It is snowing in MA, and much of the Northeast, this morning. Snow is always…
COVID-19 has turned all sorts of people into armchair epidemiologists and statisticians. There are many reasons for this which are not really within my purview here. What matters in voice and speech is how we address moment-to-moment reality in communication.
No matter your personal opinion about masks, they are going to be us for a while. If only because we have nothing else that reduces virus transmission as well. So as there is a return to public life we should consider a couple of communication challenges.
- How we do communicate with clarity and intention when facial expressions are unavailable?
- What does it mean to connect with others when the air between you is charged with something as big as this?
For me, the answer lies in committing to a deep embodiment of the voice. If your face can’t evoke nuance, your body language needs to step it up. As it turns out, focusing on sub-verbal and breath driven communication can more than fill in the gap created by having to wear a mask at work.
Try this exercise
Note: At any time during the exercise you may experience vibration, or shaking in the body. This is completely normal and I invite you to observe it rather than repress it.
You can do this seated, standing, or prone. For seated and standing you are looking for a forward bend that hinges at your hipbone as if you were trying to place your abdomen on the front of your thighs. If you are prone you can either bring your legs upward into the same gesture (you may need a little support under your sacrum), or you can just try to find elongation in the length of your spine and legs. In all of these possible shapes you are seeking release of tension and elongation of the spine. Throughout the exercise breathe in through your nose and mouth through your mouth audibly. That is, make some noise.
Follow your curiosity about what feels easy and what feels hard. Notice if anything interrupts or disrupts your breathing pattern. Observe any resistance you are feeling. When you are ready to complete this exercise take one last breath and exhale an introduction. Something like “Hi, I am Gina Razón” or whatever you would say will suffice. Exhale fully if you have any air left after your introduction and slowly release back to a neutral sitting, standing, or prone position. Observe how your body feels, observe your breath.
This Friday at 12:30 pm EDT, Gina will be live on FB. These will be short voice alignment sessions aimed at voice skills building. Watch it on the GROW Voice FB page. I hope to see you there.
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.