Inflection Schmection

Has anyone ever told you that your voice is monotone?  Have people asked you to add violin-924349-normalmore variation to your pitch?

We can address others’ cravings for a more varied pitch in two ways: we can take the “Outside-In” path or the “Inside-Out” path.  I’m a fan of the Inside-Out approach for just about everyone.  It’s almost always worked better for me as an actor, teacher, director and speaking coach.

Whenever I hear Leaders and speakers talking about things like “pitch” and “tonality” it fogs up my brain a little bit. While I’m not entirely sure why non-actors are directing other non-actors using the “outside-in” approach, I suspect it’s because they only know how to talk about what they see, and not how to create those end results.

The problem is, it doesn’t work very well because it’s a bit like a $29 violin purchased on eBay telling a Stradivarius how to play.  While most non-actors haven’t spent 10,000 hours training to play like Yo-Yo Ma, each of us was born a unique, priceless Stradivarius.  While you may not have accessed your inner Stradivarius in a while, it can still make beautiful music – if you know how to use it.

Here are some helpful tips for taking the “Inside-Out” approach for Leaders and speakers.

Muscle is Overrated
First, release the Soul Suckers.  In this case they might be telling you that your voice is boring or that you are uninteresting.  They’re telling you that you need to WORK HARD to vary the pitch and access more of your vocal range or you’ll lose people.  You are not boring.  You are engaging.  And the way to reveal how engaging you are to the world is less muscle and more breath-infused freedom.

Use Your Compass
Next, root in a Sense of Purpose. What is important to you about your topic? What do you want for your listeners? What values are you honoring with this speech?
 Answering these questions sets your inner compass to your true north.

Envision the Journey
In your dream version, where will your audience start out emotionally and where will they be by the end?  What are the takeaways you’re giving them? (What do you want audience to know, experience or be capable of when you finish?) What is the emotional ride you want to create for your audience?

Prepare Yourself for the Terrain
Take a page out of the acting handbook and warm up your instrument prior to speaking.

– Stretch: Focus on all of the muscles along the sides of your rib-cage and those in your neck.
– Breathe: Inhale that deep, Nourishing breath while fluttering your lips or trilling your tongue.
– Play: Do some “elevators” while continuing to trill your tongue.  As you make sound, go from the bottom of your range up to the top and then back down multiple times.  Explore the possibilities of your range.  Have fun.  This will prepare your instrument to make the sounds that are called for and arise from within you in the moment later when you speak.

Take Them on the Dream Ride
Now, take your listeners on the dream-ride you envisioned.  Breathe that deep, Nourishing breath to support your voice throughout your talk.  As you do, you will access a far greater variety of pitches, tones and timbres than if you try to muscle your way to variety.

Listen to their non-verbal half of the conversation and respond to what they’re giving you in the moment during the speech.  Follow a creative urge … notice your impact … Repeat.  As you do this, you will automatically access the aspects of your range of pitches and tempos that are called for in the moment – those you cannot access with any amount of pre-planning.

The key to creating your dream-ride with your voice lies in taking the natural route, speaking as you probably do when connected to your closest friends, while breathing to adapt and amplify that natural expression to a crowd.

With passion & love,
Lauri

Want to start accessing your hidden Stradivarius?  Schedule a Breathe Deep & Breakthrough Session session with me.   I can help.

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