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Updated: Aug 17, 2022

Over the past several years, there has been a burgeoning field of voice professionals and entrepreneurs offering a variety of services and many use the moniker of voice coach, myself included.

They may also use job titles like public speaking coach, singing specialist, voice teacher, voice therapist, speech language pathologist...the list goes on. When you’ve just begun your search for a voice coach, it can be a confusing landscape.

As an advocate for the voice profession at large, I believe that finding the right fit for your specific needs and learning style are key to getting you where you want to be with your voice. So how do you know what kind of voice coach is right for you?

One question I always recommend asking in your quest of finding that person you’re potentially entrusting your voice with is:

“What is your definition of voice coaching? And what does a voice coaching session with you look like?”

Here is my answer to those questions:

Voice coaching is voice education.

Understanding how the voice works gives us insight into what parameters are within our control, and what the boundaries of our work might be. We will learn some key terms regarding vocal function, and look at potential obstacles to our voices feeling good and functioning well.

How deeply I dive into this information depends on the particular client, their interests, and goals. Knowing at least the basics of voice mechanics and understanding what affects your voice and how can be incredibly empowering information to uncover.

Voice coaching can be process or project focused, or a little bit of both.

One-to-one coaching sessions are adaptable although they tend to be most effective if you are highly motivated toward a particular vocal goal or preparing for a big speech or performance.

Like with any change or shift we are looking to make, consistent and focused effort, and patience with the process is going to be what moves the needle forward over time.

Voice coaching provides practices for voice care and well-being.

Our voices are part of all aspects of us: our bodies, intellect, emotions, identities, relationships, spirituality. How do we care for our voices holistically so that we are supporting our communication and self-expression?

I offer voice care practices as part of each session that focus on nervous system support, relaxing and soothing muscle tension and vocal strain, and building your personalized vocal warm-up.

Voice coaching provides speaking and sounding practices catered toward your needs and goals.

This is the heart of what we will do together. In each voice coaching session, about forty minutes of our time together will be spent doing hands-on (or I guess voice-on in this case) exercises that directly relate to your goals and challenges.

Some common things that clients come to me with that could be addressed with these exercises.

  • I can’t focus when I’m speaking

  • My voice feels strained or tight

  • I want to feel more comfortable with my voice

  • I have a speech coming up and I am nervous

  • I’ve always wanted to explore my singing voice

  • I don’t like the way I sound, but really want to

  • My voice gets tired easily

Voice coaching provides direct and compassionate feedback and guidance for your voice journey.

When trusting someone with your voice, how you get along is such an important consideration as this person will be giving you feedback on your voice, whether it’s directly delivered or not.

For many of us the thought of someone observing and listening to our voice immediately makes our heart start pumping faster and gives us the urge to high-tail it in the opposite direction. And for good reasons! I have been told countless stories by friends and clients about times they received negative comments about their voices that stuck with them, shaped how they view their voice, and oftentimes how they do or don’t feel comfortable using it. (I'm looking at you, all you "I can't sing." folks)

Knowing this:

  • I encourage an environment where we can work with our voices in curious and compassionate ways.

  • I will share observations about your voice while also giving opportunities to share your perspective and feedback about the experience.

  • I am experienced with working with people's voices, and believe that evenso you will always be the expert on your own voice.

Voice coaching provides a place to stretch your voice skills, expressive capacity, and explore your vocal potential.

I created Heartspark Voice as a platform to provide voice education, resources, and learning opportunities for people in search of answers regarding their voice.

I am continually adding new content and resources to my website and instruction, and also take requests if there is a particular voice-related topic you’re curious about.

Interested in trying out voice coaching with me?

Schedule your first session here.

Not quite ready to dive in, but eager to find out more? Come to one of my monthly Q&A + Vocal Warm-ups. It's totally free and you can sign up here.

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Updated: Aug 17, 2022

I get it. When you’re pressed for time and need to meet a deadline, the delivery of what you’re saying and how your voice sounds and feels may not make it to the top of your to-do list.

That’s why I’m sharing my favorite tricks for quickly putting those polished touches on your next big presentation or speech.

(As a voice coach and someone who has devoted their career to studying the voice, I’ll always be an advocate for doing a deep dive into voicework if you have the resources and time, but these ideas will carry you through and enhance your ideas in a pinch!)

1. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-timed...pause. (That wasn't one of them!)

Especially when nerves are spiking, we all tend to rush through our words and talking points. If you notice yourself slipping into this, find key places between your ideas to pause for a moment. This will give you time to take a breath, notice the room and give your audience a hot moment to process and think about the content.

Rushing can also be a sign your nervous system could use some support, and you may benefit from finding actions and activities that bring you back to a more centered and settled feeling. This could include external orientation exercises, humming, bilateral movement such as swinging the arms, or taking a break and doing something that fills your cup and brings you joy. (A different kind of pause–and equally beneficial for the voice!)

2. Engage your senses as you speak.

Part of what makes a compelling storyteller is how they seem to infuse the words with their own authentic feelings and meaning. One way to begin to capture this quality for yourself is to imagine the sensory details of the people, places, and things you are talking about as you speak. You don't have to overdo it or make it overly dramatic. If you are going on the journey of your story, paying attention to the experience and allowing it to affect you, the listener will have the opportunity to experience it along with you.

3. Are you using technical jargon, company names, or talking about complex subject matter? Slow down these words and sections.

Complicated words and ideas take longer for us to hear and digest, so don’t be afraid to slow these items down as you speak. Repeat them if necessary, especially if you want your audience to remember them. Lean into your consonants on these words, so that each one is clear and understandable.

4. Variety is your friend.

Change is intriguing to our brains and it can go a long way in holding your audience’s attention. Find subtle ways to vary the tempo, pitch, and volume of your delivery. Less is more here and a little goes a long way.

5. Warm up before you speak.

Speaking is not solely an intellectual skill–we sometimes gloss over the fact that it is a complex motor skill. Your voice is created by the intricate coordination of multiple systems and dozens of muscles in your body. Even a few short minutes of using your voice and body in focused and energetic ways will make a huge difference in how this coordination plays out and thus how your voice sounds, feels, and functions while you're delievering your important ideas and content.

Not sure what to do to warm up your voice before you speak? Then come get some ideas and join for our monthly Q&A + Vocal Warm-up. I’ll answer all your questions about voice coaching and lead you through a 15-minute Vocal Warm-up that will give you some ideas to add to your own pre-speech routine.

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