I have been a vocal trainer for over twenty years, but have recently completed 14 months of training in Life coaching. Why have I done this? Well, as I’ve said in previous blogs, your voice and your self are very much intertwined. I believe that we need personal growth in our lives, and that it can really help in voice work. Yes, of course the development of skill is vital, but equally so is the knowledge and expression of self. Without the latter, true communication can’t happen. You need to hear your self to voice your self. So, where do you begin? here are some suggestions that really work for me and my clients.
By this I mean both externally in your surroundings, and internally in your mind. You can’t really get in touch with “what makes you tick” and how to express the “real you” if there is too much physical and mental noise. Find a quiet place, do some deep breathing and turn off any noisy thoughts. This can be easier said than done, but it is possible with practice. The Headspace app has a useful free introduction to this.
I use several ways of “getting present” when working with people. It makes such a difference to have that laser focus. You can also hear the messages that your inner self is trying to send you. How many times, for instance do we ignore out intuition because our mind tells us that we have to do things a certain way, or says “you can’t do that”? Turning off those thoughts will let you shine through.
Listen, and Really Hear Your Self
This means find out what really “resonates” with you as a person, your values and your self. How?
- Once in your quiet space, read through your talk, script, song, meeting notes and say them out loud. really listen to your voice, your message and your self. Are they in line?
- Mark up your copy, noting anything that really resonates with you and also anything that doesn’t.
- Think about why the marked up things work for you (or don’t) and make a note.
- Now, finally, look at the things that don’t connect for you, that don’t reflect you. Could you reframe or rewrite them to make them work? Could you make changes in performance decisions? If so, great, because this will ensure that you will communicate more truthfully.
If you are an actor preparing a character, do this for your self first, and then for your character and given circumstances. Find out where there are overlaps. This will allow you to find truth in your character.
Give Yourself Permission to Voice Your Self
Permission for what? Well, to express your self. By this I mean the real you. If you have done the work above, you will be beginning to have some idea about what needs to happen for you to do this.
Remember that what you have to say is valid.
If something holds you back, what is it? Perhaps it is vocal or performance technique; that can be dealt with of course with study and practice. Or does something else keep you stuck?
Record yourself speaking or singing as in the section above and listen carefully. Does the real you come through? if not, why not? Give yourself permission allow the real you to come forward and see if it makes a difference.
Ask Good Questions
Asking good questions is a great way to get in touch with how to progress. Explore your ideas by visualising, feeling, and by voicing them. Here are a few questions you might ask yourself as you do so:
How is it going – really?
Could I change something usefully?
How could I do things differently?
What holds me back or stops me?
What if I could …? (insert possibilities)
Trust and Affirmation
In order to “Voice Your Self” you may need to increase your self belief. Saying a daily affirmation can really help. e.g. “I am a good singer”, “I can get my point across clearly, “I am capable ” or whatever is relevant to you and your voice use. So, say this to yourself ten or more times at the same time each day. Don’t believe it will help? Give it a go. The key is repetition. Also, notice that this affirmation needs to be positive, in the present tense and achievable e.g. avoid “I can live on the moon” type statements.
Hear Your Self, Voice Your Self
So there you have it, some ideas to help you to do just that. Of course these tips are just a beginning. I hope you find them useful, please do let me know. If you would like to explore personal growth coaching and how it can help you and your voice, do get in touch. I offer a free exploration session for those who would like to know more.