"Who Are You?" In other words... "How Do You Speak and Sound?"
"Who are you?" In other words,
"How do you speak and sound?"
I love accents and voices. I've copied the way people speak my whole life. For as long as I can remember, and for no other reason but for fun, I guess, I've imitated accents, voices, singing styles. It was play... and just something that I always did. While I realize I'm unusual to some degree in this regard, I also recognize--or truly believe, that each of us is capable of changing our voices and speaking styles SO much more than we may realize.
You don't just have one voice...
Think about it. We use one voice when speaking with one person and then a very different voice with another; for example, a friend versus a boss or a child and then a co-worker. We play different roles in our lives, and our voices go along for the ride; rather, they are a critical driving force of the ride. On another note, our best voices-the ones that we feel truly represent who we are, may come out and shine in one circumstance, and then for some godforsaken reason, are nowhere to be found when we're presented with other situations; for example, high-stakes opportunities like interviews or presentations. We may go to speak and find that our voice has abandoned us, leaving us "uh" ing, talking too fast, speaking in a high voice, or blanking out. This is what I work on with people a lot.
One size does not fit all.
My approach, when I work with clients, is highly individualized. Every person who comes to my office has a unique story about their voice (and speech). They each have unique histories and personal experiences, and the stories they tell themselves about their voices and identities vary. They come from different cultures, families, linguistic backgrounds. What's more, everyone holds tensions-more often than not unconsciously, differently in various parts of their bodies and faces... Finally, many people get stuck speaking in a voice they may not even be comfortable with, or in a style that no longer truly reflects who they are or who they are becoming.
How do you learn? How do you change?
In addition to the variables that create different vocal profiles, no two people respond the same way to coaching or teaching approach. One person may benefit from direct instruction, such as "Relax your shoulders, open the back of your throat, sigh, and then say it again." Another may access a voice and state of being most effectively through role-play-for example, walking around the room as the queen as they calmly, confidently, and regally telling me about their plans for conquering the world, their careers (or what they plan on having for lunch!).
Why drive one car when you can drive many?!
Logic has it that if you can access a voice you like in certain situations, that voice is within you and a part of you. The work that goes into accessing it and cultivating it in more areas of one's life may vary from one person to the next. The work (or play) that goes into discovering and or re-discovering all the other rich and valuable voices that are available to you can be life-changing work-just ask some of my clients. Suffice it to say, I truly believe, actually I know, that when a person is open to exploring and tapping into all the different gifts their voice has to show them, their life will become richer, deeper, more fascinating, and more meaningful. When you explore your voice and cultivate your unique qualities, you live a more fully lived life.