Recently I worked with a wonderful young man from Qatar by means of Skype. When I first started working with him, his voice was soft-spoken and he did not exude much confidence. After a few sessions, I showed him a video clip from Superman which really opened his eyes – not only for the difference in Christopher Reeve’s voice but also in the actor’s posture and comportment.
You may remember the scene: Clark Kent enters Lois Lane’s apartment and as she goes in search of a jacket, he decides to tell her that he is Superman. He takes off his glasses, stands up straight, takes a breath – that’s right – he takes a diaphragmatic breath, and when he speaks, his voice is deeper, richer, more mature in sound. His stature is imposing.
However, Superman then changes his mind and reverts back to the ever-so-sweet, nasally character known as Clark Kent. His voice changes; his posture changes; and you no longer see that imposing super-sized man.
The reason I wanted my client, Tamim, to see this clip was because I had watched a brief video of him on stage addressing about 300 people. The person I saw on stage reminded me of Clark Kent. The man with whom I had been working on Skype, however, was now more closely akin to Superman.
Tamim immediately recognized the differences in himself. Watching the presentation he had given on stage prior to his voice training, he saw a man who did not look or sound confident. The man I worked with was one who stood with confidence and sounded like he knew what he was talking about. While Tamin had most definitely known his material in that earlier presentation, it didn’t show in how he spoke or how he carried himself.
After he discovered his ‘real’ voice, he sounded more mature and was able to increase his volume without shouting. (And I must say what a tremendous voice he has!)
He also recognized that it goes further than voice. How you stand, how you move, how you act speak volumes about your confidence and your credibility. Tamim was quick to point out, however, that the speaking voice was the foundation for everything else.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Your voice is definitely the foundation for everything which comes out of your mouth. The color – the life and the emotion you express by means of your vocal variety, body language and facial expression – is the icing.
Which character are you? Superman or Clark Kent?