Our voices are the way we connect our inner lives with others - our thoughts, our emotions, our personality and our values.
Our inner lives must be reflected authentically if we want to make meaningful connections with those around us.
At The Speakers’ Gym, our voice work is about getting rid of our 'self filter' to allow our true voices out.
We help remove the barriers, tensions and clunky self-conscious rubbish to allow you to just be and speak authentically.
Of course, then your voice will sound resonant, rich, engaging, authoritative, and all those positive adjectives on our clients' wish lists when we start working with them.
But the key is those results are a product of you being brave enough and comfortable enough to trust yourself - to stop 'doing' so much with your voice and start 'allowing'.
The stories we tell ourselves
The self filter is the filter of your ego.
The ego isn't who you are, but a limiting identity we create for ourselves.
It drives us to filter our voice (and a number of other things like thoughts and behaviour, but let’s stick with voice) to project the version of ourselves that we’re happy for people to see.
For example: “I'm intelligent, I'm articulate, I'm funny and I’m humble.”
Alternatively, we seek to cover up a negative story the ego tells us about ourselves and that we identify with.
For example: “I'm not very authoritative, I'm not professional, people don't take me seriously and I shouldn’t really be here.”
These are all just stories you tell yourself. When you identify with them fully, they limit you.
The fact is, we're any number of these things at any given time. Why don't we allow ourselves to just be, to speak and be faithful to how we are in the present moment?
It’s also incredibly self-interested behaviour. It’s a huge amount of energy exerted on yourself. And this is all energy you should be saving for your clients and colleagues.
To revert to a phrase often used in my acting training: “Leave yourself alone.”
On a technical level, posturing and filtering has a massively negative impact on your voice as you're either pushing or projecting an inauthentic version of yourself that you want to portray.
Or it may be that you're trying to cover up something you're ashamed of. Either way, you’re speaking through tension.
The key is to be comfortable enough with who we are moment to moment, and to stop trying to control the voice.
It takes a leap of faith to be vulnerable enough to allow our voices to flow out - no filter.
The ego filter creates tension. We see it and hear it in other people, albeit subconsciously. We don't believe it, and we don't trust it.
It’s because we recognise inauthenticity.
Yet funnily enough, it doesn’t stop us practising it every day ourselves.
So at its essence, great voice work isn't about working on the voice but rather stopping the work. It’s about undoing our ego’s desire to get involved and shape the sound, trusting ourselves to be present and getting comfortable with that vulnerability.
The people that speak free from ego and openly and authentically have the biggest impact, are the most influential, and are the most captivating and spell-binding there are.