voice and speech work. Yes. That's what we're working on now. Why his voice and speech work important. Mhm. Because you need to be heard what else you need to be understood. You know, if you've ever seen somebody perform or speaking you're going I can't understand what they're saying, that you lose it all. Yeah. You also can make people feel with your voice so it's not just what you're saying, but it's how it sounds to them. So we'll start with breathwork, then we'll move into speech work and you're going to have practicum at the same time that we are learning. So if you're at home you're going to be doing these exercises with us because you can't improve the way you use your voice by watching somebody use their voice. You have to actually stand up and get in the game. It's the only way you benefit. So what we're gonna do first is Amy is gonna stand right here. She's going to face the camera at home, we're gonna take the people who have mix and we're gonna put them up stage that's here...
. And you guys are gonna follow a me and do exactly what she's doing as she's teaching toward the people at home. Sound good. Say yes if it does. All right, run off up here. Let's go 10 people with the mix. Okay? So while we have people coming up, I want to touch on just a couple more things about your voice and your speech because yes, we want to be heard and yes, we want to be understood. And yes, we'd like to have healthy voices. You don't want to be horse or not or have a sore throat. After every speech you give, we'd also like you to sound substantial. You know we talked about authenticity earlier. Somebody up here said yes, I want to sound authentic. I want to sound like me. Please sound like you but sound like the best, most confident, authentic version of you. We want to hear you sounding substantial and confident in what you have to say. We also and this is a little bit of a touchy one. We can with our voices and with our speech become more likable, which is very, very important for those audience members who want to poke holes in what it is we're saying because if we're listening to somebody and going, yeah, I hear what they're saying, I understand what they're saying, but I just kind of don't like them, then it's very difficult to actually move them or to get them to feel what you want them to feel or do what you want them to do or think what you want them to think. Okay, so we are going to have all of you stand up, you're gonna do this work to you're not just going to watch. We are all going to be involved in the work. Okay? So we're starting very simply by making sure your feet are parallel to each other. And ladies, if you have on really high heels, you may actually want to take them off. Be bold. Go barefoot. Yeah. And make sure your knees are a little soft because sometimes good, awesome. Uh sometimes and when we get nervous we tend to lock out our knees and you will actually see people pass out on stage if their knees are locked back and they're not breathing or their breathing like this and they're getting really anxious, right? You can actually make yourself pass out. So make sure your knees are soft. Yeah. Good. So some of you, I just saw linda start rolling your shoulders a little bit. Let's do that. Everybody roll your shoulders up and back. Thank you a few times. So as we're doing this one thing we need to be aware of is that emotions affect how we're breathing. Yeah. If you think of feeling anxious, do you think the breath gets deeper? Do you think it gets more shallow? Yeah. And you can actually put yourself into a full out panic attack by breathing like this? I know which I should really stop and not do even for demonstrative purposes. Right, okay so everybody take one arm up. Let's have everybody take your right arm up and put your left hand on your left ribs. If you need to spread out and take up more space here please do. So start to deepen the breath into your ribs. As you stretch. You have muscles in between each and every one of your ribs. They're called intercostal muscles. Keep breathing and see if you can expand your ribs into your hand. Can you guys see that on me? Just watch here for a moment. Can you see movement? See if you can get some movement in your side ribs? Because if your rib cage is locked, you can't breathe into your full capacity as we kind of move through the world. We breathe to about 1/ of our lung capacity. Imagine if you breathe more fully, anybody getting lightheaded over oxygenated. Good. Oh we have the massage going on in the back room. That's good. Other side. Good. So reach up through the left, put your hands on your left ribs and even press in a little bit so that you can expand. Yeah and reach enough that you get a little stretch. So for some of you that made you come over but don't go so deeply into the stretch that you're like, I can't breathe right? It's this kind of happy medium. Now, notice are you breathing in a way that is like, oh I'm getting calmer, Good, I'm getting more relaxed Or are you breathing in a way that's like doing what I'm supposed to do here and getting a little agitated. Give it one more breath. Yeah. Good. Release it, roll your shoulders up and back. Beautiful. Roll it up and back a few times. So we walk this very interesting fine line when we're on the stage of being energized and yet relaxed. If we're so energized that we become manic, we're not relaxed and that will affect the sound of the voice. And if we're so relaxed that there's no energy up here, we're gonna be boring. Right? So we want to be energized. Super awake. Super relaxed. So we're gonna roll down through the spine. Everybody again, make sure your knees are soft. Come back to that really nice full deep breath in through the nose. We're going to just breathe out through the mouth for now. Yeah, like you're sighing. Yeah, good. And drop your chin towards your chest and you're gonna very slowly, like you're rolling down one vertebrae at a time. Just let gravity start to take you now again, make sure your knees are soft. If you have any spinal issues, any vertebral issues, you're not going to move into a place where there's pain, right? So we're seeing people up on the stage rolling all the way down, hands toward toes. If you can do that where you are great. And if you can't, that's no problem, those of you at home, make sure you have room to do this. Yeah, still breathe. make sure you keep a little bend in the knees. I see a couple straight legs shake out your head a little bit, let the head be heavy, shake it like you're saying no, and more importantly, like you're saying yes, and is it? And now keep the knees soft? Keep breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth as you roll back up. Mhm. Yeah, wow. Yeah, Okay, so that sound, that breath we were just doing, we're gonna put on sound, it's gonna get loud in here, everybody, So take a deep breath in and like you're throwing a ball just a side like this, Hey, good, do it again, Hey, do it again, Good. Now notice your own sound, right? I'm gonna introduce you to a concept of being on your voice, if what you're hearing is this, hey, hey, do you hear all the breath escaping, that's not pure vibration versus hey versus hey, now let's talk just for a quick second before you do it. I want you to hear the difference in your own voice, but imagine something of somebody coming up to give a speech and they're going to talk to you about something really, really important, right? And you can hear right from the get go that they're just very, very breathy. That's different from hearing someone come up and talk to you about something that is important to them. Does it have a different impact getting on your voice makes you sound more substantial on your voice versus breathy? Not to be confused with forcing it, which would be like this, hey, which is me engaging right here, forcing it out from the throat, so it's breath, it's on breath, breath supports the sound, so like this hey, with me, Hey God that's clear. Hey, one more time, Hey good. Okay so we're gonna get into some of the resonator is because sound resonates in your body in different places. Everybody good like this. Ha yeah, open it, open up your mouth. I have, I have to stop you guys from saying it because here's what I see a couple of you doing. Uh huh. I mean really? This is gonna is this gonna warm anything up? You gotta actually now that this is not really what you want to do if you're wearing a microphone, but they can just turn it down for a second, but you don't hit your microphone because I'll have to pay for it. But actually you're, you're a sports guy, you're like, yes you are. Come on, let me see. You hit yourself. Yes, get the sound resonating in the chest cavity. Right? Take a deep breath in. Uh huh. Good again. Deep breath in, open your mouth. Yes I rest my case. Did not that didn't that sound different already? You hear a difference? Could you feel the difference? That's we want to feel it? You want to feel how sound resonates in your body because ha is a very different sound and communicate something very different to your audience than uh Yeah so open the mouth one more time. Take a deep breath in good, good. Let it go. Okay you also have resonator is in what we call the mask. I don't know why we don't call it the face but in the theater world we call it the mask and it's your literally vibrating the sound in your sinus area and up in here. Yeah so we're gonna do the sound me like this, it's very cute. Me right into sinuses. Take a breath in, sigh it out me, me me. Okay, so here the difference if I'm going in those lower pitches which have, they resonate more in the chest, you're gonna get a higher pitch. Use a higher pitch here because there's a difference between this here, this me and Fran drescher. Here you come, me, me, Can you hear how it's buzzing here. Me? Hi, if I just use that resonator when I come to speak, Hi, I'm here to talk to you about public speaking again, you get a very different impression. You have a very different impact if you're talking here to your audience and that's all just focusing my sound right in my facial mask resonator. It's not very attractive is it? You can say no if it's not very attractive, but I do want access to that part of my voice so that I'm not just resonating here and keeping it all down here all the time. So let's wake it up. Okay, this isn't gonna do it right, like Michael was saying, which is going to me doesn't do it. Deep breath in, like you're putting the sound out your nose. Take a deep breath in me. Me good stop. When you run out of breath, stop. Take a deep breath in me. Good. Go up into the far head, like right into the inner eye sockets me. You've got to make this sound while you do it. I'm seeing it going good. And even here, put your hand here and go me, me and like you're throwing it me, it's all about me one more time. Me. Good. Range is so interesting. We want to have. Range is part of what keeps us dynamic and interesting. Uh, some of the most boring speakers are the people who just speak on one note the whole time. They may be talking about something fascinating, but if they're talking on the same note, the whole time, 60 minute keynote right here we're gone, we're gone. And you have a huge range to your voice. You really do. So next one skull resonator. Uh I think Julia child. Mhm. Yeah, that's what she does is she talks all right up using her school resonator and it even sounds like she's singing a little bit, you know? Okay, so like this. Okay, good. So take a deep breath in if we're going okay, not much comes out, breathe in good, double it up like this. Oh good again, Okay, we need a little help here, roof of the mouth feel with your tongue, how the roof of your mouth is hard, from the teeth back and then there's a lump. You'll find out you guys are fresh. Actually. I am behind that is soft. Can you feel that? That's called your soft palate? And it's a muscular right? So to get that lifted which gives us again some more room for sound. Inhale on a K. Sound like this. Yeah. Keep your knees soft. No passing out aloud. Funk. Do it again. Do we have anybody in the room who did any acting training at any point raise a hand if you did. Does this this familiar at all? Yeah. Again, good Now see if you can induce a yawn by lifting the roof of your mouth. Oh. Uh huh. Try again. I really did you get up? Oh, anybody else on the East Coast time? One more time. Mhm. The reason I decided to switch my major to theater in college is because the first class I took they said you can yawn as much as you want in class because it's good for you. You're putting oxygen in your lungs. I went, this is the class for me one more year on take a deep breath in go. Oh, you may get a real one. You may not. It's okay. So now try soft knees. Deep breath in for the kiki. Does that sound different? Does it feel easier? Weird. That's fine. Out of our comfort zone is really fine. It's really, really good. Right? Especially if your, if your comfort zone with your voice is really just in one very neutral place. Imagine instead being able to hit certain moments, really using the power of your chest voice and at other moments when you want to get light and you want to get whatever it is. Being able to use the higher range too, so that you have full range of your voice, full range of your expressiveness. one of the goals for doing voice work at all is to let the voice be an expression of what's going on inside. We were talking about authenticity earlier. Right? So you're never going to come out on stage and go for this performance. I'm going to use more of my head voice and I'm working on this. I'm doing my voice work as I'm here on stage, so that I see more jovial or whatever it may be, you're not ever gonna do your voice work on stage. You do your voice work in your warm up, you do it as part of your training so that when you come out you can just be you and you have full access to all of the different expressions of you. Okay, so we've done resonance now between the breath and the sound when it comes out. Sometimes things can get in the way habitual tension, sometimes it comes from, we're not going to analyze you all, but psychological things that go on if we are nervous about being seen or scared that what we have to say may not be worth saying or that we don't deserve to be heard. Sometimes, what we'll see is we'll get some tension in the jaw or some tension in the face in the mouth. You'll sometimes see people who barely move their mouth at all widely speak and you'll sometimes see people who have a very, very tight tongue and you can hear as I'm talking, it affects the quality of your sound and I think become much less interesting to listen, to say yes, if you agree. Okay, so we're gonna do a little, a little stretching out of the face so everybody make a really open everything your eyes, your mouth stick your tongue out go really small so you can't worry about being pretty in the theater. Okay and open it up hey, so good. Stick your tongue out. Uh huh. Still breathe, soften your knees and make a really small good. Okay take your hands, heel of your hand to your jaw muscles so you can feel right below your cheekbone, this is your jaw. Yeah. Oh and you're yawning. That's good creative life where we on all the time. Okay, so gently start to draw down, you may feel some muscular tightness. Anyone feel muscular tightness under the heel of your hand. So yes, if you do, yeah, a lot of us do, a lot of us do so gently rather than doing like big circles, just draw down, let your mouth open. I affectionately call this one stupid face. Breathe. It's a very beautiful. You still look too smart. You gotta dump you off a little bit. It's so interesting when we want to look attractive all the time. It can get in the way of us actually being attractive and charismatic to other people. Yeah. So down toward your chin like that. Yeah. You let you let your mouth go. You let your tongue go, oh don't be shy, go go. Really stupid. Well good Lord all of you at home. Stupid face. Just because your home doesn't mean you get to skip stupid face, All of you at home. I want to hear I want you to write in how good stupid face feels too if it doesn't. Okay so now the tongue it gets prettier the tongue. So let's start with this. Put your thumb, wow. Yeah, right behind. Can you feel the jawbone and then there's the soft space underneath that's the root of your tongue. Is it tight? So I said it is. No no you guys have all loosey goosey talking. You're all good. See if you can find a little tender place to massage in there, can you actually feel that it's the root of your tongue? Yeah. No we talk a lot about how it's uncomfortable to perform, its that naked thing, it's uncomfortable. We work to get comfortable with being in the uncomfortable. Yeah. So along that line put the tip of your tongue behind your bottom teeth. You're gonna stretch it out on sound like this. Hi I uh you cannot be shy. Uh So now notice notice for a second if it feels forced and notice if you're doing it all in the lower part. If this is what you're hearing, uh you're literally just doing like what we call a vocal fry, where you're taking your vocal chords and just going, you just smash them together. Yeah, we want breath supported. Sound like a baby. You ever seen a baby cry? Yeah. They don't they don't temper it, they don't temper it. They go big breath in wide open mouth, everything comes flying out. It's huge sound, right? So using the range of your voice so that we can stretch out the tongue, take a breath in like this. Hi, I think some of you are flirting with me. Okay again? Hi you guys I Yeah good. Okay, so now just a sigh through the full range of your voice. Like this hey, Good. Really throw, hey, that sounds that can reach the back of the house. You will be miked a lot of the time. But that sound that can reach the back of a house without trashing your voice. Mhm. So we're going to move into some practicum and we're going to put one of you up here at a time and we're gonna do some work with your voice, one of you at a time before we do that. Is there anything that we have? I've been too busy having fun with you guys doing these exercises, but I'm gonna take a look at that. Could you review for them the different parts of the body that you use for breathing, that it's not this diaphragmatic thing that people always often describe it as? Yeah. So do you mean like a review of what we just did our actually talking about Academy of It, Michael? The anatomy of it? Because you may have heard, I'll go now, Okay, get out of here. So when we make sound, when we make sound, breath supports vibration. That is what is happening physically anatomically in your body, Your vocal cords in the Gladys in the throat come together and vibrate against each other. And depending on what part of the vocal cord is touching, that determines the pitch. So all of us, because of the length of our vocal cords and the size of our vocal cords have a predetermined range of low notes and high notes that you can hit. That will not change. Although in all likelihood there's a lot more of your voice that you're not yet accessing. So when we send breath through the vocal chords and they vibrate like that like that. If just air is coming through, then it'll just sound like, yes, my vocal cords aren't touching. If there's no sound at all. If there's a whispery sound. Like we were talking earlier about that breathy sound if I'm whispering and I'm starting to shape the sound into words. I'm starting to shape the sound into words with my speech capacity, my mouth and all of that. But I'm not actually bringing my vocal cords together. If it's that breath your sound, I'm starting to bring my vocal cords together, but I'm still letting lots of air escape out and I might run out of breath really, really quickly because I'm letting the air just move out. Its not efficient at all. You may find you run out of breath very quickly in that case. But when we bring our vocal chords cleanly clearly purely together we get that pure sound that then resonates in the chest and in the face and in the skull the sound vibrates. It resonates. It actually physically moves us on some level. Those of you who are talking about wanting to have more of an energetic communication with your audiences. Everybody has vibration in their bodies and it's part of why sound is so potent as a communicator because when we are clear with our sound and the vibration in their bodies and it's not some kind of New age thing, it's just literally what's happening anatomically in our bodies. When we vibrate and send the sound vibrations out and someone hears and receives, that's our vibration translating to them. It's actually quite beautiful and powerful. So it's not just that we need to breathe deeply because you may find that you have good breath support and sometimes you'll use full breaths to speak and sometimes you'll use a little catch breath and have what you need. But the more you're bringing your vocal cords clearly cleanly together without bringing all kinds of tension into the throat. You guys can hear the difference just bringing the vocal chords cleanly together. You will find you will not run out of breath. You will feel grounded as we were talking about earlier. You will feel more relaxed and you can trust that your voices communicating what it is you want to say.
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Michael Port has been called an “uncommonly honest author” by the Boston Globe, a “marketing guru” by The Wall Street Journal and a "sales guru" by The Financial Post (which is remarkable given that he may be the only former
Amy Port is the Director of Training for HEROIC PUBLIC SPEAKING. After earning her MFA in Acting from The Yale School of Drama, she spent years acting professionally in theaters such as Seattle Repertory, Oregon Shakespeare and Yale Rep, and