The voice is no different to any other part of your body. To use it properly, you need to understand how to get the best out of it and then ensure that the muscles required are doing their job.
Whether you are using COMMUNICATION to reach a potential client on the phone, INFORMING an audience about your business when PUBLIC SPEAKING or MOTIVATING your team at a weekly briefing, you need your SPEAKING MUSCLES.
On order of usage, here they are:
So let me give you some tips on how to keep them strong.
We start at the beginning with the all important BREATH. This is where the power comes from for the SOUND of your voice. Check whether you breathe frequently. If you do, you will probably breathe shallowly and you will not be able to project your voice. Shallow breathers tend to be too quiet in some BUSINESS situations like NETWORKING.
To produce an engaging sound BLOW UP YOUR CHEST BALLOON. Let me explain this step by step:
To strengthen the muscles in this part of the body, practice the action whenever you can – driving is ideal. You can then develop more power by humming (feel the lips vibrate) and throwing the voice forward at passing lamp posts!
This release should be from an open throat with no tension. Give it a try if your habit is to speak quietly.
If the breath stream is strong, the VOCAL CORDS have an easy job. When they vibrate against the air they produce a strong note.
The last part of the voice’s journey is when the note is turned into speech in the mouth.
The strength of the LIPS and TONGUE will impact on your ability to make all your words AUDIBLE and CLEAR.
Science tells us that when we hear well projected, precise speech, we subconsciously associate that with a CONFIDENT, WELL EDUCATED speaker.
To strengthen the tongue:
These exercises do not take much time. If you can find 10 minutes a day you can build your SPEAKING MUSCLES.
Communication is a vitally important part of BUSINESS. It doesn’t matter whether it takes place between 2 individuals or a speaker and an audience of hundreds.
This week, make sure all your speaking has a bit more MUSCLE!
In the meantime………
Try to remember your experiences of Presence: the moments when personal energy connected you to the world and you received energy back from that connection.
Remember that jolt of ENERGY that flicks a switch in your whole body, like electricity. When you are driving on ‘automatic pilot’ and a child runs onto the road, you can only hit the brakes when you have presence.
Perhaps it’s the moment you completely understood an idea, the clouds in your mind part and the light enters. This is the energy of SURVIVAL.
When you are not present you are in danger whether you are in the jungle or in the world of WORK.
In the present you can meet someone’s eyes and be charged. This is two people really CONNECTING, not just glancing off each other but a rich event that remains even if you never meet again. Moments like this can remain with you for years.
Great performers work in this state. If you remember a PERFORMANCE days after experiencing it, then that performer was PRESENT and so were you in receiving the message.
Great athletes WIN with presence. Every great sporting SUCCESS involves presence and every failure involves some momentary lack of presence. No one wins a gold medal without fantastic talent and physical skill but a champion also has a supreme ability to stay focussed.
Every great communicator SPEAKS from this place. We all know that great ORATORS can change the world.
Powerful leaders of countries and companies have it. Martin Luther King and Adolph Hitler are examples of opposite ends of the scale. During a CRISIS, presence in a leader is needed. Those being led will only feel safe and confident if they feel connected to their leader. The British needed Winston Churchill in World War Two and the US needed Jack Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis. Both had powerful PRESENCE and both led their countries through traumatic times.
So, in BUSINESS, keep focussed when COMMUNICATING and try not to lose your energy level. Make sure your presence gets you NOTICED.
As Winston Churchill wrote – ‘We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.’
In the meantime………