12 Tips to Help You Choose a Communication Coach

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The Three Stages of Changing a Speech and Voice Habit

HabitsYour speech and voice brand is important to who you are as a professional. When something isn’t aligned in the way that you sound and the role that you are in, you risk losing credibility and trustworthiness. If development opportunities exist, it is important to figure out how to make changes. Sometimes it is relatively easy to figure out and often only small changes are necessary to create more impact. No matter what development opportunity you struggle with, there will be three stages you go through to change a habit.

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4 Steps to Develop Your Unique Speech and Voice Brand

Your BrandIn my last blog, you discovered what a speech and voice brand is. This week I’d like to share with you how to develop your own unique and very special speech and voice brand. Just like a fingerprint, you have a unique sound. You vocal cords developed during puberty to a certain length and mass which gives you the pitch that you use. You are limited in how much you can change your optimal pitch.

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What is Voice Branding?

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As I have evolved as a speech coach over the years, it has become clearer to me that the way we sound creates perceptions and influences the audiences we encounter. You have an identity, too, based on the way you sound and the way you look. It’s a personal brand that you have available to use as a tool to market yourself, to persuade and influence and to create greater impact.

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6 Tips Help Keep Your Vocal Performance Edge While Traveling

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If you are like most people, you take for granted a well-functioning voice for your everyday needs. If, however, you are traveling to give a presentation, meet a client or run a seminar, proper vocal performance is essential. What can yo do to prevent problems?

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What is the ideal rate of speech?



Are you fast talker? If you are, you may be losing the most important person in the room: the listener! A good rate of speech ranges between 140 -160 words per minute (wpm). A rate higher than 160 words per minute can be difficult for the listener to absorb the material. There may be some areas of the country that speak at faster rates but a slower rate is preferable. Too slow of a rate may give the listener the perception of slow thinking, incompetence and being uneducated. If you have a foreign accent though, speaking slowly is crucial since pronunciation may be a challenge for the listener. Use a speed that is closer to 140 words per minute.Continue reading

Answer Questions Like a Pro: 10 Tips

Public SpeakingMany emerging leaders and even seasoned leaders find themselves presenting more to senior management teams, and communication exchanges are more high stakes and high visibility situations. This is very stressful for some clients because it requires a different level of expertise that they may or may not be familiar with. In addition to giving more presentations, there is an increased amount of responding spontaneously to questions. Being unprepared for this type of responses can be a credibility buster and career stopper! Feeling anxious and nervous about responding to questions is a common complaint. Here are some tips to help you respond intelligently and genuinely.Continue reading

A 5-Point Checklist to Increase Attentiveness of Your Audience

dreamstimelarge_43434088[1]Have you ever noticed that within minutes of listening to a presentation, you have decided if the presenter and the presentation are going to be worth listening to? For example, have you ever heard a speaker start with “uh” or say something that diminishes their credibility in the first sentence (e.g. “I don’t normally speak to groups and I’m really nervous, so bear with me.”) When I hear that, I think to myself, “uh, oh.” BUT maybe the speaker engaged you from the moment she opened her mouth with a personal anecdote or a question or a compelling quote or statistic.

The most important factor in the listener’s mind, which determines if the speaker is worth Continue reading

Thinking About Lowering Your Pitch? Wait! Read This First!

I read an article this week about Siri and the Voice Actor, Susan Bennett, who got this role for the I-Phone. What an interesting story that reveals how she got the job and how she spoke the part. Most surprising is how she read thousands of phrases and a technician patched sounds/words together to come up with new sentences. She admits that her real voice isn’t anything like her Siri voice. She spoke more flatly and used a different register to create her Siri speech samples. (Read the entire article here: Siri Speaks! Actor Susan Bennett Discusses Her Most Famous Role.)Continue reading

The Voices of the Presidents on Mt. Rushmore

MountRushmoreOn this 4th of July weekend, I was thinking about the voices at the table who were drafting the historic document that gave us our freedom. It would be so interesting and fun to hear them talk and discuss at that table. I imagine low voices—very business-like. But of course, I am just speculating based on what I know these men looked like and what they accomplished.

Since I am originally from South Dakota, I decided to look up the presidents of Mt. Rushmore to find out what we know about their voices. Continue reading

My Voice Sounds Bland and Lacks Energy–Who Should I Call to Help?

Wall Street JournalLast week, I received a request from  Sue Shellenbarger from the Wall Street Journal about a question she received from a reader in Ms. Shellenbarger’s weekly Q&A column, the Work & Family Mailbox. (How to Improve Your Public Speaking) I decided to expand upon it a little today since the caller asked a good question regarding what kind of professional  should you call to help you when you experience problems with your speech and voice?  Since there are many titles floating around out there, I’d like to give you some definitions to help you understand and navigate your options:Continue reading