Use Your Voice to Serve

One of a multi-part series on how our voice can serve, move and influence.

The sound of our voice and how we use it are important and make us feel good. A 2012 article in Evolution and Human Behavior reported just hearing the voice of our loved ones versus a text conversation reduces our blood cortisol levels and heightens the release of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone associated with bonding.

I received an email from someone I’ve never met and most likely never will. As a voice actor, aside from a client’s gratitude, I rarely know how my storytelling affects the listener. My delight and surprise at receiving the message was surpassed by how deeply their words affected me.

Hello Liz,

I know you don’t know me. I just wanted to write and say that I really enjoyed your narration for the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NLS.) Yes, I’m totally blind. It was a pleasure to hear such a warm and human voice giving life to the characters.

Never underestimate our human ability to connect, regardless of distance and time. I’m grateful to know I reached someone, and they reached back. A poignant reminder the thing I love to do – connecting with my voice – is a is an act of service.

How are you connecting?

Let’s start in the most basic way: Be yourself. Yeah, yeah. I know. Be authentic. Show us as you are. Yada, yada. But how we show up – vocally, as well as physically – creates genuine connection. And humans like that. When you think of someone who commands the room in meetings or plain, old conversations, what makes them memorable, their words and ideas valued? Studies show our voice influences our impressions.

Our voices matter as much as our words matter. They have the power to awaken the senses and lead others to act, close deals, or land us successful job interviews.  When we struggle to get our message across, it’s a good time to physically write down what our mission is, what story we want to tell and how we want to serve our client or friend when we communicate it. If we’re clear about our intent and what we have to offer when we craft our written message, our mind, and voice will follow along when we connect with the emotion behind those words.

Our voice is as unique as our fingerprint, so it follows our vocal imprint contributes to our success, and even contributes to perceived attractiveness and charisma.

We create nuances of meaning, our emotional state and can develop communication skills to elevate executive presence — that je ne sais quoi in speakers who attract us with their confidence and charm, a skill that can be developed and refined with time and practice.

In the next post, discover what your vocal image is and how to elevate it.

 

 

 

 

 

Want Better Conversations? Get a Dog.

Want Better Conversations? Get a Dog.

As a voice actor, I receive a lot of auditions that request a ‘conversational read’. The style requires voice talent to sound relatable, likeable and empathetic. It’s the voice of a good friend or trusted adviser. As if you’re in, you know, a conversation.

It strikes me that in a time when the marketing version of conversation is so popular, our real-world conversation is decidedly not. Genuine, engaged conversation – that give and take of ideas information and feeling – is often absent in a world filled with noise and hit-and-run commentary.

Over the last two years I have advocated better conversations to understand each other, to see each other as human beings rather than opinions. Or punching bags. Find common ground.
We have much more in common with each other than we think.

So, in the spirit of better, more connected conversations, I propose this solution: Get a dog. (more…)

Banish Fear and Comparison, and Lead

Pauline Cheung is a confidence coach works with people to transform the fears that can hold one back to the unwavering confidence to move forward in life and career. From an early age, Pauline herself unconsciously picked on messages it was not safe to be herself. It wasn’t until after she graduated college she decided to figure out what she wanted to do and who she wanted to be. 

What she learned through her experiences, and through piecing together advice from mentors and coaches, is that the fear is normal. Fear shows up when we’re on the cusp of stepping into something big, whether it’s a stronger presence in meetings, shifting into a new role, or promoting our personal brand. The solution wasn’t to get rid of fear (which never worked for long), but transform her relationship to fear, which lead her to a successful career that includes international marketing for The Disney Companies. 

Our two-part conversation can be heard on my Embark podcast.  Many thanks to Pauline for sharing her story, and for answering these five questions. (more…)

Let’s Embark on Something New Together

For years, as a Boston broadcaster, I shared stories from NBA coaches to politicians to authors, in weekly radio interviews. When I later became a full-time voice-actor, I also pursued my first passion, writing. As a presentation coach,I help professionals tell better stories about themselves and what they do.

What all of these things have in common is storytelling. Experience says whether it’s in fiction or real life, our most compelling stories involve change. Some of it good. Some, well, I’m looking at you 2020. (more…)

In Defense of #Procrastibaking

When I was in college, I approached projects as any self-respecting student would: I waited until the last possible moment to start my research, then craft a lengthy essay on the lesser-known works of Chaucer, or argue the merits of Kant’s moral theories.

It did not go well.

At the crack of midnight, I was bent over texts that could double as door stops, studiously writing away. By two a.m., curled snail-like on the sofa, energy depleted, eyes bloodshot, brain lacking in conscious thought I lay still until creative inspiration kicked in.

My next move? (more…)

V-Yoga: Spring Edition

At the start of each new year, the number of attendees in my yoga class doubles from the usual 25 devotees. Swarms of earnest wannabees clutch sticky mats, and aspirations for inner peace. Welcome to January, that aspirational time, when we re-commit to the virtues of hard work, achievement, and re-invention.

Just as the would-be yogi comes to the mat in search of enlightenment, and a fabulously toned core, we voice actors strive to book ever more work, organize our computers, sharpen our performance, and market ourselves every day.   (more…)