“I want to learn how to control my voice”, is a wish I often hear when people start with voice coaching. They do not like the tone or sound of their voice. So in order to speak more freely and create more impact, they want to get grip on their vocal skills. My reply is always the same… Instead of taking control over your voice, I will teach you how to ‘un-control‘ it.
For the key to growth, resonance and really show yourself to the world is in freedom, playfulness and letting go (of control).
EXERCISE – DEAL WITH PRESSURE
I invite you to take a minute and observe your breath. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Now observe which hand is moving. Is your breath in your chest or in your belly? Do you breathe deep or superficial? Do you inhale quickly or slow? Just observe…
Now make two fists with your hands and squeeze so hard for a couple of minutes. Ask and observe yourself: How does your body reacts? Does your heartbeat change? is there an impact on your breathing? How does your throat feel?
The changes in your body are due to the pressure in your fists. Your muscles need more oxygen, so your heartbeat and breathing goes up, becomes faster. The pressure on your throat, larynx and voice is real. This physical pressure is something you can feel. Stress, mental pressure or control has the same effect, but is less sensible.
Keeping control also influences the resonance in the voice. The more you want to control your sound, the less it will resonate.
In my practice I meet a lot of people who want to be ‘in charge’ of their voice. Therefor they put a lot of pressure on their throat and use only a small part of their body as a soundbox. The sound is created in the throat through the vocal cords and leaves the body via the mouth. When you speak with a lot of pressure, the only resonance one can hear is in the throat and mouth. This will make your voice sound high pitched, sharp and stressed. In fact you leave a whole part of your voice and resonance (chest, nose and head) unused. That is a pity.
By keeping your voice under control, you will not only use only a part of your voice resonance, you will also not show your full potential and impact as a person. The more you want to take control over your voice, the ‘smaller’ you’ll play. In this case you will not be heard, make a stressed impression and stay unsuccessful.
Last week Peter experienced how his voice responded when he let go control. He worked on an exercise with his ears (it all starts with listening). When your ears are open and awake, they will connect with the vocal cords to improve the resonance and sound. The more calm the breath and vocal cords, the more resonance in the voice.
When Peter was doing the exercise with his ears (not knowing what he was doing), his voice immediately became more loud, deep, warm and calm. Everything he wanted to experience in his voice was already there… Only not in the way he thought it would be. The moment he let go control because he was busy with his ears, his voice became more resonant. He was impressed and not used to hear his voice in this way.
Afterwards the same effect happened in other coachings with different clients. The impact is always the same. The moment you dare to let go, the voice becomes free and resonant. You don’t have to DO anything, you can just BE.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
After the exercise I saw Peter thinking… His voice has learned him a lesson, not only in voice but also in life. “The key is in letting go. I am the one who is playing small because I want to be too much ‘in charge’.”
So in order to develop a voice, to become a great speaker and leader, you have to learn the attitude of freedom, playfulness and letting go.
See you there, Katrien