Sep 25 2018

Re-branding: Down the rabbit hole and a new era for this blog

Published by under Executive Presence,Musings

For the past 10 years, I have been writing Kate’s Voice and been honored with a growing, loyal following and recognition by groups such as Global Gurus, as well as many individuals who I respect and admire. I’ve enjoyed the ride.  This year, the decision was made to expand the Vocal Impact coaching practice and create a new website for the company, which has taken some time. Hence, I haven’t posted in a while. We moved the blog, too, though you will notice that it is still here.

“But it’s no use now,” thought poor Alice, “to pretend to be two people! Why, there’s hardly enough of me left to make one respectable person!” —Chapter 1, Down the Rabbit-Hole.

On the new site, the blog’s name is K8sVoice, a catchy title if I do say so myself. Please visit our new website and take a look at our new platform. So, though I shall not pretend to be two people, gradually I will transform this blog into one with a more artistic focus and keep a business focus for the other.

“The best way to explain it is to do it.” —Chapter 3, A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale

There is a new post on K8sVoice focused on authenticity and intention.

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” —Chapter 12, Alice’s Evidence

Thanks for following this blog and let the (new) adventure begin!

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Apr 23 2018

Vocal space: Can I please hear you “Wow” me?

Published by under Vocal Image

One of the most common vocal habits that we hear in business presentations is people dropping the volume of their last words to an almost inaudible level. I am quite sure the habit is a result of people being hunched over their computers all day, speaking into headsets rather than across a room. Headset mics pick up sounds well for intimate conversations, and speakers get used to that. However, dropping words at the ends of sentences produces a vocal image lacking in energy and clarity. Important words can be lost, and perhaps most importantly, because the speech pattern is “practiced” over and over throughout the day, it carries over to presentations for larger audiences. In other words, it becomes a habit.

When speakers need to be heard by many more in a much larger space, the space of the room also demands space in the voice. Slower pace, pausing, elongating vowel sounds, and cranking up the volume are vocal characteristics that create space. Rather than save the vocal space for special presentations, we recommend using it all the time. Just as the word “WOW” conjures up images of big things, the vocal space used to create it also creates an image of someone who is in charge, who has important things to say. It is also the sound of someone who is not concerned that they will be interrupted. They command the conversation.

You can “wow “them all if you practice creating vocal space. One way to do this is to emphasize the vowel sounds in your words, particularly the last words in your sentences. Vowel sounds in English are voiced sounds. That is, the vocal folds vibrate and make audible vibrations when we say “I,E,A, O, and U.” Sounds such as “T” and “K” are unvoiced sounds, plosive sounds made with the tongue against the teeth or palate. Some sounds in English are both voiced and plosive, such as “D,” or “B.” If you try saying these sounds aloud, you will be able to tell the difference between a voiced and unvoiced sound. Now take the sentence below, and stretch out the vowel sounds, especially those in the very last word:

 I am listening for long vowel sounds. (IIIII aaaaam liiisteniiiiing foooor loooong vooooowel sooooouuunds.)

Say it several times until you really hear and feel the sounds. If you drop or swallow the last words in your sentences, practice creating vocal space by first, choosing a topic, then recording yourself speaking on that topic for 3 minutes. Play it back and listen. If you need more vocal space, practice pausing, elongating vowel sounds to the point that they sound silly and speaking more loudly. Exaggerate it all, and then pull it back to what feels more “normal” without losing the sense of vocal space.

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