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Positive Voice Blog

How to make your voice stronger and more attractive

Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 by Positivevoice

Last week, we considered whether your voice attracts or repels others. This week, i am going to focus on how to make your voice more attractive.

I clearly remember the first time i heard an audio recording of my voice, i was at primary school. I was shocked; it didn't sound at all like the voice in my head; i had a nasal voice! It took hearing my voice to motivate me to change it. It didn't help that i suffered from hayfever and asthma. It wasn't until i was at college that i managed to improve the quality of my voice and it wasn't until my mid- late 20s that i finally understood how to do so without losing my voice every time i delivered group lessons or workshops.

In the following video, i teach a series of vocal warm up exercises to improve your voice.

Here are some more precise recommendations to solve specific issues:

Nasal voice: lower your bottom jaw and hum. Move your lower jaw backwards and forwards to shift the resonance into the throat. When speaking, remember to activate the muscles in your lower jaw in order to stop the air passing too harshly over your vocal chords- in the warm up, i call this exercise 'stifling a smile'. 

A soft voice: this can be of particular concern to men. Focusing on expansion and stifling a smile will improve the instrument that is your voice. If you think about the casing of a guitar, for instance, it is hard and thus produces a strong sound. Imagine what a rubber guitar would sound like... Be careful to expand the throat and cavities at the back of the mouth rather than tensing them because tensing will mean that there is less space for the sound to resonate in.

Remember that the warm up is an exaggerated version of what is required. Just practicing the exercises before speaking will improve your voice because once you are more aware of your physiology, you will find it easier to control where the sound resonates.

Finally, remember that these exercises are about making the best of your voice. Your physiology will impact the final result. For instance, if you have an overbite, your teeth aren't correctly aligned, which means that you don't have enough space in your mouth for your tongue, which makes it hard to pronounce consonant sounds, such as 't'. Making a conscious effort to somewhat re-align your top and lower jaw when talking can make a big impact here.

For best results, practice the warm up exercises in this video daily:

Short vocal warm up for clear speech and strong resonance from Francesca Gordon-Smith on Vimeo.



Does Your Voice Attract or Repel Others?

Posted on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 by Positivevoice

Whether you like it or not, your voice categorises you. It speaks volumes about who you are and how you feel. It gives people an idea of where you're from and whether you are switched on and emotionally balanced. When someone picks up the phone to you, they will quickly read in between the lines and assess what kind of person you are and whether they want to interact with you.

Isn't it interesting that people go to gym to look after and perfect their body, but only a few seem to train their voice? When was the last time you had a vocal check-up? If you lose your voice from time to time, you probably aren't using it correctly. If you don't like your voice, you could do a lot to improve it. Without it you are lost, with it many are mis-understood. The voice is highly overlooked and neglected, yet invaluable.
I recently worked with a business woman who had an incredibly soft voice. When I mentioned this to her, she said “I know, it’s because I’m shy”. This response may seem fairly logical to you, but it left me with several questions; when did she decide to ‘be’ shy? Does she just feel shy sometimes or does this emotion define her? If she strengthened her voice, would she feel more confident? In any case, a couple of months later, she left me a voicemail to say that she was running late for her Skype lesson and her voice sounded incredibly loud, clear and confident. Working on her voice and resonance had clearly made an impact.

This whole process is holistic, so ideally we work not just on the voice, but mindset as well, so that when you communicate your voice and emotions are in alignment and saying the same thing.


For further information about training in spoken communication and mindset, contact Francesca directly:

or 07903 954 550.



Overcome anxiety in one simple step

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2017 by Positivevoice

Anxiety is a state that comes from within. Yes, of course external factors play a part, but the final decision as to whether you feel anxious is yours. Anxiety can be very useful, as it acts as a warning signal; If you feel anxious about an upcoming commitment, it usually means that something needs to be changed. If you need to pack for your holiday, the anxiety serves as a reminder to finish your packing. If you have a public speaking engagement coming up, perhaps the anxiety is a reminder that you need to prepare your speech. If you have been invited to your ex's wedding, then the anxiety may just be a warning sign that you shouldn't go! Only you can decipher your anxiety. Ask yourself BOLD questions and you will receive BOLD answers.

If your anxiety relates to things outside your control or you struggle to find a rational explanation for it, then my latest hypnotherapy audio may be just what you are looking for. Let go of anxiety now is available on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon music.



How to overcome anxiety

Posted on Wednesday, March 08, 2017 by Positivevoice

Anxiety is an emotion like any other. Some people are better than dealing with it than others.

In this video, I explain how to let go of anxiety and rapidly change the way you live your life.

Please do forward this blog on to family and friends if you feel they would benefit from these insights too.



Confidence Boosting Hpnotherapy

Posted on Friday, December 09, 2016 by Positivevoice

I first experienced the power of hypnotherapy just after graduating when i took a job in public relations. I was feeling the pressure and it was having a negative impact on my health. I took a train from Victoria to a little town south of London. I went with an open mind; i was optimistic and ready; the perfect mindset for a successful outcome.

After the first session, i returned home feeling calmer already. I was getting ready for bed when i discovered the first shift. For two years or more, i had had a red mark on my shin the size of a 50 pence piece; it looked a little like a cross between eczema and a blood blister- it didn't hurt or itch, but i had visited the doctor to see if i could remedy it, in vain. To my great surprise and utter disbelief, it had vanished completely! I stared at the place it had been, i even checked the other leg to make sure i wasn't mistaken; nothing; it had healed. Not once had i mentioned this to the hypnotherapist; it wasn't something that i considered to have been a product of my mind. I had suffered from eczema as a child and had just accepted it.

At this stage, i didn't entertain the idea of becoming a hypnotherapist, but the experience did open my mind to the power of our thoughts and i began reading about the unconscious. A few years later when i began offering lessons in spoken communication, i recognised that a therapeutic offering would really complement the practical training that i was already providing. I chose Neuro Linguistic Programming and Hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is great if you are someone who wants to surrender to a process and not become too involved yourself. Conversely, Neuro linguistic programming is perfect for those who prefer to participate actively in the session. I like both as they are very solution focused and only require a brief explanation of the problem before moving away from it; most people find this to be a great relief.

If you are interested in experiencing hypnotherapy or sharing this wonderful tool with friends and family over Christmas; i have just released my first hypnotherapy audio on iTunes and Amazon.

If you like it, please do leave me a review and share the link with friends and family.



The Confidence Secret

Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2016 by Positivevoice


When someone comes to me saying they lack confidence, have low self-esteem, anxiety about socialising, fear of public speaking or any similar challenge regarding communicating in everyday life situations, I ask a LOT of questions.

There is not one solution to suit everyone, as we are all individuals who have different life experiences. This is not to say that you shouldn't read books, listen to audios or watch videos on the subject. You will find help and comfort in all these things, but please do not expect one solution to work for everyone.

It is for this reason that we all need to connect to our intuition and become our own coach. It can be as simple as asking yourself several questions:

How do i feel?

What does this mean?

What can i do to change this?

The above questions are the ones i routinely recommend, but you can use your intuition and knowledge about yourself to personalise these questions.

Any negative emotions that come up for you are simply your body's way of sending you a sign; it is up to you to interpret these signs in the most positive and empowering way possible and then take action to find solutions. When you stop receiving the sign, you have succeeded.

Example Scenario
"I find certain people really grumpy and rude around me and this knocks my confidence and makes me feel rubbish when i am around them. They don't like me or respect me and this is why i have no confidence..."

This is just one possible story that someone could be running in their head.

Let's confront and analyse the above statements:

No one can make you feel something, you choose to feel it. What encouraged you to choose 'feeling rubbish', as a response? Some people would have chosen humour, others would feel anger and others wouldn't notice. Did they 'make you feel rubbish' or did the feeling rubbish come before? I wonder what would happen if you chose a different approach? Perhaps they would feel better too. Have you ever noticed how infectious happiness can be?

How do you know that they don't like or respect you? Do you have any proof? Do you like and respect them? Would you like to be like them? You can either model their behavior (if you like it) or create a behavior that allows you to lead by example. I encourage my daughter to do just this for her baby brother.

You can choose to consider people like this to be your greatest teachers; they demonstrate how not to behave and through challenging you can act as a catalyst for you to become stronger and wiser. Perhaps, for instance, they are the reason that you are reading this post right now and thinking about how you can become more confident.

The above scenario might not be exactly what is occurring for you right now, but take my responses and see if you can do this for yourself. Take a notebook and write down how you are feeling. Question it and turn it on it's head. Find positives and solutions. If you can do this, you can be your own coach.

Whilst confidence is far from being skin deep, self care and self-love play a big part. If you look good, you will feel better and if you feel better, you will look good, so look after your looks and your health.

One for the women: I'm a big fan of this new Vegan brand: Maelle (paraben free, sls free, phthalates free, fragrance free, dermatalogically tested, cruelty free, peta approved, Leaping bunny certified and vegan).



So much so, in fact, that i am going to start giving their products away at my events next year and generally recommend them to everyone i meet. You can get yours here: Maelle Beauty Products. I find the products pictured above save the day when my baby has kept me up all night and my sister is raving about the mascara! Look out for: My new YouTube channel for all women looking to be more confident and my hypnotherapy downloads soon to go on sale on iTunes and Amazon!





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 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!



Clear Speech: 6 Greatest Mistakes

Posted on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 by Positivevoice

In this video, i introduce 6 of the 'greatest mistakes' that people make when doing their best to speak clearly. Have a watch if you would like to avoid making mistakes and improve your speech.



 

How can YOU become more CONFIDENT?

Posted on Monday, May 18, 2015 by Positivevoice


After today’s session with a client, I’ve been mulling over the fact that confidence is different things for different people. For those that it eludes, it can be a case of them having a fear that over shadows their best self. For those who feel confident most of the time- I don’t think anyone can be at their best 24/7, but for those who feel mostly ‘great’, I believe that it is all down to what they focus on. A positive person focuses on positive things, a fearful person focuses on their fears. What does a confident person focus on?

This varies from person to person. For today’s client it was ‘fear of being judged’ and ‘stress’ on the negative side, versus ‘determination’ and ‘ feeling relaxed’ on the confident side. For him, it was a case of realising that both emotions were simply habits and that both had his best interests at heart; to succeed. He was then able to let the ‘stress’ go and to let the ‘determination’ take over.

In short, whatever we focus on, we get more of. So, its ‘fear’ or ‘confidence’, you choose!




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