The Coach’s Voice

It’s a brand new year.

Who are you planning to be as you enter this next turn of the planet?

And what does your voice have to do with it?

Given that your voice is the key way you connect with your coaching clients (and everyone else!), learning how to use it well can have enormous impact on the quality of your life and work. Whether you know it or not, your voice is communicating all kinds of information to the people around you — your physical health, mood, gender, cultural background, even your sense of identity.

Our voices are just like our bodies: they need to be exercised and stretched to stay well. Here are several simple practices that will strengthen and free your voice.

  1. Cultivate your yawns.  Most of us walk around with tight jaws and throats.  Each yawn offers you a great stretch for that area as well as sending a rush of oxygen through your system.  Whenever you can do so without causing offense, make the most of your yawns. It will give your jaw and throat a luxurious massage and your body a healthy dose of oxygen.
  2. Try out some “voice yoga.”  Stretch your voice into its full range of sound – high, low, soft, loud, dark, and bright.  Most of us use only a tiny part of the vocal range and expression available to us.  Your voice benefits from a good workout as much as your cardiovascular system.  Use it or lose it.  (You can find some exercises to guide your explorations at
  3. Create an irresistible sing-along play list for your commuting or housecleaning time.  Choose songs you love that access a variety of vocal qualities from soft to loud, from raucous to tender. Then open up and sing your heart out. Singing regularly will expand the range, color, and expression of your voice even when you speak.

May 2016 be your year for speaking up, listening deeply, and living out loud!

Barbara McAfee is a voice coach, keynote speaker, singer/songwriter, and author of the Amazon bestseller Full Voice: The Art and Practice of Vocal Presence.  She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Learn about Barbara’s approach here:

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