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What is your voice telling people? Does it accurately and effectively convey your personal and professional brand?  

I had the absolute pleasure of talking with Dr. Andrea Wojnicki on her wonderful podcast "Talk about Talk." We discussed voice and the powerful role it plays in our professional and personal lives.

Andrea also asked me about ways to cultivate a healthy, authentic, dynamic, and credible voice that is appropriate to your professional role AND ways to develop a more flexible voice that expresses the various aspects of your personality that make you, you.

I hope you'll give it a listen! And tell me what you think!

What are your experiences with your voice, the relationship you have to it, and the ways it impacts your career and life?

Judy :)

Podcast with Mamie Kanfer Stewart

I had the pleasure of being a guest on Mamie Kanfer Stewart's terrific podcast The Modern Manager. Listen to our conversation about how to use your voice to communicate effectively and authentically at work.

Listen or read the key takeaways at https://themodernmanager.com/podcast-183/.

Below is the blog she wrote for the episode. You really should check her podcast and website out--she is a wonderful source of information and wisdom.

Maya Angelou put it perfectly when she said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." In this one sentence, Maya captures the importance of how we communicate. Yet very few people have been trained to use their voice effectively.

I was delighted to speak with Judith Weinman about executive presence and the role of voice in communication. In Judy's words, executive presence is about showing up clear in your message, effectively using your voice to guide others. As a speech, voice, and communications trainer who helps individuals and corporations cultivate personal and professional communication skills, this is a topic Judy knows a lot about. Here, she guides us in simple ways to channel our breath in order to show up at work in a clear, persuasive, and authentic way.

BREATHE TO BE AUTHENTIC

People care about authenticity. If the words that come out of your mouth don't seem to be connected with your body and all of who you are, people instinctively don't trust you as much. We need to come across as grounded. The best way to do that is through the breath. We need to relax and breathe. When we relax, we open up constrictions in the body, and allow the breath to come through our entire body.

Judy suggests creating visual imagery of your breath literally moving through your body from the gut. Think of where it may be constricted and where you're holding tension. Judy finds that many people hold tension in their tongue, and tend to speak from the throat instead of the chest. In order to sound and feel more powerful, we need to open up that space. To practice, take a deep breath and say a few words, keeping your throat open.

TONE IS EVERYTHING

Tone is primal for humans; we recognized tone and voice before we understood words and messages. Our brains read the tone and assign meaning to it. And if that tone contradicts the words, we trust the feeling conveyed by the tone. In this way, tone is thus more powerful for us than words.

In order to become more aware of your tone, consider feedback you receive from other people about how you speak. Pay attention to clues from how others respond to you to gauge how your tone is coming across. For example, if you end sentences on a high note, you may sound uncertain about what you're saying.

Managers need to develop a flexibility of voice, knowing which to use in different circumstances. You can practice this by trying different tones, such as authoritative or supportive, and noticing how it feels in your body to speak in that way.

PACE YOURSELF

We may put pressure on ourselves to speak fluidly, using perfect sentences, but that's counterproductive. Humans think in phrases and clauses. Perfect sentences that sound as if they were written are actually harder for us to comprehend orally. Instead, allow yourself the time to think by slowing down, and speaking naturally.

When we hold onto our breath, words tumble out quickly which can signify a lack of confidence or nerves. Instead, let the breath lead; make sure to pause, allow yourself to breathe, then say the next thought. In this way, the words you say also connect with your whole being.

One setting where pacing is particularly important is meetings. When you prepare adequately, you focus on gauging people's reactions rather than worrying about what you'll say. By paying attention to what they need clarification on and adapting your message as you go along, you're more likely to facilitate a productive conversation.

POWER POSES AND OTHER WAYS TO USE YOUR BODY

When we're nervous, we make ourselves physically smaller. Women especially tend to do this. It creates a feedback loop of how the body, breath, voice, and mind interact negatively with each other. That is why doing "power poses" to take up more room is one way of disrupting that unhelpful loop (even if they feel a little ridiculous.)

Judith suggests also being aware of opening up the chest rather than having it cave it. In addition, we can be aware of opening up the throat, loosening the jaw, and becoming aware of where we hold tension in the body. When we focus on what we can do to feel better within ourselves, we stop being as concerned with the outer response. This confidence comes across when we speak from this place.

SUPPORT YOUR TEAM IN BUILDING THEIR COMMUNICATION SKILLS

If you notice that some of your employees could use better communication skills, approach the subject delicately. Make sure the discussion comes from a supportive place of believing in their potential, and the success they could achieve if only they could communicate better. Be conscious that equity may be a factor; those who received a poor education or one that did not include speaking skills are often embarrassed to bring it up.

We worry so much about what we say and then disregard how much the way we say it impacts our team. In order to build trust, work on connecting your body with your breath. Take time to ground yourself so that you come across as authentic. And learn how to pace your words so that you speak in easily understood phrases rather than complex sentences or half-thoughts. Mindfulness of the body isn't just a nice concept. It's a way to bring us closer to our teams to be heard and respected.

--You can connect with Mamie in all of these places:

  • Twitter: @mamieKS
  • LinkedIn: @Mamie Kanfer Stewart and @The Modern Manager
  • Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/themodernmanagerpodcast
  • Instagram: @mamieKS


PODCAST 


Listen to the interview I did with Laura Camacho on her terrific podcast Speak Up. Laura is an executive coach, trainer, and speaker. We talked about accent and voice. Give a listen!

E 132: The Surprising Impact Of Accents & Voice with Judith Weinman 


35 min. Welcome to the Speak Up with Laura Camacho podcast. This is the place where you get encouragement and tools to say what needs to be said. Be the leader who moves things forward. Listen in as Laura asks daring questions to voice and communication coach, Judith Weinman, founder of Accent on Speech. We discuss so many aspects of accent and voice that relate to how you are perceived as a leader. Listen to learn actionable insights to sound more confident like: 


- What to do when you have an accent and are meeting someone for the first time. 

- A powerful voice exercise to meet the needs of any communication situation 

- How accent and voice affect perceptions of you as a leader 

- Speak and present more confidently online





Accent On Speech
Micro Sessions
$8.00-$100.00

Take advantage of this new cost-effective way to get personalized feedback and instruction. Micro sessions enable you to record up to 2 minutes of your speech for review by Judith Weinman. She will listen to and analyze your recording-with or without video, and then reply with her own recording/video providing you detailed analysis and instruction on what you can do to improve. You can use any audio method you prefer, including Whatsapp, email, Voice memo, Audio Hijack, etc. and any video method-through your computer, Zoom, etc. You will hear back within 24 business hours (M-F).

Or you can send your text (parts of a presentation, your elevator pitch, common phrases you say, etc.), and I'll record them for you.

I may also offer ideas and suggestions for ways to make your presentation, story, or elevator pitch even better.

Micro sessions are perfect if you have a:

  • public speaking engagement
  • presentation
  • situation where you may feel anxiety or stress
  • desire to improve the overall effectiveness of your speaking voice

Number of Sessions/Cost

1 for $8 each

5 for $7 each

10 for $6 each

20 for $5 each



Survey: Let me know (in the message space): What are your greatest communication challenges at work? How do you deal with them? I'd love to learn from you and share your responses, along with my feedback, with others.

I once had a client who said, "The moment you open up your mouth to speak, all of your business is out in the street." What he meant is that our voices, as well as the way we speak, reveal volumes and create strong and immediate perceptions in the minds of our listeners. Signals are transmitted regarding... our background, education,...

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