I was intrigued enough by what Dan had told us to buy his book. I devoured it in short order and read paragraphs aloud to Jay.
Could he help our family communicate more effectively? We have a loud speaker, a mumbler, a voice swallower, and Lord only knows what else.
I consider this pretty important stuff. (Think about the last time you sat through a sermon listening to someone with annoying vocal tics or a nasal whine.)
Or think: Two candidates present for a job. Equal qualifications…equally well-dressed…pleasant personalities….but one has a whiny voice. Guess who gets the job?
This book further deepened my suspicions regarding one’s vocal quality. A person’s voice can and WILL affect their life. (Have you ever met a leader with a “Piglet” voice? I didn’t think so.)
So we met with Voicedoc at my favorite coffee haunt. A warm engaging man, we took an immediate liking to him. And his voice….well, his voice is good advertising. It’s resonant and mellifluous…sort of like a white James Earl Jones.
After some chit chat we got down to the nitty gritty. We read techniques in the book but had trouble translating it into hands on. It’s hard to hear what your speaking issues are when you’ve been hearing them all your life.
Now, Dan had warned us that Voicedoc will invade your space. So we were prepared…somewhat. He took Jay’s hand and put it alongside his lips. Whoa! A reserved Montana boy holding his fingers to a stranger’s lips.
And then Voicedoc demonstrated how the sound in our mouths is held farther back when we don’t move our lips.
Yep….that sounds like my honey, I thought. Jay knows it…and I know it….his voice is just plain old hard to hear. I would joke about his ” Secret CIA” voice. But increasing volume wasn’t the answer.
“Move your lips when you speak,” Voicedoc said. He added that Jay will feel very self conscientious at first. That’s only natural….you’ve been trained to keep your voice down.
He demonstrated and yep…it was as dramatic as Dan had said.
Now it was Jay’s turn. OMG. It was like he was uncorked. I could fill my eyes fill.
Oh, now don’t call us and ask to speak to him. It’s not like he’s now a white James Earl Jones. But the difference to us was stunning.
We discussed other practical helps, posture being one of the biggest factors.
And we also discussed the etiology of speaking difficulties. The “Children should be seen and not heard” philosophy coupled with hearing “Shhhh! Not so loud!” through our childhood have many of us well trained by the time we enter adulthood to swallow our voices. And I don’t know about you but in our home “Big mouths” were regarded with great contempt and therefore reinforced our poor speaking habits.
And poor speaking habits breeds poor self esteem. The voice that lacks clarity is not one to be taken seriously. A negative feedback system sets in…and on and on it goes. (Or check this out…John Wesley’s Directions for Singing. Good gravy! How can one ever measure up?)
Things turned to the spiritual and we discussed how shame is very much a driving factor behind this. Shame is such an ugly thing but sadly, it’s how many of us were parented…and without intentionally changing our course, it is how we parents will deal with our children.
And in doing so, we shut down our kids. Literally. It’s the same ole same ole conformity message.
I know this may be a bit of leap for some but really….it has deeply touched my heart.
Hopefully, this hasn’t bored you; I know it was a bit on the lengthy side. And I have more to share about this amazing man and some of the things he taught us….but that’s for later.