I was chatting with a friend this morning about a pair of speakers she heard…
This morning, I have a story.
Today, I attended a leadership breakfast for City Year. City Year is a non-profit tasked with supporting our schools through community service.
One of the speakers was a Senior AmeriCorps Team Leader from City Year Boston. While she was telling us about her journey and her history I felt a deep connection to her struggles. In fact, some of the same struggles I had with identity as a kid. At one point, the emotion was palpable in her voice which triggered a reaction in me. I was about to cry surrounded by attorneys (one of them my client) — Not ideal.
Most of us have been in this situation. Where a human interaction or a difficult situation triggers an inconvenient emotional response. The question is what to do about it. Our society hasn’t evolved enough yet that we can freely accept public human emotion so many of us suppress it. We find a way to shut it down. But that isn’t what I did or what I recommend to clients.
I believe that we are more human when we truly feel. I also believe that crying in front of important corporate clients is limiting. So instead of crying or suppressing, I let the feeling spread. I let it take over as much of me as possible, I felt it more intensely. Literally, I felt it throughout my body. Because of that, I no longer needed to cry because I had given my emotions a full and robust outlet. Importantly, one that was invisible to the client.
So what exactly did I do? I introduced a breathing pattern. Here it is:
Breathe in for 4 counts and exhale until you run out of air. Breathe in for 7 counts and exhale completely. Breathe in for 8 counts and once again, exhale. Repeat the sequence as many times as necessary, usually once will do it but some situations take 2 or 3 repetitions.
The structured breathing in this exercise shifts the primary flow of emotion from release to absorption. This means that you will feel the emotion throughout your physiology, importantly, without tipping your hand.
Feeling rather suppressing takes courage but if you add this practice your voice will gain a powerful resource for your communication. It will gain the authenticity that only comes when you have built trust with yourself.
To learn more about City Year please visit their website.
Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.