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Office Space: Load Testing

My kid just started middle school.

On their first day, they arrived with a backpack full of binders and required notebooks. They also carried a lunch bag and a water bottle. Then, they were handed a Chromebook.

As I watched them walk towards their first class, I couldn’t help but wonder how they would carry all of those burdens over the course of the day. It occurs to me that this is part of the training we give our children. The way that They become, Us.

We are all carrying a load. Whether it is necessary or prescribed doesn’t minimize it. The issue isn’t so much what we are carrying but whether we should. And if we should, how we adapt to that load.

Here’s the thing, our brain is preoccupied with our survival. This means that none of us is getting to intentional and authoritative speaking without first addressing our capacity.

Practice This

Today, the exercise is one of breathing and assessing your capacity. It starts with a “box breath” that is a counted inhalation, held breath, counted exhalation, and held breath followed by an unmetered breath. So one could inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and hold for 4 counts followed by a “normal” breath, for example.

Now, grab a journal, open a doc, or recording device. Do three cycles of box breathing with normal breathing in-between then start to catalog your loads. The work you do, the responsibilities you have, the weight you feel. List it all whether you think it is important or not. If it is in the load, it gets on the list. When complete, do three more cycles of box breathing. Review your list and how you are managing it or not. Respect your feelings about it and if necessary make plans to rebalance, or lighten, the load.

The simple act of acknowledging the load you carry will allow your brain to give you more resources for communication. In this case, knowledge is most certainly vocal power.

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

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