Want to Improve Your Communication?
A client happily reported recently that she’d noticed her voice had become deeper and more authoritative. This new voice whilst a bit of a surprise for her was helping her to be heard more. She was finding it easier to engage with her team and her colleagues, she was slowing down and feeling more confident in her delivery and that people were listening, being less dismissive.
The voice is like music - it is a sound that has an emotional impact upon us, a sound that we individually interpret and assess. 38% of the communication we absorb comes from the way in which words are said - the tonality, the sound, the pronunciation and the pace. We often interpret a person’s internal state from the sound and delivery of their words. Despite the increasing reliance on written forms of communication, we continue to use video and conferencing technology whichbring another set of challenges for being heard and understood.
Studies also reveal that deeper, dare I say more ‘masculine’ voices are perceived as more competent, stronger and trustworthy. It’s a thorny issue that could take us into a whole other debate about the lens through which we evaluate success at work, the concept of ‘gender bilingualism’, the differences between how men speak (report and declare) and how women speak (test and qualify).
What is really important here is to remember that the voice comes from within the body. How we feel is therefore communicated through the voice. Whether we feel anxious or happy, the listener will hear it in our tone, our choice of words, place of delivery, our breath pattern. We can choose to have voice coaching to deepen our voice. Or we can organise ourselves to allow the voice to flow freely, to resonate more deeply, to have a richer quality.
Try the following:
- Drop your shoulders away from your ears, and relax through your upper arms
- Reach upwards through the crown of your head, perhaps lengthening the back of your neck
- Lengthen through your spine without arching your back
- Feel the sides of your rib cage
- Soften your eyes
- Let the jaw relax by opening it slightly. Teeth are not designed to meet in the mouth unless chewing!
- Move your breath deeper into your belly. Try and go for expanding the abdomen on the in-breath and letting it collapse on the out breath - the reverse to what is often habitual in most people but very familiar to any yoga enthusiasts among you.
- Keep your belly soft - now is the time to let it all hang out instead of holding it up tight
- Relax your glutes and pelvic floor.
No, this isn’t a bed time routine, although clients often report how much more relaxed they feel when doing this. You are looking for a relaxed but alert quality with this practice.
What do you notice inside?
When we are relaxed the voice can move through the body with greater ease, the breath flows more freely and the brain functions more effectively. What happens now when you speak?