Clients usually find me for one of two reasons. Either something physical is impacting their voice e.g. their voice is raspy, frequently tired, feels weak or in extreme cases they frequently lose their voice. Or there’s an emotional pain point e.g. someone has said they can’t understand them, find it hard to hear them, they talk too fast or maybe they’re constantly using fillers which is distracting. As a professional they often come to me feeling embarrassed and want to work through what’s holding them back.
But for many other professionals who rely on their voice in their business or career they will never seek out voice training. At best they might do some public speaking or presentation skills training, but mostly this will never include deeper voice work.
Voice training isn’t just for people who perceive they have a “problem”. It really opens up the voice to allow it to function freely, powerfully and expressively. Our voice is ultimately a muscle(s) which has to be trained (like any other in the body) for stamina, strength, agility and flexibility.
I think there’s a few reasons why many don’t seek voice training…
- Speaking for most of us happens very naturally, we start babbling sounds from about 6 months. Therefore we think our voice is “just the way it is”, so why bother with voice training! In truth, by adulthood we’ve usually developed vocal habits that are hindering us accessing the full potential of our voice and we’ve lost touch with our “natural voice”.
- Voice training is vulnerable, our voice forms part of our identity or persona. It’s scary to start to change that persona and really be heard and powerfully express ourselves. We have nothing to hide behind anymore. (This fear of being heard can often be unconscious, often we’re more aware of people not listening to us).
- It requires a commitment to practice a new skill. Mostly we’re conditioned to want “quick fixes” which simply doesn’t work with the voice. However what is really required is a regular distributed focused practice. You don’t have to practice for an hour a day (I actually don’t recommend that). It could be 15 mins spread across the day in 5 mins chunks. The most important thing is it’s consistent and intentional because “practice makes permanent”.
What happens when we invest in voice training?
Our voice stabilises and strengthens and new dynamic possibilities emerge. We trust our voice because this motor skill has become internalised and embodied. It just happens without us thinking, we’re on auto-pilot. We have a voice that is able to fully and powerfully express. Any nervous throat clearing, coughing, strain, voice cracking / shaking, speaking quickly or using fillers no longer limits us.
Ultimately the rewards are profound, long lasting and far-reaching. I often find a natural by-product of voice training is feeling more confident.
“Quick fixes” may help you to get through a last minute presentation, but ultimately the results will fluctuate and will likely add to the anxiety of public speaking.
Investing in voice training allows you to not only trust your instrument fully but also opens up your voice to all it’s untapped dynamic potential. You’ll show up differently and be more confident to create / seek bigger opportunities and ultimately command higher fees.