Monday, March 16, 2009

Why you can’t find your voice as a public speaker

One of the greatest struggles faced by people in the field of public speaking is what many call “finding your voice”. Some people, after years of seeming success complain that they can get the job done but still haven’t found their voice. The reason this voice is so difficult to find is that it doesn’t exist, or rather, there is no one voice, there are many. To get to the level of comfort where you can speak effectively in a style that is distinctly your own, you don’t need to figure out a hook - you need to hear voices.


 Fortunately this specific instance of hearing voices involves neither spiritual communion nor psychological fragmentation just a simple recognition of certain things that you already know. Each person is made up of many voices, many moods, and many methods of communication. We have one way we speak to our children when we tell them to go to bed, another voice when we are trying to talk our way out of a speeding ticket and yet another when we are trying to scare away a bear who has arrived at our campsite. These voices all are part of who you are. You don’t have to transform into another person to frighten a bear, you just to bring out one of your many voices.


  If we have such specific voices for all these situations, why is there not one for public speaking? The answer is that public speaking involves far more than just a single situation or mood. It involves many different audiences, in different settings, under differing circumstances and no one voice can effectively deal with all of them. There are many moods that have to be entered into, many situations to be considered. Sometimes, the best possible approach could be a forceful one and at another time a softer, more self-effacing manner will bring your audience onside. This need for multiplicity does not mean you should “just be yourself” or learn tricks to manipulate a crowd. What it means is that you should observe and identify your own characteristics, moods, and manners when speaking and then learn how to use and adapt them to achieve the most positive results in varying situations.


  Learning to understand who you are as a character is an interesting and rewarding exercise that I will discuss in upcoming postings. I would also love to hear any insights you have regarding finding your voice:


 * how you achieved it

 * why you think you never will

 * anything you think people should or shouldn’t do to help the process


All fine things ……. Christopher


1 comment:

  1. This is just a thought that occurred to me while reading this post: I found that going through the voice exercises in the Toastmasters pamphlet 'Your Speaking Voice' was very helpful to me, especially just before giving a speech which included some singing. It is included in the package for new members. My courage was enhanced by doing this.


I welcome your comments and questions.

Site Meter Digg!