Episode 046: Captivating the Room (Pt. 2) The Physiology of the Voice with Tracy Goodwin

Tracy Goodwin

This is a continuation of Episode 45: Captivating the Room (Pt. 1) The Psychology Behind Using Your Voice with Tracy Goodwin. Last episode, we discussed the 5 elements of vocal variety,

Tracy Goodwin

Vocal Coach

This is a continuation of Episode 45: Captivating the Room (Pt. 1) The Psychology Behind Using Your Voice with Tracy Goodwin. Last episode, we discussed the 5 elements of vocal variety, how these elements make us feel, and how to take your clients on a journey. The psychological elements discussed previously also have a relationship to the physiological elements we will discuss in this episode as well. Tracy takes us through where our voices are getting stuck, and simple techniques of how to “unstuck” them. There’s also tips on how to use your breath to connect to your voice and protect your vocal chords while teaching.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

Simple techniques to get your voice “unstuck”

How to better connect to your breath

Avoid straining your voice

Here’s the Complete List of Tips:

Why do you think people hate the sound of their own voice? (5:15)

This could be because of what the subconscious does to their voice and how our mind hears our own voice. Their voice doesn’t feel aligned to their personality.

Is it true that there is a physiological connection to our voice along with the psychological connection? (8:10)

Yes, there is a connection to the subconscious mind and your experiences in your life and this connects to your muscle memory. It’s similar to an experience after a car accident – during the event, your shoulders tense up. Any time you hear a familiar sound you will have the same muscular reaction.

How does this connect to how we use our voice? (10:40)

We want to rewrite our muscle memory. You have to be aware of the triggers that bring your emotions and muscle memory up that relate to the habits in your voice that you want to change.

Where does the voice tend do get stuck? (13:00)

There are four places the subconscious mind sticks the voice. The sound will not flow out because the subconscious will stop it for fear of judgement.

1. Throat. This is most common in men, and Tracy believes it is because men are socially conditioned to “swallow” their emotion.

2. High pitch, nasal. Most common in women trying to be “cute” based on their social pressures.

3. Jaw. There is limited movement in the jaw as the person is speaking.

4. Pulling the sound back in. This the least common, but if you see this one in someone, you will see 1-3 as well. They release the sound as they begin a phrase, and quiet down at the ending. The subconscious stops you halfway.

How do we begin to unblock each of these? (19:55)

Everyone is a little different, so it is difficult to give a specific diagnosis. These tips are general to avoid adding to the problems that have already caused these changes in the voice.

Think about a garden hose, you turn it on, water comes out. When you speak, your sound is still coming out. Its as though there are holes in your “garden hose,” so water still comes out, but it also dissipates elsewhere. When your voice comes out of your nose, throat, jaw, hands, etc., this is the same effect.

Visualize, visualize, visualize! Visualize getting your sound up and out. Visualize your sound flowing across the room. Visualize yourself speaking through a straw – this requires you to bring your face muscles forward. Visualize your voice filling the space without yelling.

How do we know what areas our voice might be getting stuck in? (25:55)

This is easier to analyze than the 5 elements we spoke about in the previous episode. You will feel these lock downs more easily. There are physical sensations that allow the person to notice this right away.

Do you feel like your sound is stuck in the back of your throat? – Throat.

Do you grind your teeth? – Locked in the jaw.

Do you speak in a high pitch? – Locked in your head.

Are you often asked to repeat yourself? – Pulling your voice back in.

We are better suited to analyze our voice physiologically, where a peer would be more helpful when analyzing ourselves psychologically.

Do you have a resource for exercises to improve this? (29:30)

Tracy’s podcast, YouTube, and website all have resources for this.

A huge part of this process has to do with our breathing. Can you talk to us about connecting with the breath? (31:35)

In relation to the sound being stuck, part of the reason is the muscle memory, and another is because we are not connecting the breath to the words. Our subconscious, through our experiences, has activated “brace mode,” where we hold our breath down to avoid fear of judgement and vulnerability.

Many people can sing and breathe just fine, but cannot speak and breathe. Tracy realized most people are singing other people’s words, so this is less vulnerable.

Sample of connecting and disconnecting from Tracy (36:40)

The problem is you may be breathing, but your air may be in “brace mode,” which is when it refuses to connect to the sound. When you yell, there’s no connection to the breath, there is no fuel for the voice, you are scraping your voice out and this is how you destroy your voice.

We hear of fitness professionals straining their voices often or dealing with vocal nodes. How do we prevent this? (38:50)

Connect the voice to the breath. This is the missing piece. Its different than simply breathing.

Our body is in “brace mode,” via muscle memory. You have trained your body to hold the air and not release it while you are speaking.

Barry and Tracy go through a sample of this (41:10-46:30).

Steps to repairing the connection to your breath: (47:50)

1. Catch yourself not breathing.

2. When it comes to the voice, consider rib expansion breathing.

3. Retrain yourself to release the air when you speak. Use the two examples Barry was given to do this 5-10 minutes a day and you will be able to override the subconscious habits that prevent you from doing this.

What is happening when we are straining our voice? (54:40)

It is the disconnection of the breath from the sound, it is not using these techniques previously stated.

In the previous episode we discussed the most powerful choices you can make with your voice, but there are also weak choices. (57:00)

The weakest element is volume – specifically, loudness. Many instructors feel that shouting is the best way to connect to people and share their voice, but this is not the most successful way to be heard. When volume is used, people feel that they are being talked at rather than talked to.

Other References in This Episode:

Episode 45: Captivating the Room (Pt. 1) The Psychology Behind Using Your Voice with Tracy Goodwin

Captivate The Room Podcast Episodes

Captivate The Room YouTube Channel

Show Note's Index