Voice and Speech Finding more than just your voice

January 2, 2020

Stop My Voice from Shaking! – Public Speaking and a Trembling Voice

Don’t you just hate it when you’re speaking in public and your voice starts shaking? There’s nothing that screams NERVOUS!! like a trembling voice. Trying to control a quivering voice just makes it worse. Here are three broad techniques that enable you to channel that energy constructively.

March 1, 2018

Voice Training: Breath Holding

Breath-holding is one of those unnoticed habits that presents a real obstacle to your speaking voice. It closes you up, stops your flow and gets you into your head. Cultivating uninterrupted breath flow can make the difference between feeling blocked and jammed up as a speaker or being open, connected and fully engaged.

September 6, 2017

Public Speaking: Just Get Through It

December 14, 2016

Speaking Skills: Slowing Your In-Breath

May 25, 2016

Overcoming Stage Fright

March 30, 2016

Dealing with Failure: An Essential for Effective Practice

June 5, 2014

Project Confidence: Making Your Voice Sound Confident

November 20, 2013

Breathing Exercises: Breathing Relaxation Techniques

October 31, 2012

CRUCIAL SKILL #1: Grounding

Grounding is one of the most crucial physical skills related to public speaking. Here’s a recent video on the topic.

September 6, 2011

BE THE CHANGE: Embodying Skills

During my holiday, I tried to finish a book that’s been on my shelf for some time, The Anatomy of Change, by Richard Strozzi Heckler. This is one of those books that contains really great insights and resonates so well with the concepts I teach, but sadly I can’t recommend it because it’s so difficult to read. (Kristen Linklater‘s Freeing the Natural Voice is another one in that category.) Now, I’m no book critic, but when a smart guy who likes to read, and loves to learn, struggles to get to the next page, something tells me it’s the writing.

Now that I got that off my chest, I’ll share one quote from the book that keeps resurfacing for me in the middle of lessons.

“At the time of the race, the runner must let go of the [training] and concentrate fully on the race. He must be in union with the things he has practiced, because he is no longer practicing. He now needs to be those things.”

I love this concept, and of course it’s true for any kind of performance, including public speaking and presentation. It’s not enough to know what you’re supposed to do. It has to be in you at that point, part of your being. Yes, “conscious competence” is one stage of learning, and there’s nothing wrong with being at that stage. But it’s not the end of the road. You aspire to “unconscious competence”. When you’re at the front of the room, and all eyes are on you, it’s too late to be thinking about grounding, breathing and resonance. You have to be grounded, breathing and resonant.

How do you embody skills?

  • Practice. Time and repetition help to change muscle memories.
  • Feel what you’re doing. Don’t just think about it.
  • Go slowly. Give your body a chance to absorb what’s happening.
  • Focus. Pay attention to one thing at a time.
  • Enjoy it. If it feels good, you’re more likely to retain it and return to it.
When I’m in the middle of a breathing lesson, and my client asks, “Do you breathe like this all the time,” I can only smile and say, “When I’m thinking about it, yes. When I’m not thinking about it, I hope so.” Embodying skills is the journey of a lifetime.
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