Voice And Throat Healing Visualisation

Imagine You Have The Voice You Want

Visualisation or Guided Meditation, is like taking a holiday in your own mind. It’s a delightful tool for your subconscious to imagine something you would like for yourself… if only you knew how.  Visualisations allow you to drop the HOW and leap, often surprisingly, into the WHAT. Once the mind imagines once, it’s easy for the body to follow and make it real.

I often suggest to my clients with throat or voice issues, they adopt the Visualisation below, tweak it to suit themselves, record it in their own voice and listen to it every day. Great results.

Voice And Throat Healing Visualisation

Gently close your eyes. Bring your attention to your breath and watch it move effortlessly in and out of your body. Be aware of it moving in and out of your nose… your throat… chest… in and out effortlessly from your whole body.

With every breath in and out, allow your muscles to relax more and more deeply.

Bring your attention to your shoulders. As you breathe in, tighten them and raise them to your ears. As you breathe out, release and relax your shoulders.

Do That Again…

Explore how your shoulders feel when they are relaxed, soft and open. Now bring your attention to your mouth. As you breathe in, tighten your lips hard and feel the tension extend all the way to your jaw. As you breathe out, release and relax your mouth and jaw.

And Again…

Explore how your mouth and jaw feel when they are relaxed, soft and open. Now bring your attention to your throat. As you breathe in, tighten your neck muscles and notice how your throat, neck and face all tighten together. As you breathe out, release and relax your throat, chest, shoulders, neck and whole face.

Then Once More…

Explore how your throat, neck and face feel when your throat is relaxed, soft and open. Now it’s time to focus your attention more closely on your throat. Imagine the light of a full moon is shining like a soft spotlight on your throat. It sends a subtle and steady blue warmth throughout your whole throat. Feel that gentle warmth now. Imagine it expanding and filling your throat with a deep internal healing. Perhaps there is a soft hum. With every breath in and out, feel or see the blue light clean, calm and heal every cell that needs to be clean, calm and healed.

Take your time and relax deeply in the soft blue glow of moonlight that fills, surrounds and supports your whole body… listen to the hum… if it feels right for you, make a soft humming sound. Feel it vibrate through your whole throat, whole face, whole chest, whole body.

When you are ready, repeat to yourself a strong positive statement of what you want for your throat and voice. For instance… “My throat is soft, my voice is strong”, “I speak clearly, confidently, easily”, or “My voice flows easily from my throat”.

Now I’d like you bring your attention to the sensation of your feet on the floor. Give your toes a wiggle. Flex your fingers. Shrug your shoulders gently. Take a grounding breath in and out. Become aware of the room around you. Consciously choose to keep your shoulders, lips, jaw, face, throat and voice, relaxed, open and soft. Let your mind be alert and calm.

Gently, open your eyes.

(c) 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, All Rights Reserved. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

This Is A Voice: 99 Exercises To Train, Project & Harness The Power Of Your Voice By Jeremy Fisher & Gillyanne Kayes

Book Review By Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach

Great book filled with simple techniques for professional speakers, singers, actors and voice professionals. It offers useful exercises for anyone who wants greater control over their voice to become a more confident, persuasive and vocally powerful speaker.

I immediately dipped into This Is A Voice to share exercises with my clients. In particular:

  • Voice projection for over loud and over soft speakers. Vocal variation adds dimension, depth and variety and ensures listeners can hear and understand you.

 

  • The annoying Australian habit of rising inflection… “This is a lovely cup of coffee?” where every sentence sounds like a question. It causes listeners to assume the speaker doesn’t know what they are talking about and are seeking reassurance. Yup; this vocal habit will not get you elected as the next Prime Minister.

 

  • Body balancing exercise to re-centre yourself before and after speaking. Take a moment to consider how much you have magically learnt about a speaker just through listening to their voice. To astute listeners, so much about us emotionally, intellectually and culturally is revealed through tone, emphasis and word choice. It makes sense to ground and retune yourself before speaking, to ensure you deliver what you intend to say on so many levels.

 

© 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au. This Book Review of This Is A Voice is the opinion of the author only.

The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved The British Monarchy by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi

Book Review By Speaking Coach Geraldine Barkworth

I wrongly assumed this biography was the “book version” of the well known 2002 movie, “The King’s Speech”. I was hoping for insight into the innovative speaking techniques used by Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue in his work with King George VI of England, 1914-37.

Whoops. Instead, the book is a sentimental and thoroughly researched history of the author (Mark Logue’s) grandfather Lionel, his relationship with the King and the WW1 and WW2 era in England and Australia.

An unexpected highlight was learning about the era’s emphasis on character development and community contribution through the ability to speak well. Lionel Logue could sell out the Town Hall with his evening recitals. For the first time people who “wanted to get ahead”, took elocution lessons. With the advent of radio, awareness of the power and importance of voice became universally understood especially for families clustered around the radio listening to war updates. Later in business, it was paramount to articulately persuade and present well.

Orators are made, not born. And so the Public Speaking Industry begins.

After reading the book, I borrowed the dvd movie, “ The King’s Speech .”

Wow, what a movie. Gorgeously shot, acted and directed. Such feeling, such subtly, such understatement as the English do so well. I can keep raving, but I won’t. My husband’s tearful High 5 at the end says it all.

The movie tells the story of Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue’s role in helping King George VI handle his fear and reduce his stutter. King George VI had a strong stammer that caused him endless fear and worry about speaking in public, especially when it was broadcast by microphone. It affected his self confidence and unfortunately caused others to lower their expectations of his abilities. Which of cause turned out to be a huge mistake. Sound like a familiar pattern to you, dear reader?

Lionel’s stand out “technique” for me as I have observed with my own clients, is the power of the pause and use of rhythm. The simple (but not always so easy to do) act of slowing down generates a magical sense of calm control and relaxed spaciousness. Presence and gravitas emerge effortlessly.

Great movie; interesting book.

(c) 2016 Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article or review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

The Powerfully Confident Voice

Simple Vocal Techniques

The powerfully confident voice communicates far more than mere facts and data. It conveys subtle unspoken messages in vocal tone, pace, attitude and emotion.

Tone

Audiences assess how authentically aligned you are with your topic, how confident you feel,
 your opinion of them and thus they can draw conclusions about your competence, capability and sincerity through the tone of your voice. Use your tone to handle challenges confidently.

Pace

If you speak too quickly many people will miss your message because they are still processing your Point 1 when you have moved onto Point 3. If you speak too slowly or without variation, they may fall asleep. Use vocal variation to tell the audience when something is important (slower) or when you want them to take action now (faster). If you are speaking to a challenging person I find it wise to slow down, switch on all your senses and listen to what they are not saying as well. Your ability to read people effectively is enhanced when you are in control of your pace.

Attitude

Whether you or audience members are angry, nervous or relaxed during your presentation, always speak with firm compassion. You just don’t know what kind of day a person is having – they could have been up all night with a crying baby, have just lost a loved one, may have been told to come to your workshop and they don’t want to – don’t assume their less than positive attitude is personally directed toward you. Keep your voice level and neutral and drop assumptions.

Emotion

As the leader, keep your emotions well managed so they do not interfere with your presentation. Treat everyone equally and respectfully. If a participant is rude, keep emotions in check and role model emotional maturity through behaviour and voice. If you fall to pieces, who will keep the audience safe and on track? Let firm compassion flow through your powerfully confident voice as you speak to yourself, as well as your audience and people in your care.

(c) 2015 Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article or review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Do You Umm And Err When You Speak?

Conversational Fillers

“Umm and err” are conversational fillers. A filler is a word or sound which signals in a conversation or speech, that the speaker has paused but has not yet finished.

Recently I was asked to give a radio interview, this time about “why people use conversational fillers and why they are so annoying.” The main offenders were “umm and err” with “ahh” being attributed to the over 70 year olds. Middle aged people were chastised for the too frequent use of “actually”, “seriously”, “okay”, “right” and “well.” And younger generations were blasted by radio phone-ins for the inane repetition of “awesome”, “like” and “it’s all good”.

Personally, I’m fond of using “So…” when thinking on my feet. What do you use?

So Much To Say… So Little Time
These words of course aren’t just fillers, some are mindless cliches and some are used by listeners as conversational “reassurers” to signify, “Yes I’m still here, still listening to you.” They fill in a space that the listener assumes needs to be filled. But does it?

Some cultures favour speaking only when necessary and assume a speaker doesn’t need to be emotionally propped up with reassurance. I like that approach. What ever happened to silence, space and trust? Westerners are so used to receiving encouraging sounds when speaking, if there is silence, we assume the other is not listening.

Annoying, Distracting & Detracting
Both speakers and listeners use conversational fillers to signify an unspoken intention. The over or under use of such fillers can be annoying, distracting and detracting. What is your tipping point when “umms and errs” become more fill than conversation?

Some international public speaking organisations, nominate a club member to be the official “Umm and Err Counter” and the list of shame is duly read out at the end of the evening!

Honestly, it is ridiculous how many people timidly knock at my door, shoulders drooping, eyes downcast, admitting in hushed tones they are “terrible” at public speaking because they say “umm” too often.

How Many “Umms And Errs” Are Too Much?
Ok, an “umm” or “err” in every one to two sentences is too much in my opinion. Western audiences assume the speaker is either unconfident, doesn’t know what they are talking about, or may not be telling the truth. The occasional “umm” here and there is just fine.

Interestingly, what do we assume if the speaker just pauses, instead of filling the space with an “umm”?

Or what’s your reaction to a speaker saying thoughtfully, “Mmm” and gazing eyes up with a head tilt at the horizon whilst their next brilliant idea appears to be percolated? I’ve heard from clients that academics often use a thoughtful “mmm” to sound more engaging than a vacant “umm.”

How To Reduce “Umm And Err”And Other Fillers
Keep reading dear ones, as I explain the 3 step technique I use to coach my clients out of over dependence on this habit:

  1. Gather Evidence – first go on a research mission and note what you say and when. Ask for feedback.
  2. Slow Down To Think Before You Speak – Give yourself time to process your thoughts before you say them. No one chooses to say “umm” deliberately.
  3. Choose A Positive Substitution – Decide on a new type of filler, like dieters recommend drinking a glass of water instead of a eating a chocolate bar. I find the most successful substitution is to pause instead of saying “umm”. Simply stop, take a small belly breath, and continue on. Another method to use occasionally is to say “mmm” and look thoughtful, rather than blank. If you use other devices, please share them!

A client I recently worked with told me her boss found her unconscious habit of saying “yep yep” meant she wasn’t paying attention and instead trying to hurry him along. She’s now using a belly breath to pause and just listen or a pause to gather her words while she thinks before speaking.

Now It’s Your Turn
This is the 3 step technique I invite you to try with a trusted friend:

  • confess the conversational filler you mostly use;
  • the positive substitution you intend to use (pause, mmm or something else);
  • celebrate and learn from each others results.

Benefits Of Pausing Versus Conversational Fill

  • clearer and cleaner communication;
  • you and your message will be heard and understood;
  • you will feel more calm, confident and in control.

Final Thoughts
Conversational fillers and re-assurers like the occasional “umm and err” or “I see”, play an important role in everyday western communication. The problem is unconscious overuse in situations when we aren’t present, prepared or listening. “Like, it’s not all good, man.” Next year, aim to use less fill and give more of you. Say more, umm less!

© 2015, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

What Does Your Speaking Voice Say About You?

A Speaking Voice To Command Attention & Authority

Why do some people generate more attention and authority than others? Is it something they do with their speaking voice?

I Speak Therefore I Breathe
As you breathe in and out, air is pushed out of the lungs by the diaphragm and upwards against the vocal cords. This causes the cords to separate and breath passes between them. Ta daa! Sound is produced! The extraordinary variety of sounds we humans produce is caused by the vibrating sound waves in the throat, nose and mouth.

Why Everyone Has A Unique Speaking Voice
Your voice is different to everyone else because of the unique size and shape variations producing different vocal tones in the vocal cords, nose, mouth and throat.

Your voice becomes even more unique to you when volume strengths such as soft and loud are added. In your mind, think of hearing a whisper… now think of hearing a command.

Pitch conveys the colour, meaning and emotion behind your words. Think of a speaker you know whose voice has a high, monotonous, low, shrill, flat or squeaky pitch. What’s your reaction to each? What’s your preference?

And let’s not forget rhythm or ululation, the cadence and emphasis that individuals place on syllables and pronounciation which contribute to the different sounds of a regional accent or to convey meaning. For instance, “I see” or “I see.”

For Every Role, A Different Speaking Voice
Everyday, we all play different roles as parents, colleagues, managers, friends, lovers or children. Have you noticed whether or not your voice changes as you step into each new role? Have you noticed a variation in the voice of others? Obvious examples include:

  • A soft, slower tone when addressing children or someone who is upset or an employee learning a complex new task;
  • an authoritative level tone when addressing a team or audience;
  • a playful whisper to share a joke with your partner.

HOW you say your words is more influential than WHAT you say.

Influencing Others With Your Speaking Voice
Expression and emotion in your voice stirs an emotional response in others. For example, in the West:

  • Deeper, authoritative tones enhance credibility and leadership;
  • High, shrill tones lose authority and are ignored;
  • Soft, confident, slow tones cause people to ‘lean in” and reflect;
  • Powerful, story telling tones using language rich with emotive pictures command attention and engage imagination.

Leaders are often elected and followed due to their ability to lead with their voice and the power of their words. If you are a leader, you need to speak with professional presence. If you are a speaker, you need to lead with professional presence. Leading and speaking are flip sides of the same coin.

What Does Your Speaking Voice Say About You?
Most of us make assumptions about what we sound like based on feedback both verbal and non verbal (such as a smile or a frown) from others.

But are your assumptions about your voice and its influence, correct?

Some of my clients come to see me about “improving their voice” as they desire to command authority and attention when they speak. Sometimes the reasons are obvious:

  • they speak too softly (so they learn to project);
  • they speak too quickly (so they learn to slow down and pause);
  • they speak in a monotone (so they learn how to add colour);
  • they speak with a nervous quiver (so they learn to manage nerves).

What surprises me is how often people assume their voices aren’t powerful enough, effective enough, articulate enough or even good enough for others to hear. When we film or record their voice, they can hear the truth for themselves and take steps if they need to.

What Does Your Speaking Voice Sound Like?
To command greater attention and authority when you speak, you first need to get some factual feedback:

  • Ask 5 friends and colleagues for 5 words describing your speaking style;
  • Observe the impact of your words as they land on people’s faces. Are they listening respectfully, enthusiastically or tuning off?

Great speakers and leaders (at home, at work and in the world) command respect, trust and attention and inspire credibility and action. You can use your influence “for good” simply by finding and tweaking your authentic voice.

Access the power of your vocal cords and let me hear from you!

(c)2014, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Pause Power: Slow Down When You Speak

Speakers who speak too quickly are often described as “overwhelming” and like “chipmunks on speed.”  People learn, listen and process at different rates, so if you speak TOO fast, your listeners may switch off because they cannot make sense of your ideas.

Here’s a 3 minute video I made about Pause Power and how to find your natural pace when you speak:

 

So if you are a naturally fast speaker, how do you remain true to yourself and communicate effectively with slower paced listeners?” I’ll start by sharing a story of when I was running a speaking workshop for some Brisbane Librarians:

Find Your Own Pace
Sitting within an intimate circle, I demonstrated how to speak impromptu by pausing and waiting until words arose. I had not had my morning coffee and was feeling slow and sleepy. So, honouring how I was feeling,  I spoke, slow and sleepy. And so did the next 8 people after me. I was thinking, “Wow! What a relaxed, deeply feeling group!” Then we got to Librarian Number 9 and she burst out:” Oh my god I just can’t do it! I can’t be slow. I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry! It’s just me! I have to break out and speak fast!”

As the facilitator, I hadn’t realised that the group was copying my style and assumed I was demonstrating the “right way” to do impromptu speaking. Thank you Librarian No 9 for reminding us to be ourselves. After that, participants found their natural speaking groove and I had my coffee!

How To Slow Down
Most of us do speak too fast. A slower pace, using gravitas, is restful and impactful. Listeners have time to absorb your words and if you are speaking to them, you want to create a maximum listening environment for your message to be heard.

You do not need to change your essential self and be something you are not. You just need to pause frequently. Imagine where the commas, colons, dashes, fullstops and new paragraphs would begin if your talk was in writing. That’s where you pause. Give people time to digest. A pause is like a non-verbal full stop. So take a risk and stop. It is only a matter of seconds or a couple of breaths.

And when you take those breaths, make eye contact with your listeners and use your whole body to connect with one person at a time. Actively using your body will also release your energy out through your limbs, rather than just your mouth!

A good way to practice finding the most effective pace for you, is to read out loud. And exaggerate the pausing opportunities like commas, fullstops and the main points in a sentence or idea.

What You Can Do
Use these “punctuation opportunities” as a guideline to slowing down with spacious ease:

  • To indicate a “comma” when you speak, stop and take a mini pause.
  • To indicate a “full stop” when you speak, stop and take a short pause of at least one full breath.
  • To indicate a “new topic or new paragraph” as it were, stop and take a big pause of at least three breaths.
  • Watch the British movie “The Kings Speech” which clearly demonstrates the impact and benefit of slowing your speech down. I’m not suggesting you speak as slowly as the King; I’m suggesting your natural pace will be enhanced with the mindful addition of pauses and a sense of spaciousness.

If you are a naturally fast speaker, then be mindful of your pace, ensuring your words are not tumbling insensibly from your lips. A chipmunk on high speed is cute only for a short time. Pause graciously at regular intervals to check your listeners are still with you and not overwhelmed. Smile, slow down and remember to take the scenic route.

© 2012, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au