By Arthur Samuel Joseph, Broadcast Trainer & Founder of the Vocal Awareness Institute
Do you ever think about what it is to be an empowered communicator?
Do you ever think about how to be the best speaker you can be?
Do you even know how?
Do you aspire to this?
If so, please keep reading. Reading this will enable you to access one of the most unique and strategic communication techniques you will ever learn: Visceral Language — how to make your voice visual. Literally, not figuratively, seeing every single thing you say on the virtual computer screen of your mind’s eye as you say it.
Over 52 years ago I created Vocal Awareness with this basic thesis: Empowerment Through Voice. The goal is communication mastery.
Voice is Power. When you own your voice, you own your power. You create the opportunity to master every personal encounter, every conversation, as well as public address. It is important to understand that Visceral Language is not merely a presentational or performance tool, it is an embodiment tool which enables us to be who we are and never again present who we are.
I am a classically trained singer and share this bit of personal background because every piece of music tells a singer or a musician everything they need to know and everything they need to do — what notes to sing, what dynamics, how long to hold a word/sound, how to articulate/express a word, et. al. Even when a jazz musician improvises, that too, is based on a visual structure.
In daily discourse, let alone prepared remarks, i.e. Power Point presentations or public addresses, all we have are words with no visual structure that tells us how loud/how soft to speak; what type of emotion to evoke; what we personally want to embody, such as how an actor in a performance embodies his/her character or a singer interprets a song.
Stellar examples of the successful embodiment of Visceral Language combined with the panoply of Vocal Awareness techniques are reflected in two National Football League Hall of Fame speeches I helped craft and taught my students Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith to deliver. These speeches can be viewed online for reference.
Michael’s speech at the time of his induction was compared to Lou Gehrig’s Yankee Stadium farewell speech as one of the greatest sports speeches of all time. Their speeches were 22 and 28 minutes long, fully annotated in Visceral Language and completely memorized.
One performance goal was to be a champion who transcends football, not merely a football champion. Their on-stage appearances were preceded with vocal warm-ups to help them maximize their vocal ability and enable them to embody the authenticity of who they are.
The Visceral Language technique created a visual structure that provided emotional range and performance freedom as well as imbued them with confidence. This in turn enabled them to ‘definitively embody the messenger not merely deliver the message’.
As communicators/speakers, we do not approach public speaking or any form of communication with developmental tools or goals as singers and actors do, in part because we do not recognize that spoken communication, outside of a theatrical context, is an art form and, to my knowledge, before Vocal Awareness no one ever thought to compare the spoken word to a musical line. Visceral Language fundamentally changes communication strategy by giving one the ability to ‘see it all’.
In written speech punctuation, such as commas and periods, is the only visual guide we are given and so, lacking both tools and training, we are oblivious to the responsibilities and opportunities to embed the same artistic/creative principles because speech is habit. We do not even think about it.
What this in turn leads to, no matter how hard we try or how much we may desire to be better, is our communication potential is truncated because we lack basic skills — such as, all performing artists warm up their voices/their instruments and, something as fundamental as that rarely occurs even for the most seasoned public speaker. In Vocal Awareness vocal training, beginning with warming up our instrument is mandated before acquiring Visceral Language skills.
Making time to understand, practice and learn Visceral Language is a transformative undertaking — a paradigm shift and a key component that enables anyone from beginner to the most seasoned public speaker to unlock the Rubik’s Cube of communication mastery.
A version of this piece was originally published on Entrepreneur.com.
Arthur will be teaching two classes at the AAJA conference in Las Vegas on Thursday, August 11th and space is very limited so be sure to sign up right away.
Arthur has also provided a special discount just for AAJA members for his online training package. Simply use the coupon code AAJA2016 for a 20 percent discount.