice.
The balance is being able to be alert and relaxed, to use different levels of energy for different purposes and to make more intelligent and motivated choices. You need to know which are your favourite, probably over-used modes and which ones are hidden in the cupboard, and could benefit from more exposure and polish.
So the detail of the process will vary from individual to individual, but it will very likely include some fundamentals.
- Body and breathing work for physical presence, harnessing nerves and allowing mindful responses, voice support and being in the moment.
- Vocal variety and ‘music’ for making people want to listen and bringing the message to life.
- Practice on a variety of texts for verbal flexibility and speech structure.
- Narrative clarity. Is the story clear and does it ‘speak’? Does it have a compelling purpose?
- Adapting and connecting to different audiences and different contexts.
In other blogs I have explored specific exercises and ideas so you can practice yourself.
If you are curious about developing your speaker presence though voice coaching, call on 07976723002 and we’ll talk more.