My kid just started middle school. On their first day, they arrived with a backpack…
Executive voice, or what I call the voice of authority, is a highly sought-after skill in voice coaching. It is your ability to speak with clarity and authority in any room. The implied goal is that you do so while motivating and influencing people.
It is a worthy goal, but I have two criticisms of how I see it deployed in the world. The first is that it is called “executive” voice as if leadership is limited to a hierarchy. My second beef is that is so often disconnected from authenticity.
At the heart of this is how the voice functions. You can go through the motions and present the role of ‘executive voice in the world’ without your Presence in that voice. But unless you are the default player society expects in that role, read white and male, the coat will not fit. The key to finding your executive voice lies in the ‘you’ part.
We trust people that are comfortable in their own skin. Who give us non-verbal cues that they are presenting an integrated self. We feel connected to people who are generous with their breath and physically open. And, importantly, we feel the Presence of speakers whose voices are fully embodied with vibrancy, intention, and authenticity. If you feel that this is a tall order, consider that this is no more than what your fullest self already does with the people you know and love the most. You likely already have some or all of these skills. What elevates your most embodied private speaking to your public self is the intention to share yourself with a larger room. In essence to amplify your communication to reach more people.
What stands in our way to achieving this isn’t the skillset, it is the neurology.
Our doubt, lack of clarity, and physiological nervous responses can prevent us from making our presence felt. It can shake your confidence and in so doing affect your authority. The question isn’t really whether you have an “executive voice.” The real question is whether you can allow it to enter the room. When you approach that work, you will truly be on to something.
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 18 years of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, 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.