Aik the Love Coach

Voice or diction coach ei aren't just for professional singers, actors, Or pubfic speakers A good voice coacFTcan h-elp anybody refine tone and diction, and gyve general pointer! on improving poise and overcoming ihyrtess. Look in your Yellow Pages under "Voice Coaches-."

After our physical appearance, our voice is the most predominant feature we bring into our exchanges with other people, so it's important that we learn to sound as attractive as we look.

Both Julia and Harold decided to work on their voices. Julia hired a voice coach. Her coach helped her modulate her voice, eliminating its slightly nasal quality. She also taught Julia various techniques to control her voice when she was nervous— techniques Julia was able to put to use right away when making presentations to clients on behalf of her ad agency.

Since Harold couldn't afford sessions with a personal voice coach, he simply started to record his own voice and play it back, really listening to how he sounded. He worked on playing down his Texas accent and on slightly lowering the timbre of his voice. He also worked on eliminating his monotone speech pattern by trying to add vitality to his voice.

Before long, both Harold and Julia found their voices had become more resonant, more animated, and generally much more pleasant to listen to. As a result, they also found that other people seemed more interested in what they had to say.

To evaluate your own voice, here's a simple exercise to try. Do this whether or not you plan to hire a voice coach.

1. Record and listen to your own voice. Use a tape recorder, or simply listen closely to your voice message on your phone answering machine.

2. Ask yourself if this is the voice of someone to whom you would like to listen. Make a list of the qualities you think you need to improve. If you're not sure, ask someone else whom you feel can give you constructive criticism.

3. Record your voice again... and then again.. .until you sound "right" to yourself or the friend you've enlisted to help.

You needn't be a supreme baritone or an exquisite soprano, poised to take the opera world by storm. You simply need to enhance the quality of your speaking voice so people will listen to what you have to say without being put off by the sound that carries your thoughts.

Knowing Your Style Requires Knowing Yourself

The whole point of all this effort, and all these exercises, is to help you discover and polish your own personal style. You aren't trying to be something you're not, but rather to enhance and improve what you already are. Observe the characteristics you admire in other people, allow them to metamorphose to fit your own persona, and thus consciously develop your own personal style.

Perhaps your style is basic and earthy, perhaps it's glamorous, and perhaps it is constantly changing; whatever your style is, it has to come from substance. It comes from knowing and being comfortable with yourself. Quite simply, you can't have a style of your own, you can't do things that are truly unique to you, until you have developed a level of confidence in and awareness of yourself.

Continue reading here: The Least You Need to Know

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