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“When you dream about controlling the world, start by controlling your own breath...”

 

When I think about working with the voice, I’m struck by a realisation: this work is impossible without breathing.  Life itself is impossible, since breathing is essential for life.

When we leave the mother’s womb, the first thing we do is take a deep breath. That’s how our life in this world starts. And then, when life comes to an end, we exhale a breath.  The last breath that marks the end of our life’s journey.

Between these two breaths there are millions of breaths, which shape our lives more or less consciously.

Everyone of us has their own rhythm of breathing, which they yield to and which is a reflection of their current mental state. We usually trust this natural rhythm and let ourselves be guided by it.  The need to change it or control it appears when the voice is supposed to be used as an important attribute of our work.

 

“Sometimes you get a lump in your throat that prevents the heart from communicating with the mind and vice versa”. Stanisław J. Lec

 

Every mood and emotion, such as anger, aggression, stress – especially when they are being repressed – as well as friendship, love and inner peace triggers a chain reaction of processes, which affect our psyche and body and shape our behaviour patterns.  These can be negative patterns, such as slouching, wrong posture, various reflexes, stiffness, even stammering, or faster speech or choking.

An incorrect posture affects our breathing and vice versa– breathing affects the posture and the person’s mental condition.

To produce and maintain a beautiful, strong tone of voice, it is very important to get to know your own natural breathing rhythm, recognize tensions, inhibitions and learn how to relax and strengthen weak areas of the body. The main areas affected by tension are the forehead, jaws, throat, tongue – frequently retracted and thus blocking the throat – shoulders, stomach and buttocks.  Tension is always connected with childhood experiences.  It is therefore essential to get rid of ‘labels’ that were attached to you in childhood. 

The body and breathing react to the person’s thoughts. How many times have you left your house and suddenly started wondering if you switched off the iron or the gas cooker?  The moment the thought crosses your mind, you go all red and your heart beat increases.  You’ve reacted to the mere thought, not to the situation.  Your body will react similarly (especially if you are a child) on hearing messages like: “You won’t be able to do that!”, “Stop crying!”, “Leave that!”.  Such words get ingrained in our minds and as adults we let ourselves be limited by imaginary barriers: “I can’t do it”, “I’m sure I’ll fail again”, “I can’t possibly say or sing it”, “It’s hard to like me”; “They don’t receive me well”.

 

Marcus Aurelius once said: “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” Someone said that the eyes are the mirrors of the soul; analogically, I can say that the voice is the mirror of what’s going inside, which indicates the person’s mental condition.  Those who don’t like their own voice, usually don’t like themselves.

Working on the voice and breathing is a like looking inside yourself.  It helps to discover and bring to light the hidden potential and to get rid of inhibitions.

Konstanty Stanisławski, an eminent reformer of the theatre and author of the method of training actors to master their roles and control their own emotions, said: it’s hard to imagine a worse thing for s speaker than muscle tension and arrested physical action.  If this condition affects the voice organ, even people gifted with the most beautiful voice start to sound hoarse and croaky, or become unable to speak.

The voice is a means of communicating with others and with yourself – words said out loud take on a different form than those that are only thought.

A piano virtuoso has his daily fingering practice, a dancer practices his steps and gestures, a good trainer practises his body and diction.  Anyone who makes speeches and presentations should be audible, understandable and captivating.  The first two requirements result from the right technique and speech clarity, the last one is the effect of an interesting interpretation and a pleasant voice.

The voice is a means of communicating with others

 

Marcus Tullius Cicero said: “It is commonly known that the greatest task of an orator is to move the hearts of his listeners to feel anger, hatred and suffering, or lead them away from such emotions and instead inspire leniency and compassion.  Who doesn’t become deeply familiar with the full range of human characters, the essence of humanity and impulses that excite and calm people’s moods, will not be able to achieve the desired goal of their speech...” 

 

Impression management – how to make others “buy” us

 

It is said that each one of us is a unique individual... True, but what if you are just one more supplier in a crowd of competitors, all offering a very similar product or service? Or a very boring, easily predictable manager, who doggedly continuous his futile attempts to convince employees of the necessity of introducing changes, focusing on increased efficiency or limiting costs...

People buy others for very simple reasons ...

It is because they are captivating, charismatic, witty, nice ...

They are preferred to others because they are reliable, coherent, outstanding, attentive.

Actually, though, it all comes down to knowing how to sell yourself while remaining yourself.

Being yourself is being reliable ...

Knowing how to sell yourself means knowing what others expect in a given situation and finding ways to distinguish skills and services that you have to offer from those offered by others.

 

The training is intended mainly for managers, sales managers and trainers, who depend on their personal image in their daily work and use it as a means of influencing their (internal and external) customers, business partners and employees.

The objective is to equip the participants with a range of methods enabling them to achieve goals that depend on impression management that is reliable, convincing and effective under specific conditions.

 
After the course participants will be able to:

·         adapt their behaviour to the goals, situations, professional and social roles

·         feel comfortable and confident in different situations

·         use the individual power of personal potential

·         use tools of impression management

·         stand out from the crowd ...

 

The course covers areas such as:

·         influencing others: what to do to make others listen to you with friendly attention and openness and make yourself audible and understandable;

·         influencing others by verbal and non-verbal cues;

·         correct use of the speech apparatus as a distinguishing factor.  Exercises to improve motor control. Respiratory exercises.  Breathing has a major effect on the quality and effectiveness of spoken words.

·         voice care: how to look after your voice, avoid voice injuries and enjoy your voice for many years.


Copyright  2007 Jan Szczygieł