Here at MT, we’re not ones to shy away from a touch of the unusual. So when we heard it’s possible to ‘transform your life through the power of your voice’, we thought we’d give it a go. Voice coach Stewart Pearce gives us his top ten tips:
1. Know your voice
Spend a day getting to know your voice. Notice your vocal energy, tone and use of words. What does your voice say to those around you? How would others describe your voice? Does your voice sound flat and dull, or lively and energetic? Do you feel self-conscious about your voice?
2. Don’t be a talking head
It’s natural to store physical and emotional tension within our bodies, but as a result of our stress we ‘store’ our voice in our head, clenching our jaw and closing the throat. This prevents sound from resonating through the body and we literally sound like a talking head. Making sound in the head may feel controlling, but it will make other people feel uncomfortable.
3. ‘Unmask’ your voice
Your voice has been changing and developing since you were a child and is affected by your physical and emotional circumstances, the landscape and community around, and the beliefs you have about yourself. In the West, we generally ‘mask’ our voice to what we feel is acceptable, suppressing our full potential. Unmasking your voice will reveal the vocal richness and power of you.
4. Find your signature note
Sound a note in your forehead after a full breath at the top of your speaking range, you can HUM. Slide the Hum down the entire length of your spine covering several octaves of sound. Then direct the Hum to your sternum, breathing freely, and feel your whole body full of resonance. At your breastbone, imagine a beam of light emerging from your heart area and open your Hum into Hah – and you will feel your special, unique signature note.
5. Create ‘sound intention’
Once you’ve found your signature note, centering your voice in four key energy centres, focus different aspects of your being through sound, creates an amazing clarity of intention through sound – sound in your head, throat, heart and pelvic centre. By connecting to the heart centre we can feel truly open and have a sense of our own power, this is used by captains of industry. While if we focus most of our energy in our throats, this is soft and easy to listen to and is used in wooing and political persuasion.
6. Choose your words
Think about an important statement you want to make. Sound the vowels and consonants individually, do they convey what you wish to say? Do they come from your heart or head? Are you sounding your signature note? Can you feel the power behind your intention? Try the sentence in your head, and then your heart resonance. Choose words that support, hold and affirm others. Avoid words that hurt, damage or wound. Negativity paralyses, positivity mobilises!
7. Identify problems with your voice
If there are voice or speech inaccuracies, the objective of your intention will be out of balance. Common voice and speech problems include glottal attack or breathlessness related to anxiety, a voice that sirens indicates habit-formed tension, or as a result of asthma or other respiratory dysfunction.
8. Have the right posture
Aligning the spine creates power and confidence because of the balance it affords you. To create a calm focus and magnetic presence before presentations stand at ease, place your feet parallel with your body weight, balanced over the ball and heel of each foot, and through the instep. Imagine you have roots growing through your feet into the earth. Tuck your pelvis slightly under and align your spine upwards as though it is a column of light, and breathe.
9. Develop rapport
Whether with an audience or colleagues, the best way to develop rapport is to imagine you are simply having a conversation with the same energy as you would with family or friends. Speak to, rather than talk at any group as though you were speaking to one person. Remember to make eye contact and create easy, free-flowing connections.
10. Remember: voice is the window to your soul...
Your voice illustrates the whole of your being – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Allow your signature note to emerge, free your feelings, open your soul and personal empowerment.
Stewart Pearce is author of The Alchemy of Voice - transform and enrich your life through the power of your voice, Findhorn Press. www.stewartpearce.com.