Happy Monday Vocal Athletes!!!
Let today set the tone for the rest of your week in a positive way!
Start strong. Finish strong. If you hate Mondays, it’s probably because you didn’t take Sunday to relax and prepare or you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. Either way, you cannot avoid the start of a new week just like you cannot avoid speaking in front of a group at some point in life. So, you might as well, Change you!
If you want to be a better speaker, you have to be proactive. Great speakers are not born. They develop their craft by speaking more, speaking scared and honing their skills. If you were to hear a professional speaker tell a story of their first public speaking experience, you will hear a “shaking in my boots,” “pee my pants,” “sweating bullets,” or “opened my mouth and nothing came out” tale of nerves. Once they made it through the first experience, either they decided to get better or someone encouraged them to face their fears. Needless to say, those speakers that we love to hear have spent time getting it right.
The power of the ASK is the key to getting it right. The ASK method is the speak success blueprint for aspiring or professional speakers or voice users. It can be used in one-on-one or group speaking situations. I call professionals who use their voices to make a living vocal athletes because of the heavy speech and voice demands placed on them to earn money. Just like professional athletes train and use strategies to win games, professional speakers need to do the same to be successful!!!
My latest success is with a doctoral candidate preparing to defend her dissertation. In one session, she overcame her fear of not knowing the answers and learned how to convey her ideas with confidence. In her initial proposal, she was given a question that she didn’t know how to address. This was an anxiety inducing experience. After probing, I learned that she did have knowledge of what was asked. It was just not the answer she thought her professor wanted. She had to transition from “aiming to please” to being the subject matter expert. Once she moved from her head to her heart, the presentation and question responses sounded more powerful and confident. I was so excited for her!!!
The basis of ASK is Attitude, Skills and Knowledge.
A is your attitude. You have to do the inside work to get to the root of your fears and speaking blocks. Your attitude can be influenced or shaped by circumstances, experiences, environment, history and culture. You would have to look at 3 areas…your attitude, thoughts and beliefs about yourself, the experience and your audience.
I encounter 2 main types of speakers: hindered and refuse to be hindered. The refuse to be hindered usually are those who are speaking and want to advance so they want to enhance or preserve some aspect of their voice or diction. Then you have the hindered that fall into a subset of —The scared…some people absolutely fear standing in front of a group of people to speak. This is glossophobia or what is called stage fright. 75% of people fear speaking in public. The introverted…those who don’t like that much public attention. They are more behind the scenes people and would prefer to do solitary or small group activities. The insecure…those who want to speak but dislike their voice, tone or have a speech impediment. Once you figure out which category you’re in, it’s easier to get the tools to move forward.
S is for skills. I will say… some people naturally have voices that are easy on the ears. Then, there are those who are not so lucky. That’s okay too. You have the ability to learn, execute and master the technical aspects of speech such as breathing, projection, articulation, etc. Most people know what they like or dislike about their speech or voice. The devil is in the details of commanding those features at will. If you want to really be dynamic in any speaking situation, it is important to tap into what makes your particular voice unique and learn how to control your sound, your diction and use the power of your voice.
K is for knowledge. I like the quote, “Knowledge is power.” It is important to be aware of your body and speech mechanisms as well as your strengths and weaknesses as a speaker. It also includes awareness of resources, techniques and/ or approaches to assist you on your journey. Having access to proper information establishes a strong foundation and equips you to be successful at whatever endeavor you embark upon. If you don’t believe me, try putting together a bookshelf for the first time without following the directions and let me know how that works out. It will take longer, be lopsided or fall apart. To relate back to speaking, know why you are speaking, know you, know your content, know your audience, and know what your voice can and cannot do.
No matter the profession or job, if you use your voice to make a living you are a vocal athlete. Own it! All successful athletes have a regimen and strategy to win. It’s time to stop avoiding Mondays and speaking. They don’t go away!!! You just need a game plan.
Have an awesome week!!!
Start strong. Finish strong.