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Positive Voice Blog

A Simpler Way to Reduce Your Accent

Posted on Friday, September 02, 2016 by Positivevoice

For sometime now, i have intended to provide an alternative to face-to-face or skype lessons in accent reduction. My 6 month one-to-one course in accent reduction has proved a great success. Yet, i can't help thinking that i could work more effectively in order to help more people to improve their speech. To this end, i am creating a course that has been long awaited by many. A digital course in accent reduction. This does not replace one-to-one lessons, but can be taken as an alternative or alongside Skype lessons. I am now in the final editing phase and intend to launch the programme in the next two weeks.

This course is for anyone who would like to transform their accent or speak in a more polished manner. It is for both native speakers and those learning English as a foreign or second language. In addition to covering the 44 sounds presented in the international phonetic index, i also cover vocal projection, resonace, warm up exercises and mindset. Anyone who has taken Skype lessons with me, will be familiar with the course style and delivery. Having said this, almost all the content is new.

I am currently releasing sneak previews of the course via YouTube. Here is one such video:



How to Be The Best Version of Yourself

Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2016 by Positivevoice

A few years ago, i went through a period of deep self reflection. My goal was to discover what made the greatest difference in terms of my ability to be inspired, happy and productive. In short, i was interested in finding out how i could spend as much time as possible in a state of peak performance. I studied various areas of my life over a month or more. I looked at the following activities:

Diet, sleep, personal development, time with friends, time with family, relationship, exercise, relaxation. At the end of all of this, the factor that consistently made the most difference was the duration and quality of my sleep. I was almost disappointed; i had hoped that i would find something more ground breaking. However, i did recognise that whilst sleep was integral, i could achieve greater things still if i slept well and ALSO managed to fit in exercise, eat lots of fresh and healthy food, read something inspiring by a personal development author or have some fun! So you see, sleep for me is the basic necessity. In fact, i could add to that: sleeping well, eating well and taking a little (not too much) exercise formed a great foundation and anything more served to take me to greater heights. If i removed the sleep, everything fell apart, regardless of what else i did. As you may know, i have a little girl, who is almost 3 years old now; her name is Lola. She has always struggled with sleep; not wanting to go to sleep in the first place and then waking up during the night. Things are starting to improve now (thank goodness). When she doesn't sleep well, like me, and perhaps everyone, she is not in the best humour. I recently decided that this had to stop and that i would make a relaxation audio for her. I had used hypnotherapy and positive suggestion with her at bedtime before (to encourage her to stop breastfeeding, for example), so i knew that this could work. So, Lola was my inspiration for this blog and the subsequent hypnotherapy audio that i have made for you! This audio is my gift for you. It is suitable for anyone who needs help getting to sleep or who would like to sleep more deeply or for longer. You can listen to this audio as often as you want, but you will probably find that 2 or 3 times is sufficient. Make sure you are somewhere quiet where you can relax fully- your bed, a comfortable chair with a head rest or sofa would be ideal; make sure you are sufficiently propped up, so that you are not lying flat, however, as the goal is to relax rather than fall asleep.


Accent Reduction: My Most Powerful Lesson Yet

Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 by Positivevoice

My YouTube videos on vocal warm ups have over 50,000 views. Whilst this is one of the best ways to shift your resonance and thus reduce your accent, it is not the only important method that needs to be practiced. One of the greatest contributors to success, when it comes to successfully reducing an accent, is a positive mindset.

You may be wondering how you can possibly achieve this or indeed whether you really need to. Last week, I uploaded a full length hypnotherapy audio to YouTube. This is an audio that i recorded in a studio a few years ago to be shared exclusively with followers of my 12 week course in accent reduction. Last week, i decided that it was time to spread the word about the benefits of hypnotherapy and positive mindset when it comes to making big changes like reducing your accent. This is an area that is hugely overlooked by many. We are often told to be positive, but rarely given the tools to achieve this. Please do set aside 50 minutes to lie back and go through this incredibly relaxing purpose.

The main problem encountered by people looking to reduce their accent is that there is a huge emotional connection with the voice. Emotions often surface when we are speaking, which can be felt by the speaker (often manifesting in a dry, tight throat) and heard by the listeners. As English is a language which utilises the throat more than most other languages this can make speaking English and being understood even more challenging.

So, here it is; my solution to this pressing problem; a full length hypnotherapy audio:

Some wise words from Milton Erickson:



Should you Pronounce t sounds?

Posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2016 by Positivevoice

Increasingly, British people tend to leave off 't's, particularly at the end of words. Should you do the same?

The choice is entirely up to you.

My recent YouTube video may help you to make this choice:

If you struggle to pronounce t's at the end of words, it may be because your focus is too much on the front of your mouth. A great exercise is to imagine that the back of your mouth is a big, open cave. If you do this at regular intervals throughout the day, your voice will start to resonate more in this area of the mouth. For more warm up exercises, watch this YouTube video:



Are You a Woman Working in a MAN'S WORLD ?

Posted on Saturday, July 02, 2016 by Positivevoice

This concept of working in, what is conceived to be, a ‘man’s world’ seems to be on the minds of many of my clients at the moment. I have coached women on voice, communication style and mindset. Yet, again and again, the one thing that changes everything is confidence. This doesn’t mean that inequality is all in your mind, but it does mean that changing the way that you think and feel about it can completely transform your situation.

 

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

William Shakespeare

Are Your Beliefs a Reflection of YOUR reality?

The best way to change your mind about something is to confront your current beliefs. You can either make a mental list or take out a pen and paper (whichever works best for you) and then follow these steps:

1.       Think of something that is holding you back in your work life: For example: ‘I don’t feel confident at work’, ‘I feel inadequate’, ‘I’m not good at my job’

2.       Make a list of your beliefs around your current, undesirable situation- include positive and negative beliefs

3.       Next to each belief (positive and negative), give some solid evidence that this is true

4.       Next to each negative belief, highlight something that disproves it- perhaps you recently won a new project or received good feedback at work.

5.       Finally, remember why you were hired in the first place; someone believed in you. Who was this?

What do these answers say about you right now? (Remember that you are not your behaviour, these answers are just a reflection of your current strategies)

Now

1.       Look at the people around you at work. Do you respect them? Would you like to be like them? Are they good people?

2.       Do you respect yourself? Are you happy being you? Are you a good person?

This blog isn’t about them, it’s about YOU.

If you respect them, but not yourself or feel any unhappiness around being YOU; ask yourself this; who am I when I’m at my best? (What am I doing? Who am I with? How do people see me?) How can you be this person more of the time?

For a moment, see this person who challenges you as your greatest teacher. They may be showing you not just how to behave, but how NOT to behave. Anyone or anything that challenges you, can only serve to make you stronger.

You always have a choice, you can become the victim of your situation or you can take responsibility for your life. You will know when you are acting the role of victim because you will feel a sense of weakness and loss of control. When you rise to challenges and take positive actions to improve your situation, you will feel a sense of inner strength and empowerment.

You always have a choice; either stay in your current situation and change the way you think and feel about it, so that you can find happiness and empowerment there, or move on to greener pastures. Whatever you decide, make the more empowering of the two choices.

Remember that you can't change others, but you always have the power to change yourself. Something amazing will happen when you change the way you look at, and feel about, your situation. Some people call this 'confidence', others call it 'being positive', 'strong minded' or 'thick skinned'; it doesn't matter what you call it, only that you do it NOW.

      



How to become more Positive and Productive

Posted on Friday, June 03, 2016 by Positivevoice

  

Self-love = positivity, productivity and action


You are a gift to the world. A fabulous, unique and truly beautiful being. How would your life be if you considered yourself in this way, whole-heartedly every single day?

In today’s world, some days can feel like there’s a constant internal battle over your priorities Never-ending to-do lists, juggling work and family life, friends and housework, that taking out time for ourselves ends up right at the bottom of our ever-increasing to-do lists. In fact, at times we tend to be so far down on our priority list that we very easily forget about ourselves all together!

If regaining balance, calmness and peace in your life is what you’re after then Reiki is a wonderful and highly effective way to do this. For those unfamiliar to Reiki, Reiki is a natural healing technique which assists in removing blockages from our bodies. Blockages occur due to a wide range of physical, emotional and mental stresses which can in turn manifest in physical symptoms, effecting how we feel, think and behave. Reiki naturally brings you into a state of deep relaxation, promoting grounding, balance and a release of stress, anxieties and tension. This mental balance enhances memory, mental clarity and enables you to let go of negative thoughts, patterns and behaviours, replacing them with positivity, peace and serenity.

In addition to being a huge advocate of Reiki, making yourself a priority is another essential. There is only one you and only you have the ability to change your life by making this one simple change: LOVE YOURSELF. When you do this, you are able to function from a place of positivity. Positivity is such a beautiful energy that it will naturally enable you to be much more productive and better equipped to take action. In fact, your ability to carry out tasks may actually increase with this one simple, essential change.

                                              Self-love = positivity, productivity and action

Here are my four beautiful steps to self- love!

1) Create a daily “me-time” ritual:
It’s so easy to think we just don’t have the time, but now is the time to make yourself your own priority. Do something, anything, even if it’s just a short daily burst that provides you with that feeling of happiness or self-nurturing. This could be as simple as taking a long candlelit soak with a favourite novel, buying yourself flowers, going for a walk in your favourite park or simply curling up with a good book. It doesn’t matter what you do, be sure to take time out daily to do something just for you.

2) Nurture your hobbies and talents:
This is so important to our overall well-being. It’s crucial to nurture and practice the things that we love and are good at. Be your own best friend and motivate and inspire yourself as you would do for a friend. Go and sign yourself up for those dance classes! Whether it’s painting, knitting, singing or baking! Whatever you love, nurture and respect your talent.

3) Make a list of ten things (or more!) that you love about yourself daily:
So often we’re everso quick to be self-critical and think about our negatives. When did you last stop to think, “I love my hair!” “I’ve got great legs!” This list is all about finding ten things about YOU that you LOVE! Doing this daily will work wonders on creating a magical, loving shift within you. Go get writing!



4) Meditate:
For true self-love this one is crucial. We have so many thoughts, worries and to-do lists in our minds. Meditation gives you the chance to slow down these thoughts and tap in to what is most important for YOU! Even if it’s just for a few minutes, make sure to set aside some time to focus and clear your mind. Meditation will enable you to discard any negatives in to the ether and amplify the positives.


When you make yourself a priority and fill your soul with abundant self-love, you’ll find yourself exuding a beautiful radiant energy that will have you feeling ready to take on the world!


By Shaylini Somani
Qualified Reiki Practitioner, Columnist and Feature writer, Holistic Health and Well-being Coach
www.thesacredself.co.uk

Shaylini is a professional Reiki Master and the inspiring creator of The Sacred Self. She provides Reiki healing to help experience freedom from emotional, mental and physical imbalances. Through her heart-centred approach, she provides a unique experience of deep healing which will enable you to let go of what doesn’t serve you, align you to your true potential and help you achieve ultimate inner peace and abundant self-love. The Sacred Self has been created to help you feel nurtured, inspired, balanced, free and most importantly happy. Through Shaylini’s techniques you will naturally experience an alchemical shift in energy leading to peace, joy and freedom. Shaylini leads her healing with a compassionate and heart-centred approach to bring clarity of mind, balance of body, healing of the soul, and nurturing of our Sacred Self. To find out more please visit:
www.thesacredself.co.uk.


How to Speak Naturally in Front of a Camera: 7 Simple Steps

Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2016 by Positivevoice

Today's topic is preparation. Ever heard the saying 'If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail'? Well,  it is a little like that. Only, i believe that when it comes to speaking, it is not a great idea to OVER prepare either, as you can end up sounding wooden and unnatural. The 7 tips outlined in this video should put you in a good position to speak naturally with confidence without forcing you to memorise every word or speak from an autocue. Both obviously have their merits in terms of methodology, but the tips i share in my video will give you a more natural result, which is our objective here.



How to Reduce Your Accent More Quickly: My 2 Top Tips

Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 by Positivevoice


Of course, some people naturally acquire a  British accent, whilst others have to work at it. As you may know, I teach a 3 month course in accent reduction. Of all the things I teach, I find that there are two things that consistently get massive results. If you would like to know what these are, please do read on.

Both of my top tips are actually available online and have been used by many people who I have never met.

 

1.       Resonance:

This is top of the list. Once your voice resonates in the same way as a native speaker of English, even the odd pronunciation mistake won’t pose too many problems. After all, plenty of native English speakers mispronounce words, yet they still manage to sound English. The best way to improve your resonance is to study my warm up exercises on YouTube. I’m constantly adding to my repertoire in order to help my students in the best way possible, so despite being incomplete, what you find here is an excellent place to start: Video

 

As an aside, I’ve taken a little break from Youtube over the last year whilst looking after baby number 2. Now that he is 8 months old, I have decided that it is time to make and post more videos J Look out for these in the coming weeks.

 

2.       Change the voice in your head:

One day, a lovely man, who I have never met, called me from Poland, especially, to share this secret with me. Despite being Polish, his English accent was near perfect and all he had done was to purchase an audio book and the physical book with the same title and to read and listen at the same time. Of course, I had to try it myself. Within weeks, my French boyfriend told me that my French had improved in every way! (both in terms of grammar and Pronunciation).

This is one of the exercises that I give the students on my 12 week course. They either use a novel, the ‘How Now Brown Cow’ pronunciation book or the Economist (All that is essential is that you have the text in both audio and written form). Take a paragraph and read and listen to it simultaneously several times and then set about recording yourself reading the text. My clients’ ability to complete this exercise with few or little faults visibly increases over the weeks.

 

So, if you aim to reduce your accent, here is your homework!

 

 

 



 

      

 


 

      

 



How to Acheive Your Goals in 2016

Posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 by Positivevoice

As 2015 draws to a close, now is the time to decide how you can make 2016 your best year yet. A lot of people talk about new years resolutions, but few seem to keep them, so lets focus on goals instead!

First of all, you need to decide what you would like to achieve. For instance, you may want to learn something new or give something up. A better way of achieving the latter, is to put it in the positive sense. Rather than saying, 'i would like to give up chocolate', how about replacing this with 'I will become healthier'. The next step, would be to create a realistic plan, detailing how and when you will do this. For instance, you may decide to only eat chocolate every other month.

Try this step by step process:

1. What do you want to achieve? (in the positive)

2. When do you want to achieve it by?

3. How will you do this?

4. What will you gain from achieving this?

5. What will you lose?

If something comes up for number 5 (Notice any negative emotions here), you may need to do some more work on this. Assuming there is no great loss and that you feel positive about your goal, the next step is:

6. Imagine you have achieved your goal and notice how you feel. How will achieving this goal transform your life. At this point, you may think of some additional steps that need to be added to point 3.

Personally, i like to write down my goals and to create a to do list of steps, including dates. For me, this makes it all more tangible. The key, as always, is to notice any negative emotions that come up and to amend the plan, accordingly. A great example of this is a new business idea that i have. As i have a 3 month old baby, i have to be really careful when setting a realistic timeframe. Another thing to remember is that what is unrealistic for some may be totally realistic for you.

Now for the final step:

7. Share your goal with someone close to you who you trust and respect. This final step is very important, as this person will be waiting to see this achievement!

 



How to Present Yourself with Confidence Via Video

Posted on Friday, November 27, 2015 by Positivevoice

People often come to me to learn how to communicate more confidently. Everyone has a different agenda; for some this could mean learning to say what they mean with their partner, family or colleagues, for others it is all about reducing their accent and learning to speak with clarity and confidence. Occasionally, I am asked how to present via video and this is something I take great pleasure in sharing.

 

I love working on this last one because I know how difficult it was for me to start with! To be honest, some of my early videos could do with being deleted J

 

After years of practice, I can now just be myself on video and speak freely without needing to over prepare or practice. So, how did I manage to achieve this?

 

Effective preparation is key here. I ALWAYS ask myself a few questions before starting:

 

  1. What is my topic?
  2. Who is my audience?
  3. What are my objectives?

 

If you consider this blog, for instance, the answers to the above questions would be as follows:

 

  1. The title says it ALL
  2. People who want to learn to make videos without over preparing and to appear natural
  3. To enable my listeners to present themselves authentically via video

 

Here is how to do it:

 

  1. Brainstorm your idea; make a few notes if this works for you
  2. Once you know exactly what you want to say, create a mind map. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, or need to upgrade your skills here, check out:http://www.tonybuzan.com/about/mind-mapping/. Make sure you use as few words as possible and lots of pictures and different colours to make it memorable (images are easier to remember).
  3. Spend some time looking at your mind map. Look at it, taking in the entire presentation as a whole and then look away. Do this several times until you can ‘see’ the whole presentation in your minds eye.
  4. The very most important tip is to forget that you are speaking to a camera and to imagine that you are speaking to your target audience; have one specific person or group of people in mind, if it helps.

 

To start with, you may find that it takes a few attempts, but when practiced regularly, this process will enable you to make authentic videos of you being yourself whilst presenting your message clearly and concisely. 

 

Here is an example of me doing just that!




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