Work is what we do -- it is not who we are.
When teaching Vocal Awareness, I make no distinction whether we are in a personal or a professional conversation. As I tell all my students, "the same person shows up everywhere." Outside of work, we often seek to gain confidence and enhance self-esteem in multiple ways, from working with motivational teachers, programs designed to "help us put our best foot forward" to myriad spiritual practices.
But nowhere do we learn to simply be who we are and sustain this ethical commitment in every conversation.
Here’s how you can achieve your personal/professional goals through Vocal Awareness:
1. Identify your Persona. Choose how you want to be known.
2. Always sit/stand in Stature. This is not rigid. It is feeling a thread pull from the top of your head. Always relax your neck and shoulders and open your chest. At first this can feel awkward as you learn to claim yourself but within a matter of moments, it will feel natural.
3. Discover how you breathe. Notice your patterns. Invariably you breathe in "bird breaths" -- shallow breaths barely enough to keep a bird alive. To shift this behavior, practice allowing a Conscious-Loving Breath. Initially this breath takes five to seven seconds as you practice each inhalation.
4. Hold eye contact. Mentally/visually connect with your eyes as you speak with someone, even over a telephone. When speaking face to face, strive to maintain eye contact. This fundamental practice is frankly a profound behavioral pattern that will help shift self-conscious behavior to behavior that helps you be conscious of self. It will also change the sound of your voice. Your pitch will get deeper and your voice will resonate more.
5. Take your time. Never rush your conversation. Remember this axiom: "In communication, speed is only speed. It is never how fast I speak or communicate, rather how effective."
6. Watch yourself. Practice daily on a mirror with a video or audio recorder. A useful Aristotle quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Remember, our goal is to strive to be who we are. As we allow a conscious loving breath, stand in Stature and practice our technique, the work integrates all of who we are in everything we do.
Related: 6 Ways to Improve Your Conversations