On the way to reclaiming my voice, I discovered my body was an instrument to connect to my self-esteem.
As a somatic coach for embodied leadership I help my clients find their authentic voice. How did I get connected to my own voice to be able to help others?
Early on in my career I lost my voice and it wasn’t structural. Was it from my “exquisite” cover up? In the name of being nice? Polite? To not hurt feelings? To signal I am not a threat to you?
My voice retracted, my tongue is drawn tightly back into my throat and TMJ seizes my jaw. I was so intent to be good, to get it right, to find approval, to gain attention that I lose all spontaneity. I lose my voice. A preeminent voice doctor recommends me to voice training.
From this very physical training, I remove tension. I learn to breathe. In therapy, I release me from having to be perfect.
Did I come by this honestly?
“Stay still and shut up!” When I was born, my mom, the daughter of a doctor, had her physician father in the delivery room with her. He yelled, “Don’t you dare make a peep. Not one sound. Do you hear?! Do not humiliate me in front of my colleagues.”
I’m birthed by a woman who held onto her voice while giving birth to me.
That’s the beginning of my life having to have to find my voice. And now I help others find theirs.
I must have been royally pissed off hearing (in utero) my pompous grandfather say that. Boy, did I fix them! In my joy and exuberance, I spent my childhood vocalizing. Shouting. Singing. Raucous laughter. Big Noise is what my grandfather called me.
“Don’t you know children are to be seen, NOT heard?” “Don’t talk in school.” “Don’t talk in church.” I become conditioned to hold my voice back and now with a total loss of it, I must work to recover my full and authentic voice.
Today, I combine my corporate leadership experience and extensive performance training to offer leadership and somatic coaching. My passion is to help my clients find their authentic voice, full presence, free expression and spontaneity. Nothing is more beautiful and satisfying than to witness clients find and live their true potential – being self-generating, self-cultivating and self-empowering.
We more easily get to our business objectives when we convey trust, credibility, and confidence and with great conviction. The use of an authentic, clear, and strong voice will have you communicate intention powerfully and persuasively.
Everyone can learn to find and use that voice.
It may not be feasible or realistic for you to enter into years of voice or performance training. Borrow my process. Here are a few vocal “hacks” to help you project a fully connected, authentic voice. Begin the work now.
1. For a powerful and natural voice, you must remove tension.
To remove tension is to have a relaxed body particularly your neck, chest, jaw, face, throat, shoulders, tongue and forehead. This is done by using your breath.
Try this: Feel your feet. Release your knees. Drop your breath low into your body/ abdomen. Take in a long, slow inhale. Let out a long and slow exhale. Now, again, inhale. As you exhale, imagine you are releasing the air through your forehead. Next, through your brow, then with each exhale release your eyes, cheeks, mouth, tongue, jaw, neck, shoulders and chest.
2. Once tension is removed, keep resonance by humming. Hum into your head, face, neck and chest. Yawn. Belly Laugh. Vocalize Yah, yah, yah, yah, yah, yah feeling the vibration lightly in your throat.
3. To keep your voice forward in your mouth, vocalize Be Bay Bah Bo Boo. The vibration needs to be forward. Avoid having your voice trapped and tight backward in your throat and neck.
Avoid an unfortunate vocal tick called Vocal Fry. Many people use it today because they think it sounds cool. It can cause one to be inarticulate and not understood.
When you become inaudible, you render everyone around you inaudible.
4. Project your voice. Get yourself heard at the back of the room. Imagine you are holding a ball in your hand. Throw the ball to a “target” across the room using your breath. With this act, vocalize a sound to reach your target. Extend the sound in an arc. Reach the target. The act of physically throwing helps your body and voice be free.
There are those leaders who speak and people assume absolute authority. They resonate; they hold attention and they get listened to. An authentic, strong, resonant and powerful voice is possible in everyone. You must get yourself heard.
If it is critical to get your message out to the world then your voice is a powerful means to do that. Practice.