• User AvatarMiriam McKenzie
  • 27 Aug, 2022
  • 3 Mins Read

Easing Frustrations and Stress

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, our voice is a powerful means of communication. How we articulate sounds, our pitch, tone, pace, use of pause, emphasis and inflection all communicate many cues as to who we are, where we come from and even what our intentions are. How do you come across? Whether intentionally or not.

We can project our power, or perhaps lack of it, through our voice and those who listen to us can make judgments about many aspects of our life and whether they are ‘buying in’ to what we are saying. Do you feel like you have a voice around the board room? In meetings? Or even around the kitchen table?

Communicating effectively is a life- long skill. We build our confidence when we correctly articulate sounds, pronounce words and speak with an effective voice that is heard clearly, is interesting to listen to and above all wins us what we are seeking.

It can be incredibly frustrating when you feel you are not being heard (instructions get ignored is one example of not being heard). It is equally frustrating and embarrassing when we are not understood (pardon, I couldn’t understand what you said, is a common response when you are not understood).

When we face ongoing stress in our lives, this can have a huge impact on our voice. Two years I lost my voice and in hindsight (funny thing that), I should’ve paid more attention as to what it is all about. It wasn’t ideal when training others how to speak clearly, confidently and with authority is your actual business. So, how did this happen? And how do I make sure it doesn’t happen again.

#1. I haven’t taken care of my vocal cords. I haven’t stayed hydrated enough primarily and I haven’t been projecting my voice in the correct way. 8 glasses of water a day is what I need to stay hydrated unless I’m speaking a lot or exercising. Do you know how much water a day you should be drinking?

#2. I have been speaking for too long and too often – I haven’t rested enough. Sometimes by the end of the day I’m whispering. In my schedule I usually have chunks of time to do tasks that don’t include speaking.

#3. I have trying to do too much, take on too many projects that I can’t really fit into my day without something else being squeezed out or down AND not sticking to my knitting, taking on projects that are irrelevant to my business. But they sound fun! Unless someone gets injured. Ahem.

#4. I haven’t said no. Similar to #3 but different in that I haven’t been honest. Sure, I can do that. When you do want to start? Ummm, well, I don’t really do that anymore but why not? Just this once.

In other words, I haven’t been honest. What I should be saying is this – “My business doesn’t offer that service anymore, try this one”.

#5 Because of all the rush and stress going on my breathing has become inverted. Breathing into by chest as opposed to my diaphragm. This is speaking 101 and I have gone way off on some tangent and this ‘lost voice’ is saying ‘come back, we need you here’.

Over the following year did I follow my own advice? Not the important ones – #3 and #4 but that’s changed now, thankfully.

If you are feeling a bit frustrated or anxious about how you are being listened to and respected take some time to reflect on the ‘why’. Most importantly, practise your breathing!

Nga mihi, Miriam.