On Changing Voice and Speech Habits


On Changing Voice and Speech Habits

According to the National Science Foundation, an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts.

So if you do the math ;) we are repeating a whole lot more negative messages to ourselves than positive. That may come as a surprise to some more than others.

Our thoughts affect our behaviors and our behaviors become our habits. James Clear said it perfectly in Atomic Habits: "Your habits shape your identity, and your identity shapes your habits."

I can think of no other behavior that shapes and reveals our identity more than the way we use our voice and speak. Every time you open up your mouth to speak, you are reinforcing your identity-to yourself and to your listeners.

My job is to help people change the speech and voice habits that don't serve, no longer serve, or even cause harm to a person's professional success or personal well-being.

Sometimes clients are aware of their behaviors or some of them, but oftentimes they are not, and very often, they aren't aware of the messages their voices are sending, and as Carl Jung said "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate."

If you're habitually talking fast-are you unsteady? nervous? feel undeserving of the floor? When you speak in a monotone, are you bored? Or just boring?! Speak with a retracted tongue or jaw tension? -Are you afraid of showing emotion? You use glottal fry, up-speak, a small voice... Is part of you still lingering in adolescence? Are you insecure? Still not found your voice? In any case, you leave it up to your listeners for interpretation.

And you probably know, somewhere inside yourself the stories that are shaping those voices, and you might possibly know that there may be some challenging excavating that needs to be done. I can tell you-- this work can be powerful and ultimately prove to be a game-changer in your life. That, I can say for certain, because I've seen it time and time again with my clients. Weak voices or confusing messages don't lead to promotions, buy-ins, and sales.

Habit changing involves self-awareness, some or sometimes a lot of introspection, education (about voice and speech and its connection to our bodies, breath and psyches), skill and strategy (goal setting and systems), steady, or fairly steady motivation, and discipline. Also, support and accountability can make all the difference when undertaking a challenging personal change, ultimately leading to the noble goal of becoming a better version of yourself.

After goals are set, systems are put into place-meaning strategies for replacing old behaviors with new ones that are incompatible with the old. Quite a lot of thought and energy usually goes into this, because as James Clear also said "You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems."

When I read Atomic Habits, I recognized the strategies Clear talked about, because even though I might have referred to them differently, concepts like "habit stacking" are ones I've been using for years!

This is a topic I could write a book on, with regard to changing voice and speech habits. As you might know, given the feedback loop of breath, voice, body and brain, I start with the voice. I truly believe, through working with many, many clients over the years, that is the most effective, efficient, and powerful way to truly make a shift in a person's mindset, identity and well-being. 

Because finding your voice- the right voices for who you are and what you need, takes care of everything else-connection to breath, body and mindset, and ultimately, confidence, clarity and authenticity. And those are the qualities that lead to personal happiness and professional success.

If you are interested in how I work with people to change their speaking and voice habits--and their lives, send me a note on the Contact page.