Online meetings and phone calls are the new COVID norm and professionals are seeking ways to adapt and succeed in this unfamiliar environment. People can no longer rely on handshakes and full body language to connect, so the voice has become more important than ever.
This is where Melanie Espeland steps in. A pioneer in executive voice coaching and Founder of Espeland Enterprises, Melanie has empowered clients from companies such as IBM and Morgan Stanley to improve their literal and figurative voices.
Melanie’s background is uniquely relevant to executive voice coaching. Her breadth of knowledge encompasses voice training, including a voice acting contract with CESD Talent and deep business expertise. Her top-tier business career includes an MBA from Columbia University, management consulting experience at McKinsey & Company, and diverse consulting engagements, from Fortune 500s to start-ups. Combined with years in the fast-paced, image-conscious domain of the fashion industry, Melanie understands the importance of commanding a confident, authentic presence.
Tapping her unique background, Melanie is able to help professionals build their unique voice, communication skills, and executive presence for the boardroom and on the small screen. “There are a few tactical things you can do to immediately improve your voice, presence, and gravitas for those awkward 20-person Zoom calls,” says Espeland.
Some of her key tips include:
1) Tongue placement: English speakers tend to place their tongues in the middle of the mouth which can create a muffled effect. Speaking with your tongue in a forward placement will allow for a crisper sound that will project farther and carry gravitas.
2) Breath: Melanie advises you to think of breath as fuel for the fire, the fire being your voice. If you aren’t getting deep breaths from your diaphragm, your voice won’t be as strong and may sound strained, high pitched, and lack resonance. To learn more about how to breathe from your diaphragm, see Espeland Enterprises’ new book Seduce by Breath, available for pre-order.
3) USB microphone: For less than $100, you can eliminate the harsh sounds of your built-in laptop microphone. Melanie recommends the Snowball microphone available at major retailers like Target and Amazon.
4) Chin placement: On video calls, make sure your chin is parallel to the floor and your screen is eye level. If your chin is pointed upward or downward, you negatively affect breath and thus affect your voice. This can cause a muffled sound or strained vocal cords at worst.
5) Say what you’re thinking: When you are speaking there are two conversations taking place: one is coming out of your mouth and the other is the internal dialogue you have with yourself. Your audience can “hear” both. A quick fix is to say your target internal dialogue out loud, which changes your mindset and your brain chemistry. For instance, try saying, “I’m an excellent and warm public speaker, and I’m excited for this presentation!”
You can reach Espeland Enterprises for one-on-one and corporate training, as well as invite Melanie to be a speaker or moderator at your next virtual event.
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