Finding your voice

Not your metaphorical voice. I mean your actual voice.

It’s pretty clear to me that our speaking voice is not the result of the inevitable physical evolution of our vocal cords. It’s something our brain figured out how to do with the part of our body that keeps us alive by breathing.

And because it’s a late addition, there are a bunch of kinks in the system.

Talking while breathing is the beginning of the challenge.

But it’s also worth noting that the entire process is in the middle of a huge number of sensitive muscles and nerves. This means that when we’re talking (calling attention to ourselves) we’re also trying to keep all of that stress at bay. Add microphones, Zoom, and the high-stakes world of being seen, and you can start to understand why it’s so easy to get hoarse, to sound like someone you’re not, to develop tics, to amplify your stress, and a whole host of other challenges.

If you don’t sound like you, it might simply be because your brain is sabotaging the thing you’re trying to say. I used to riff about “no one gets talker’s block” but now I’m not so sure. I think most of us do.

If you’ve experienced any of this, I encourage you to find a good voice coach. Not because you’re some fancy keynote speaker about to go on the TED stage. Simply because you have something to say and it would be nice to be able to say it without pain. It’s easier than ever to have a few sessions remotely, and many people I know have found it life-changing. You can find someone nearby or even watch some videos to get started.

The world needs to hear from you.