Most people don’t like the sound of their voice. True story. When we hear our respective voices on the 4AM Report, sometimes we find them cringe-worthy. But, like our guest Joy Juckes says, “if we don’t know how we sound, we’re not in charge of the connections we’re making.” She’s a voice and speech specialist and the founder of ‘The World of Voice’, and she believes your voice is a powerful tool.
Especially now, when we’re not able to see body language because we’re working online, over Zoom, giving webinars, making presentations, in team meetings, or doing sales calls or podcasts.
“I think most people will pay attention to what their hair looks like, what their face looks like what they’re wearing, but they don’t pay any attention to their voice.”
Joy knows how to use her voice effectively, which is why you need to 👂👂 to this episode rather than just reading about it. She’s been a child actor, a performer, a singer and, with her Masters in both Acting and Voice, has been sharing her skills through one-on-one voice coaching for the past 22 years.
For the first time, she’s brought her expertise online, founding ‘The World of Voice’ online campus and its flagship course: Mastering Your General American Dialect. This 18-episode course targets people who learn in different ways. It’s a reality TV-inspired course where clients from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and languages, at different stages in their learning, do the course (live!) with Joy. The audience gets to follow and identify with real people going through the learning process. And practice the steps with a workbook and targeted exercises they can follow.
Here’s some of the key learnings from the course (and yes, we’re listed as adult content so we can get away with the naughty words🤬):
🔥Warm up and project less!
“One of the things we can all practice is warming up the sound of our voice. These days on Zoom, a lot of people are using a very projected voice. So, they’re talking to each other 📢📢LIKE THIS. The first thing I teach my new clients is to bring the audience closer. So, we’re in a warmer frame, and the sound of our voice is more engaging, and less projected.”
☸Breathe and use your core for support
“Most of us take a breath and hold it when we get nervous. So, we start by really countering this habit. And one of the simplest things you can do is just to let go the whole breath, just blow it out. Another ideal way is to laugh with your lips together. If you try and laugh as long as you can without any sound, you will get those core muscles going. When you let go of it, you hear this (sound). That’s heart sound.”
💕Use targeted resonance
“Numerous studies have been done on the tone of voice that gets us what we want. I like to talk about the difference between head and chest, using the voice in a way that lands where you want it to land. So, if I’m calling across a distance, and I want somebody to hear my voice, I’m going to use a sharp voice “Hey, you”. But if I want to bring them closer, and share something with them, I’m going to use heart sound, I’m going to use the resonance that is heart to heart. This is physical, I’m using vibration to connect to you.”
💃Master rhythm and pacing to make sure you’re being understood
Different cultures have different rhythms and pacing. Some people speak on a rhythm that is too fast for us to engage, it’s just a lot of sound coming at you. So, for example, if I say my name Joy Juckes (said quickly in one beat), nobody understands it. They would say, Julie, Joni…they just weren’t getting it. So, I realized I need to use rhythm and pacing that lands. So now I say, Joy, Juckes (slowly and with confidence). And after people have heard it, it lands, they can repeat it. But if I say it too quickly, and on one beat, Joy Juckes, it’s not enough for them to get it, there is doubt about what I’ve said.”
!!Making use of the f*ck muscle🤬
“One of the biggest muscles that assists us in sound, and really changes the way we sound, is called the transversus abdominis. This is like a weightlifter’s muscle; it squeezes and contracts. And the best way to find it is by blowing hard on an F sound. And blow all the air out as hard as you can, as if you’re blowing a little ship across the floor.”
Now for a little story to illustrate how to find and make use of the f*ck muscle:
“When my son was young, we were having an argument and I said, Look, I’m the mother. I decide. That’s the rule. And he turned around and went FFF. I went: Excuse me! He replied: I didn’t say it. I said you didn’t have to. I felt it!
There is just something about the word: Fff***ccckk. In any language. You can say it in pleasure. You can laugh, you can play, you can say it in anger, you can say it 100 different ways.
It exposes something about what we’re feeling. And that muscle, the transversus abdominus is a biggie to communicate a whole lot about what we want, about what we feel. And so yes, I fondly call it a f*ck muscle.”
Don’t you just love her?! Joy is seriously talented and brings heaps of personality to her show. I don’t think you can really capture her Canadian impersonation on (digital) paper, but we’re going to try:
“Hi, my name is Joy and I bring this sound right up to my face. I like to speak through a smile. And it’s a little higher pitched. And I’m giving you the opportunity to accept what I say or not, because that’s nice.”
Whereas: “Hi, my name is Joy. And I drop that voice into the chest. It’s a very different sound. You’ve made a warmer connection already. And created a much higher status. So, if I want somebody to believe what I’m saying, instead of bringing it up to here, where it’s like, maybe this is true, maybe it isn’t, I’m not really sure. I drop it to here, where this is the truth. You can trust this. And what do you think? Now I’m going to get you to respond from heart as well.”
To really get Joy’s on-brand humour and the personal stories she brings into everything she does, listen to the episode now.
To see some of these techniques in action, get the first episode of Mastering Your General American Dialect for free, at theworldofvoice.com
You can also find out more about Joy at joyjuckes.com
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And as always, sweet dreams😴…well, hopefully!