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Flow: Order of Operations

I like to hand sew complex things. When this is your hobby, you tend to spend a significant amount of time planning the steps in a project. If you try to skip this part, you end up spending a lot of time recutting items, or horror of horrors, pulling your hand stitches.

Would it surprise you to discover that many conversations, presentations, and performances are very physically complex things?

When we speak of preparation, writing, rehearsing, or memorizing, we are discussing the broad strokes in a process for sophisticated communication. Like my sewing projects, the individual parts are not complicated but they are important to the final outcome.

This isn’t what we want to do. We want to write a thing, maybe prepare some slides, rehearse it a few times (perhaps memorize it), and then stand up and hope for the best. We want to “get to the good part.” I’d love for you to give yourself the gift of incorporating more Process in your process.

Here is a suggested Order of Operations:
  • Think about the project, desired outcomes, the stakeholders, and the stakes.
  • Work to develop content that is clear and effective. My favorite system for this is called The Red Thread, there is a wealth of information available on Tamsen Webster’s website.
  • Work on your most powerful resource, you. Namely, start thinking about your physicality, how your breathing is informing the tone, volume, and authority in the sound of your voice. Gather information about how you might respond to charged feelings ‘in’ the moment (nervousness, excitement, fear, etc) so that you can work on responses before you start.
  • Then blend your preparation — working on the content delivery and how your body fits within it. They must work together for the best result.

The items above are, of course, broad strokes but hopefully how to get to the individual stitches becomes clearer as you apply them.

The invitation today is to think of your important voice-use events as being worthy of a deeper process. This is an invitation to think about an order of operations that works for you.


Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and 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.

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