Voice and speech training

How To Say Your Name

By on October 18, 2016

Just got back from a kickoff meeting for a global IT project. Thirty people were sitting around a big table. One of the leaders of the meeting said, “Let’s all introduce ourselves. Say your name and tell us some things.” Ugh. Another slog through a forest of biographical facts and resume trivia. The first guy […]

Speak up and out

By on August 9, 2016

I have recently encountered several people who have been rushed into the emergency room of voice and speech training because their vocal presence is not in optimal health. A CEO of a very successful company has a strong, expressive voice, but none of his employees or clients ever get to hear it because it is […]

What Eliza Doolittle, Margaret Thatcher, and Daisy Buchanan Can Teach You About Voice and Power

By on June 2, 2015

Does your sound determine your success? In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway is impressed when Gatsby nails the mysterious quality in Daisy’s voice: “She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked. “It’s full of——” I hesitated. “Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly. That was it. I’d never understood before. It […]

Communication skill includes words, voice, and body language

By on July 25, 2012

Here are two excerpts from an article in The New Yorker.  The article is entitled Words on Trial,  and its author is Jack Hitt.  It appears in the June 23rd, 2012 issue. The key idea is that words, by themselves, are necessary but not sufficient to create meaning.  The listener creates meaning through hearing the […]

Sims Wyeth & Co. offers Training the Speaking Voice

By on January 19, 2012

Client facing skills are the skills of a dynamic and purposeful conversationalist. The medium of conversation is the voice, and as Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message, or at least a large part of it. A speaking voice that lacks clarity and expression can undermine the success of an otherwise bright and talented […]

Develop your voice and speech

By on January 10, 2012

We all know that clay can be molded: clay can be bricks, or pots, plates or pitchers. It is a malleable substance. The body can be molded: resistance-training turns 90 pound weaklings into incredible hulks, and fatsos reveal their inner Adonis when they change their diet and exercise. Your voice and speech can also be […]

Killer voice and speech problems

By on November 21, 2011

I have recently encountered several people who have been rushed into the emergency room of voice and speech training because their vocal presence is not in optimal health. A CEO of a very successful company has a strong, expressive voice, but none of his employees or clients ever get to hear it because it is […]

Communication Skills: Consider your voice the thunder

By on November 18, 2011

A few years back The New York Giants won the Super Bowl with two running backs nicknamed Thunder and Lightning.  Thunder was Brandon Jacobs and Lightning was Ahmad Bradshaw. In the first half, Jacobs (aka Thunder, 6’ 4” ; 264) would wear down the opposition, and then, when they were tired and bruised, Bradshaw,  ( […]

Speaking Voice Training: 3 ways your voice and speech can keep you from being heard

By on August 5, 2011

In my travels through corporate America, I meet many people with voice and speech issues that undermine their credibility. Here are 3 common issues that can be corrected with voice and speech training. Not projecting A soft voice, one that is hard to hear, is a liability for any speaker.  First, you speak to get others […]

Public Speaking: 3 reasons why your voice does not do you justice

By on August 4, 2011

I can think of any childhood friend and recall the sound of his voice, and I believe we can all do the same.  Your voice is an auditory thumb print, and it gets smeared on the memory of your listeners. Yet few of us are happy with our voices.  We hear them on recordings of […]

Scientific Presentations

By on May 5, 2011

Over the last few years, I have worked to help discovery scientists within the pharmaceutical and biotech industries make persuasive scientific presentations in order to sell their ideas for new drugs to decision makers. The challenges were many.  Often, scientists had to report to their bosses in Europe via video conference.  The image projected in […]

Arthur Lessac: A great voice and speech teacher

By on April 19, 2011

Arthur Lessac, who died at the age of 101 on April 7th at his home in Los Angeles, said that the human voice was a symphony, if only we knew how to use it and listen to it. Some people are exceptional because they notice what they see.  Arthur Lessac was exceptional because he listened […]

The wonders of vehemence

By on April 14, 2011

Just back from a trip to the West Coast, where I was working with people at the top of the food chain in terms of their cognitive intelligence.  Yale, Stanford, Notre Dame–brainiacs.  My assignment?  Help them get presence! I skirted that word by simply saying that presence is hard to define, but we know it […]

The first purpose of language and presentation

By on April 13, 2011

It is widely held that man is the only creature with language.  But that may not be true. African vervet monkeys are always looking around for danger, and when they perceive a threat, they give an alarm that is specific to the threat. If it’s an eagle, they give an eagle alarm, and all the […]

Energetic Lips

By on February 15, 2011

Once again, I am the speech coach who has run into a very accomplished person who mumbles.  He’s on the fast track at a major American corporation, and his boss has gotten word that senior people can’t understand him when he presents. Receptive to help and concerned about the consequences of this life-long habit, he […]

How to stop speaking too fast during your high stakes presentation

By on February 10, 2011

We all know speaking too fast during our high stakes moments is not good, for us or our listeners.  It makes us sound nervous, disorganized and hard to understand. So what can we do in private to teach ourselves to slow down? Here’s a presentation tip,  practice the following voice and speech training techniques every […]

Movie Review: The King’s Speech

By on January 3, 2011

It begins with an agonizing silence–The Duke of York standing at a microphone in Wembley Stadium trying to bring the world’s greatest exposition to a dignified conclusion for the entire British Empire listening on the radio.  His stammering and stage fright make him unable to speak. In the historical moment, when the new medium of […]

Why you need presentation skills training

By on November 30, 2010

Most of us need training because: We are unaware. We don’t do what we want, or know how, to do. We don’t practice. We are not aware of how we come across.  We have blind spots.  Blind areas.  Our education is incomplete.  We have not read the great books on the subject of effective speech.  […]

Scientific research on communication

By on July 12, 2010

I was steered to a web video the other day by an e-mail from a friend, and found myself in a garden of presentation skills coaches (also on video), many of whom quoted research done by Dr. Albert Mehrabian of Stanford University. You may be familiar with the data, which suggests that voice and body language […]

Training the Speaking Voice

By on July 7, 2010

Some of us are born with, or acquire through experience, a voice that is tentative and evokes in others the tendency to ignore what we say. Habits such as talking too quietly, or too quickly, or going up at the ends of sentences, or sounding too breathy, or too stereotypically “blue collar”—all these, and other […]

Voice and Speech Training

By on June 14, 2010

Angela Lansbury and Cate Blanchett spoke briefly at last night’s TONY AWARDS ceremony.  They both have magnificent speaking voices. They were not alone.  Most Broadway actors have strong speaking voices.  The question is:  did they become successful because they were gifted with such speaking voices, or did they work to develop their instruments? The answer?  […]

The Perfect Pitch

By on June 7, 2010

Under the shadow of Armando Galarraga’s stolen perfect game, and umpire Jim Joyce’s human imperfection, I am moved to ponder the word pitch. In baseball, when a pitch comes at you, it is meant to either intimidate, bamboozle, or go by too fast to hit.  All pitches come with spin, except for knuckleballs, which float […]

Forever young and distrusted: The five languages young professionals need to know

By on April 28, 2010

You may be familiar with the prayer-like song that Bob Dylan wrote in which he wishes that someone, or all of us, can “stay forever young.” May you always be courageous Stand upright and be strong And may you stay… Forever young. It turns out that, while a youthful spirit can enrich our lives, young […]

Speech Training: The sound of confidence

By on April 19, 2010

Last week, I had the chance to sit through another LP meeting and hear the presentations of various managers from the same firm. I was struck by one simple thought.  A soft-spoken manager gave me cause to suspect his level of confidence and decisiveness. His colleagues who spoke before him were more senior and they […]

UPMs: The Filler Word Debate

By on April 19, 2010

Twice last week I encountered speakers with a high number of UPMs: Uhms Per Minute. I was willing to forgive one of them.  His UPMs were around 16. I wasn’t so easy on the other guy.  His UPMs were around 12, but they were more disruptive. I’m not sure why.  Let me blog out loud. […]

Presentation Skills: Your Passport to Promotion: “1, 2, 3…Poof!”

By on July 20, 2009

I had an interesting session with a new client.  Let’s call her Fiona.  She came in from the field to take a position in marketing with a major pharma, and has discovered that, at her company, your career depends largely on how you present. Amazingly, they don’t offer any developmental support for people coming into […]

Public Speaking: Toasting the Bride

By on July 1, 2009

I attended a family wedding last weekend, and the sister of the bride gave a great toast. I heard her round up her brothers as the cake was being served, saying, “Now is the time. Somebody has to say something.” They looked glum and stricken, and left their wine glasses on the table as they […]

Speech Training: Speech Disfluencies

By on August 30, 2007

Um and His Cousin Er I hate speech coaches who don’t let you say “Um!”  I listen to a lot of speakers, and a few “Uhms” don’t bother me.  They make the speaker seem normal and conversational. On the other hand,  I try not to say them myself, and I DO get annoyed when the […]

Voice Projection: The Power of Voice Tone

By on August 18, 2007

Many of us are familiar with the work of Dr. Albert Mehrabian of Stanford University, who demonstrated in his research that 85% of emotion is communicated through voice tone and body language. Many of us have read Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, who reported the work of Nalini Ambady of Tufts University, who discovered that some doctors who make […]

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