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Why Your Voice Matters, Part 1 [Voicing Your Brand Episode 2]

Why Your Voice Matters, Part 1 – What’s Your Speech Awareness IQ? [Episode 2]

***Join the waitlist for the 7 Day Vocal Makeover by clicking here: Makeover Waitlist 

(transcript)  You might be a business owner, an entrepreneur – maybe you are working hard climbing the corporate ladder – when I say Brand Voice – what do you think of? Some experts talk about your brand voice being your overall message. While that is true, it’s not what I mean when I talk about Voicing Your Brand. Your brand is YOU. And your physical voice is so important. Those who hold the power of the word hold the power of the world (or at least a portion of it.) Life is not lived on a keyboard. What you say is important, but how you say it is vital. In order to be successful in the workplace, as a creative or any type of entrepreneur, or your education, you must cultivate the ability to communicate well. The delivery system of your message matters.

Everyone has a vocal quality or speech habit that makes them cringe.

Think back for a minute to the last time you tuned out or turned off a speaker because you couldn’t listen to their voice. Maybe it was a webinar where you were really interested in the topic, a work meeting, a live video by someone who really knows their stuff, or maybe even a preacher with a great message but a voice that grates on you like fingernails on a chalkboard.

For me, it was pretty recently. I turned on a video from an online trainer who is really up on all the latest tech gadgets for live broadcasting – I wanted to hear his information, but less than 3 minutes in to the broadcast, I turned it off and moved on. Why? He paused and said UM, about every 6th word or so. So we’re not talking about finishing your thoughts and pausing by using UM as a filler word while you gather your next thoughts together – this was a habit, and UM was inserted multiple times in each sentence! It frustrated me so much that his valuable message was lost. I was ready to move on and find someone else to learn the same information from. Normally, my pet peeve that I can’t listen to is vocal fry, but in this case I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t listen.

So what’s your speech awareness IQ? I want you to think about this because it’s important to understand that we ALL have some vocal quality that we just cannot listen to, and before we can talk about fixing our own missteps, we need to learn all the ways a message can be left unheard simply because the voice sharing that message needs a bit of work.

I recently asked this question on Facebook:

What is a vocal quality or speech habit that you cannot listen to and makes you tune out?

Here are some of the actual comments I received on that post:

Vocal Fry

Upspeak and vocal fry.

Vocal fry. And it’s everywhere. If someone is saying something and is using vocal fry, it basically discredits everything they’re saying to me. I can’t help it. I just can’t stand it.

Saaaaaame. Thanks, this American Life.

Pacing

Boooooooooring cadence.

Monotonous and sing-songy – both equally awful

Upspeak/ Uptalk

when they lilt up (like you would when asking a question) repeatedly during the sentence. do you know what i mean?

there was a story on NPR about upspeak and vocal fry that I found fascinating

(Here’s a link to that article: NPR on Upspeak and Vocal Fry)

Filler Words

What i REALLY hate is when people use “like” multiple times in every sentence!

The other day I stopped listening to a pretty big influencer who had valuable information to share because every 6th word or so was UM.

Poor grammar, filler words “um” “like”…

Smacking lips and ums

Comment: What is vocal fry?

answer: several posts of YouTube videos Kim Kardashian

Tone

some speakers, esp women, have a way of speaking that makes me think of kindergarten teachers…very high pitched, there’s a quilt lady who talks like this, very grating. And yes, I know that sometimes it’s just a person’s voice, but, ugg.

Speaking in too high a pitch

flatline —— no interest

A low, quiet tone. It is hard to hear, and it seems that the presenter is just not engaged in the effort of communicating to his or her audience. And one more… Vocal Fry. So ostentatious and annoying. Get over it, ladies!

Other Comments

Poor grammar!

Nasality. I just can’t.

Mispronunciation of common words:

ex-cetera, realator, Nuculer

People who take forever to get to the point, and people who keep talking after they’ve made their point.

“I’m all” ….blah blah

“He goes”… blah blah

Ya know

Mumbling

Three things are speech-killers for me:

1) When the speaker doesn’t engage with the audience.

2) When a speaker reads their notes as individual sentences rather than in a conversational tone.

3) When a speaker states a key point, immediately followed by “what I mean by that is…”

“With that said…”

Wet mouth noises.

Hearing someone swallow while talking

It seemed everyone had an opinion, and they were valid.  

What we all need to recognize is that certain speech and vocal habits will make your message harder for people to hear.

I’m going to insert here something really important – You are your brand. You are who you are, and that includes your voice. But just as you can enhance your physical image by changing how you dress or some of your habits, or mannerisms, you can enhance your vocal quality as well – without changing who you are at your core. You want to be heard – or you probably wouldn’t be here, am I right?

Thanks so much for joining me in the studio today – I hope I’ve given you something to think about  – be sure to visit the show notes at tamiromani.com/vyb002 for links I’ve mentioned.

I want to leave you with this one thought – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “O, how wonderful is the human voice! It is indeed the organ of the soul!”

Your voice matters. Your story matters. What you say is important, but how you say it is vital. So let’s work together to unlock your authentic voice so you can be heard. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll see you next time…

Join the waitlist for the 7 Day Vocal Makeover by clicking here: Makeover Waitlist 

I turned the corner and it was GONE…

Gone.

All that stood in place of our FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN THE WHOLE WORLD was a sign saying they would rebuild and be back in 2019. I mean, I was just there a couple months ago – what in the world???

Let me rewind a sec and give you some context – ​

I spent 4 days last week about an hour from home in beautiful Laguna Beach, California at a mastermind with one of my business mentors, James Wedmore. I learned so much about designing my business, connected with so many brilliant entrepreneurs, and came away with a new focus for what’s ahead and how I can help more people. Since it was on the way home, I thought I’d make a stop at The Crab Cooker in Newport Beach and pick up my hubby’s favorite, the perfect shrimp cocktail and smoked albacore with homemade tartar sauce. The Crab Cooker holds a special place for us – we’ve been going there for several decades – since our dating years, picking up market service and going to the beach to eat. We don’t get there as often as we’d like, so whenever I’m in the area I like to stop by and pick up his favorite treat to bring home.

It was a beautiful evening. Sunroof was open, music blaring – but when I turned the corner and looked to my left – I could not believe my eyes. The iconic red building that had stood in that spot since 1951 was GONE. The quirky little red restaurant with green striped awnings and a stuffed great white shark hanging from its ceiling was now just a memory.

This.  Is now this.   Sigh.

A quick Google search told me that the Crab Cooker was being rebuilt because its foundation suffered irreparable damage when a new condo complex was built next door. The cost to repair it was greater than the cost to tear it down and rebuild, so the owner made a very emotional decision to start over. (His father had opened the business in 1951 and worked there, greeting his customers, until right before he passed away in his 90s last year.) Tough decision, with so much emotion attached – but the alternative was to piece together repairs that would only serve to prolong the inevitable. My husband the builder explained to me that the old foundation was too shallow and just could not hold up to the trauma of having a new 4 story building built next door. it needed a DEEP foundation of pylons reaching bedrock for the building to be stable.

Lately I’ve been looking for the lesson to be learned in experiences like this. It occurred to me I have been hanging on to an old, shallow foundation. Old ideas about money and business and old “what if” thoughts that have done nothing but hold me back. Like the Crab Cooker restaurant, I have spent three years shoring up the old foundation in a desperate attempt to make it work for what I was trying to build on top of it. I’ve come to the realization that won’t work. The past week was a tearing down of that foundation for me. It’s time to rebuild, beginning with a new mindset.

Are you there too, my friend?

Are you holding on to something great and not speaking up? Maybe you are vying for a promotion at work, or you want to start that podcast, or you are holding back from sharing your message to the world because you think no one will like your voice.  Okay, I’m gonna say it:

Poppycock. (Do people say that anymore?)

You just need a little dose of confidence and clarity – and I’m here for you. Soon I’ll be opening the doors to the new and improved 7 Day Vocal Makeover where you can learn a few quick tips to uncover your story and unlock your authentic voice so you can unleash your important message to the world! In just seven days, you’ll have the foundation you need to speak your message with confidence. There will also be a group coaching experience in a judgment-free zone where you can practice your message and receive feedback and encouragement. If that sounds like something you could use, click here to be added to the waitlist. We will be blasting off in November so you’ll be ready with a foundation of vocal confidence when you jump into the new year!

To your success,

Tami

P.S. The first episode of my upcoming podcast, Voicing Your Brand, is in the can and will be on iTunes by NEXT WEEK! Stay tuned for more details!! (I’m SOOOO excited!!)

 

Do you VACATION or STAYCATION? Or…

…SLAYCATION?

What’s your “cation” mode? All three are applicable to different stages and seasons in life, amiright?

I’ll admit, I dream of a day when I can go on a real VACATION again and not bring any work along. But for now, I spend about an hour (sometimes two) a day working when I’m away from home. Mostly carry-on, keep the business going kind of stuff – but when you are a freelancer and depend upon the (sometimes last minute) needs of your clients to keep income flowing, it’s kind of a no-brainer to do a bit of work while on vacation.

Even so, I never thought of it as a real SLAYCATION until last year when I was camping in Yosemite and during my daily quick email check I found an invitation to do the voiceover for an explainer video for Bitcoin. So what did I do? I recorded that voiceover in the motorhome, then wrapped up my laptop and rode my bike in the rain to the lodge for slooooow wifi to send the file to the client, and I got PAID. Yep. SLAY-cation mode in full swing.

This was my setup that week. Usually, it’s pillows and blankets strategically arranged on a hotel bed. Or using the luggage rack or an ironing board to create a cubby underneath. Whatever works. Voiceover actors are notorious for setting up mobile recording studios in every situation. (If you’re curious, just search “vo pillow fort” on Facebook and several photos will pop up.) In fact, one of my friends did her first audition for a background voice role for Incredibles 2 from a pillow fort makeshift studio in a hotel room! It’s a thing. (Yes, she got the job.)

Or sometimes, we just use a kitchen table. Like that time sitting at an antique kitchen table about 5 years ago in Italy…

*sigh*

Whether you are a full time entrepreneur or working a side hustle in the evenings and on weekends, you know the value of showing up for your business. Whenever. Wherever. It’s what we do.

So today, I celebrate you!

Whether you choose to take a VACATION, stay close to home and STAYCATION, or take your work with you for a SLAYCATION. I get you.

It’s a Saturday in July, and I’d tell you to take a day off – but you’re probably working. 😉

No matter what, I know you’ll make every moment count.

To your success,

Tami

P.S. If you know you should be on a slaycation this season, but are choking up when you want to chat live with your tribe on social media, I think the Brand Voice Roundtable Facebook group might be helpful. Sit with us at the table and explore ways to tell your brand’s story. It’s also a safe space to practice delivering your message – we will cheer you on, I promise! There’s a seat for you at the table – just fill in the form below to join!

How to Recover from Laryngitis

‘Tis the season. For losing your voice.

And doesn’t laryngitis always happen at the WORST possible time? Waking up one day and not having a voice can set you back days or even weeks if you had things planned like videos, podcasting or live broadcasts. Unfortunately, there’s no immediate fix, but there are measures you can take to lessen the inflammation and perhaps heal a bit faster.

How did you get laryngitis?

Losing your voice could be from one or a combination of several reasons –

  • a virus causing an upper respiratory infection (aka the common cold),
  • overuse – just too much talking or singing,
  • smoking or exposure to smoke or polluted air,
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) Google it – it’s a thing,
  • and, my personal new non-favorite: allergies!

Any or all of these situations can cut your voice down like a sword-wielding pirate taking over a ship.

You are at the mercy of time.

Yes, TIME. Although there are a few things you can do to speed up the clock a bit.

Treating laryngitis

  1. Rest your voice. This is the #1 tip for a reason. STOP TALKING. I know it’s incredibly hard, but the more you force your voice to produce sound, the longer you’ll drag this thing out. Get a notepad, a dry erase board, or install a text to speech app on your phone and choose the fun British voice to be you for awhile. Just stop talking.
  2. Don’t whisper. I know, you thought it was okay. But in reality you risk doing more damage when you whisper. (See #1 for communication ideas)
  3. Breathe moist air – got a vaporizer? Use it. Take a nice hot shower, even lean over the sink a few times a day and breathe in some steamy moist air.
  4. Drink water. I originally wrote “drink fluids” in my notes – but really, the only thing you need to be drinking right now is water. Lots and lots of water. This will help hydrate your whole body as well as those pesky dried out vocal chords, and it is a key to healing your voice. Half of your body weight in ounces is a good target. (Here, let me do that math for you: if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water. You’re welcome.)
  5. Drink warm liquids. Yes, this goes along with tip #4, drink water. Your warm liquids could be plain water (maybe add some lemon), or one of the throat calming teas available now such as Throat Coat Tea by Traditional Medicinals or Honey Lemon Throat Comfort by Yogi. If you have a sore throat along with laryngitis, drinking warm water or tea will soothe and moisten your throat. Mmmmmmmmm…
  6. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can cause dehydration, which can dry out your throat and cause more hoarseness. We are trying to get well, remember?
  7. Avoid caffeine. I know you’re not happy about this, but caffeine can have the same drying effects as alcohol. This is a great time to decaffeinate yourself – or maybe just stick to one coffee instead of your usual five. I mean, how fast do you want to be heard again?

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are combinations of herbs or essential oils that may show great promise in helping to maintain vocal health – in fact, if you’ve found a sure fire way to speed up the healing process after losing your voice, would you let me know about it in the comments? I’d really like to learn about what works for you!

Photo by Remy_Loz on Unsplash

Your Brand Has a Story – How Will You Tell It?

Your Brand Has a Story – How Will You Tell It?

Do you know how to be the voice of your brand while livestreaming on social media and when to hire a professional voice?

“I know I should be going live on social media, but I’m too nervous.”

“How do I connect with people using live video? I just don’t have the personality for that.”

“I don’t like my voice, so I’m sure others won’t either.”

These are just some of the stories we tell ourselves. Have you done it? In this day of instant access to everything, you know you should be connecting with your followers by going live, but you just. can’t. seem. to. take. that. leap.

I’m here to help.

Every brand has a story. How well you tell that story determines your impact on the world. Using live video on social media is the best way to connect personally with your potential clients, but how do you do that?

Let me introduce myself: Hi, my name is Tami Romani, and I’m a Brand Voice Strategist. 

What that means is I help small business owners feel comfortable when they are being the voice of their own brand on social media, and I also help them to know when to hire a professional voice, like mine, for maximum impact in their marketing efforts.

As a voiceover talent for more than 30 years, I love being the voice of a brand, but I also know that in this age of social media it’s vital for an entrepreneur to connect with their followers on a much more personal level – with live video on social media. My business owner friends have been coming to me for years for help with feeling better about their voices. Now, more than ever, it’s important for an entrepreneur to learn how to feel comfortable in their own voice when they are going live to connect with their tribe. Just as important is knowing when it’s best to use a professional voice for maximum impact. If my voice isn’t a fit for your brand, I’ll help you find one from my large network of voice-over professionals who are ready and willing to help.

Let’s get started Voicing Your Brand!

I ate a cookie and it did not kill me. Yet.

Yet.
This whole sugar is bad for my brain, sugar will make me dumb, and sugar will kill me knowledge is definitely a cross to bear sometimes. I mean, whatever happened to enjoying that sugar fix from time to time? Here’s what I tell myself every time I just want that cookie, dammit!

  • It’s just one. One won’t hurt.
  • I only eat sugar on the weekends or when I’m with friends.
  • I’m kinda stressed right now, I need it to take the edge off – it makes me feel so much better.
  • I don’t have a problem. I mean, I’m not that overweight.
  • It’s not that big a deal. I can quit whenever I want.

So, I was at a party and ate a glorious looking homemade chocolate chip cookie.

And it tasted terrible.

No, really. Not because it wasn’t baked with love. Because my taste buds have changed.

So the next time you hear me talking about sugar like I’m a typical drug addict, gently remind me of this post and my quest for better health. Because in the end, I want to be the 85 year old grandma playing with my great grandkids in the park, and not the one they visit every month in the old folks’ home.

Brain Healthy Chocolate Fix Smoothie

This is my go-to daily chocolate fix. No sugar, just wonderful chocolatey goodness!
You’ll notice I don’t include measurements. Mostly because I fly by the seat of my pants when I mix this together, adding whatever goodness is in the fridge and strikes my fancy. I like to make this in my little Bullet blender – it makes a perfect one serving size that way.

Layer into blender:

Optional:

  • handful of spinach leaves or other greens (you won’t even taste them, I promise!)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 frozen or fresh avocado (makes it lusciously thick and creamy)
  • scoop of egg white protein powder for added protein

Blend and ENJOY!

Variations & Update: Doggone it! My recent blood test shows high triglycerides and I therefore must be more careful about my fruit intake. Bananas (my daily favorite) are a no-go for awhile because of their high glycemic content. So, I substituted half an apple and this was almost as good as the original!

Scarcity or Abundance? It’s a Mindset

I knew I was going to make some changes. Just not YET, I thought.
Well, it’s time. It’s more than time. It’s downright urgent. I have a family history of women living to be 90 and above, and if I am going to do the same while living a full and vibrant life, I’d better get serious about changing up the things that will keep me from that life.

As I’ve said before, just thinking about making changes gets you nowhere. Not until I give a voice to those changes will things begin to happen. So I did. I announced to the world that I’d answered a challenge by Dr. Daniel Amen and his wife, Tana, to become a Brain Warrior. In doing so, I will be doing all I can to avoid Alzheimer’s, heart disease & diabetes – among so many other things.

The date was set. Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

And then what did I do? Knowing what was coming I proceeded to eat the sugar, the popcorn, the chips, the ___________ (anything and everything) so that by the time the 4th came, I’d gained 3 pounds and was feeling very sluggish. I wasn’t going to let that cute couple with the healthy brains take away my happy food!

Except it didn’t make me happy. The sugar gave me headaches and restless sleep. The popcorn and chips made me feel bloated, and the extra pounds made me frown every time I got dressed to leave the house. But darn it, I wasn’t deprived!

Or was I?

The sense that I would never, ever, ever eat anything “good” again sent me reeling into a cesspool of a scarcity mindset. It won’t matter if I eat this handful of chocolate chips, or these few Hershey’s Kisses left over from Easter, or a couple of chips with some salsa, or. Or. OR. Especially since I won’t ever eat anything good again.

Emotional eating is a curious thing. It creeps up on you when you thought you had your resolve conquered. I mean, I know the right things to eat. I’ve done the Whole 30 Plan before. Quite successfully, in fact. But man, do I get blindsided by the sight of a chocolate tidbit.

It turns out Mindset is the number one item on Daniel and Tana Amen’s mastery list. And it’s a biggie. Without the right mindset, I can’t make progress. That nasty boogie man called scarcity will rear his ugly head and take me down.

What I learned tonight from Tana Amen, is that this program is not about deprivation – it’s about abundance.

Fruit.

Abundance.

Oh.

Abundance?

I like that word. It makes me feel vibrant and alive. It gives me a handle on my business. It makes me a better wife, mom and grandma. It makes me a better me.

Leaving behind the scarcity mindset to walk in abundance is a choice I’m making. Starting now.

Let’s do this together – you can join the livestream by signing up here. Six months from now you’ll thank your healthier self.

Twenty years from now you’ll thank you even more.

 

Give Voice to a Fuller Life

I love springtime. It brings the promise of new life and change. At any given moment, the new songs of birds and vibrant colors of budding flowers saturate the senses. I was granted life in springtime, which may be why I love it so much.
Seasons come and go in life. Like the coming of spring, a new season has been brewing in me for awhile now and just when I’m reaching the age when many women slow down, I’m feeling a desire to ramp things up.

Life. Isn’t it funny? Change is inevitable, and we can either embrace it, or fight it. We can grow with it, or stunt our growth by kicking and screaming our way to oblivion. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic. Think about it, though… don’t you know that person who just wants to quit on life? To just sit and vegetate for the rest of his or her days? I do.

But that’s not me. And if you’re reading this, I suspect that’s not you either.

We know we need to change and grow. It’s a strong desire we think about. A lot. What I’ve found though, is a chasm of disconnect between the knowing and the doing.  I know I need to lose a few pounds. I know I need to organize my life. I know I need to allow for some down time to relax and recharge. But do I DO it? Nope. Not whole-heartedly, anyway.

It’s nice to think about changing myself. I envision what it would be like to be my ideal (for me) weight and shop for clothes without disgust. I think about how efficient I would be if my office was tidy. I love the idea of how much my mind would be cleared if I got rid of some of the clutter in my home. I fantasize about taking a day off to play with my grandson without feeling like I have a ton of things that need to be accomplished.

A month later, I’m still thinking. There is no doing. And in all of this thinking and not doing, I’ve learned something very important: I have to speak the change I want to happen. It must have a voice. Thinking about it to myself gets me absolutely nowhere. Goals and visions for my future must be written down and spoken to allow for my conscious brain to actually get it, and begin moving towards the changes I seek.

voicing change (1)

Okay, so let’s make a deal: I’m in if you are. I’m 57 years old today and I’ve got big dreams and plans. None of it will happen unless I take the leap of giving a voice to those things that must change in order to reach those dreams. I’d like a fuller life, but there’s some stuff in the way. How about we work together on voicing change to a fuller life?

That sounds pretty good.

Today is my birthday and it’s time for a change. I’m giving it a voice.