“A resonant voice can change the weather in a room”
Joe Moran, ‘First You Write a Sentence’, Penguin 2019.
Everything Sounder does is oriented towards a simple outcome – improved vocal confidence. But there are many elements to our voices that need to be understood and practiced. Using techniques from a wide range of performance practices and techniques Sounder works on them all.
First, there is the physical voice. How often do you prepare your voice before speaking to your clients, your students, a conference audience, a staff meeting, your colleagues, your boss? Probably not very often. Would you even know how to start? Most people don’t. The anatomy of the voice is complex, relying on subtle interconnections between muscle, bone, and breath. This involves the whole body, but particularly the upper abdomen, neck, and head. We need to to prepare the voice for the same reason an athlete trains to run a marathon. Do it wrong, or don’t do it enough, and you can hardly expect to see the finish line, let alone win the race.
Second, there is non-verbal communication. What are your hands doing? What is you posture saying about you as you enter the room? Are your words saying one thing but the tone of your voice revealing another? Studies have shown time and again that the words we speak only account for a relatively small proportion of what we are transmitting.
Third, there are the intertwined opportunities of emotion and intention. The wrong inflection on a word or a phrase can fundamentally alter its meaning. Do you check your emotional state before you speak? Do you dread public speaking? Have you ever ‘dried’ half-way through a presentation? Awareness of the importance of emotion is essential to managing to vocal performance. Using emotion to give intention to your voice gives it power.
Fourth, there is the environment. Are you happier talking to a few people in your own space? Does the prospect of a large audience bring you out in a cold sweat? What if they don’t seem to be listening? How can I fill a lecture theatre without needing a microphone? What if I only ever speak to clients on the phone? The social and spatial context of voice and performance changes the tools and techniques we need to be effective. One voice does not fit all occasions.
Sounder address all of these issues to give you options. And we do so with your whole organisation. In most workplaces these days everyone is ‘client-facing’, even if the ‘clients’ are our colleagues. This is why we work to a very simple principle:
all. together. sounder.