A voice can tell a thousand stories and I’m not talking about the words you use in speech.
I’m talking about the wealth of information your voice tells the world about your experiences, upbringing, education, cultural influence, self-belief system, adventures, heart break, trauma, unrequited love, social conditioning, enthusiasm…
Spilling your inner secrets
The voice is a sticky instrument. It has picked up and imprinted every second of your life, the good, the bad and the ugly. In effect, your voice is leading you into the room and telling everyone everything about you. Stories you have no idea are being told because they are the parts of your life that you would prefer to forget. Usually the listener will not be able to articulate the story, but they will generally respond with, “somethings not right” about that person or story.
When tailoring a program to a client, I must first diagnose their voice by watching and listening to the technical aspects of their physical and verbal language, vocal quality and nuances. This provides a clear and concise blueprint for the physical voice. To any skilled vocal coach, these characteristics are used to ascertain the balance and well-being of the client’s voice.
After 20+ years of implementing this routine in my vocal practice, I started picking up additional information about my clients. Information that would allow me to immediately understand the root of their concerns and issues surrounding their voice.
Listening beyond the words
When I listen to a client’s story, seeking the technical aspects, I am also listening with my intuition, while tapping into their emotional state. At first it was subtle and difficult for me to understand that I was getting flashes of someone else’s feelings. Sometimes the information would come in the form of a picture, other times I would hear something in my mind, but in most cases, I feel the sympathetic vibration of their voice inside my body.
I begin to get a picture of their lives with specific details about their childhood traumas, deep personal loss or the current state of their relationships. This does not that mean that I am psychic or that I am having visions. It does not feel spooky and I know that the feeling is not coming from my emotional state. In fact, if feels real and authentic, as if these stories are based on experience rather than logic and are just as important as the technical aspects of the voice.
As these feelings and diagnoses became stronger, I realised I was navigating my client’s life journey in minutes. I can tell if someone is depressed or anxious because their emotions come over me, as if I were experiencing them myself, but I remain distant enough that I don’t feel trapped. It allows me to briefly step into my client’s thoughts and emotions, helping me to understand and have great compassion for their circumstances.
Getting to the bottom of the voice
You might feel uncomfortable if I were poking around in your home while you’re not there and I would too. At first, I was resistant to share this information with my clients, then I realised that this was valuable awareness for my clients. As I disclosed what I was experiencing, my clients would ask me how I could discover and then articulate something so intimate about their lives by just listening to their voice.
I remember, a lady who came to me because she was frustrated with her speaking performance. Sometimes when she spoke, the audience loved her and sometimes they were not engaged at all. She was a lovely middle-aged woman, who was a professional high performer with a huge profile working with a multinational company. At the beginning of our training together, after 30 minutes of speaking, I was taken aback. I felt a heavy clutching sensation under my chin, pulling right up behind my ears. “Oh my gosh. I feel like I am choking”, I said, surprised at my sudden response to her conversation. The woman stared at me for a long moment, during which I knew and was horrified at what I had tapped into. “How do you know?” she asked. As it turned out, in a fit of rage, at the age of 6, her brother had strangled her until she was unconscious.
This ability to sense my client’s interior world through the voice has only deepened for me as I have studied meditation and practiced an Ayurvedic way of life. It’s as if I can peer into a tunnel, glimpsing a client’s experiences from a very young age.
This intuitive ability allowed me to identify that she was not in a good emotional state when she went on that stage. Her voice was telling stories she did not want told, leaving the audience feeling lost, uncomfortable and wondering why they felt agitated.
Every time I start working with a new client, it is an incredibly intense experience, and It creates a profound bond for both of us. I also enter a state similar to when I meditate. My thoughts disappear, my mind becomes silent and everything is completely still. Once I start to sense the emotions or memories of a patient, I feel immersed in the same serenity that washes over me during my meditations.
So, does your voice have something to say?
LEAD WITH PURPOSE.