Recognise Your Imprint Voices, Find Yours

Article by Stacia Keogh, Embodied Speaking and Story Coach

Authority doesn't mean speaking like a man. Depressing your vocal cords to lower your tone and flatten out all inflection for an in low 'serious' tone ‘like men’ isn’t credible, it's just boring.

I despair when women come from speaker training organisations believing that depressing your vocal cords and down inflecting your tone with a po-face expression equates to 'gravitas'. Your authentic voice is you projecting all your vibrancy and knowledge with your accent, tone and humour. It not only allows you to evidence your experience with sound and syntax but is uniquely yours.

You can discover and embrace your authentic voice from an embodied place.

Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz -it's been right there all along, you just have to click your heels (ground yourself) and say 'There's no place like hoME'. It's time to come home to yourself.

Identify Your Imprint Voices

Our natural voice is a culmination of all the voices that have shaped our life. There will be the voice of the critic, the voice of comfort, the voice of authority, the trusted voice of a friend and the voice of the bully always lurking in the shadows to shame us. Take some time to identify the people in your life who represent those voices. Mother? Father? Friend? Teacher? Boss?

Many people claim a lack of confidence because they don’t have a Big Voice or EXTROVERTED personality. Vocal power comes from projection.

A projected voice is not all about volume. There are 3 kinds of Projection:

Audibility – which means breath supported sound allowing that sound to be carried out into the space. Often, we hold our breath so a good practice to ensure a relaxed sound and total inhalation is to start by breathing out! This sigh of relief releases the breath and engages the sympathetic nervous system allowing relaxation and engages all the muscles that control breathing. When in doubt – breath out!

Intelligibility –clarity of speech. To be understood you have to slow down to allow words to be fully formed and land with the listener giving them time to digest the information.

Mental Projection –communicating meaning through expression and inflection. Consider what travels faster light or sound? Light of course! We see your meaning reflected in your face and tone before we understand your words. This is why during the pandemic with masks on even though we could hear people we often could not understand them because we weren’t able to lip-read or see expression.

Tips to speak with clarity and confidence

Speaking is a physical practice, so it makes sense to locate your voice physically and deepen this mind-body connection by listening to signals your body sends.

Somatic therapy techniques which, I use in Embodied Speaking, are body-focused to help us calm our nervous systems that have been overloaded by stress.

Reconnecting the brain with the muscles allow you to let go of tightness in the body. Once you reconnect with Your Authentic Voice and practice the basics of projection; you can began to build trust with the yourself using the wisdom of your body’s sensory information to gauge how to stay present and at ease when speaking.

We talk about 'leaning into it' or 'gut feeling' 'feeling at ease' or 'the hair standing up on the back of our neck'. These are all physical signals guiding us to what feels good and what is best avoided.

Rather than retreat to a catatonic state or flurry about in fight or flight mode Embodied Speaking can support your ability to Regulate those feelings by acknowledging them and resourcing yourself with nourishment to support you in any situation.

When you speak truth to power you need to be well resourced with protection practices to keep present and connected to safety. Instead of being 'triggered' you can recognise and move out of danger using a regulating technique to reshape your automatic nervous system and rewrite your story of failure or fear of public speaking.

Here is the B-A-S-I-C Framework to help you regain your balance in any situation and speak with clarity and confidence.

BEFRIEND - Befriend by learning to tune into curiosity and self-compassion

ATTEND - Attend to the large shifts and nuanced changes in your felt sense

SHAPE - Shape different responses of reassurance to the situation

INTEGRATE - Integrate new responses with new patterns of behaviour

CONNECT - Connect with the positives to create Safety, Empowerment and JOY

About Stacia Keogh

Stacia Keogh is an Embodied Speaking & Story Coach with a rich background in performance and voice acting. As a resting actor in London Stacia learned the dark arts of advertising and how to use her story and acting skills to enliven pitches and presentations, notably J Walter Thompson, The Really Useful Group, Imagination, Abbot Mead Vickers and as an Education Officer at Kew Gardens. Stacia prepared thousands of young people for LAMDA exams and served on their examining panel for 7 years.

Stacia now works with senior service professionals and entrepreneurs to find their voice & speak on panels podcasts, and signature talks. 1:1 Coaching or Group Training programs to Turn Stories into Business Assets. Listen to her podcast ‘Finding My Voice’ speaking to people who are sharing their truth and giving voice to others.

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