Many of us may take it for granted, but the quality of our voice plays a huge role in our lives- both business and personal. The sound of your voice is oftentimes the basis of someone’s first impression of you. And as such, your voice plays a critical role in your sales and marketing. How you speak and how you present yourself on stage determines to a large degree how persuasive your presentation or sales pitch will be.
It only takes a split second for your prospects or audience to decide whether you’re credible, interesting, and worthy of their time. Would you believe that if you’re not happy with the voice you have now, you can change it and become a better communicator? It’s true.
My guest for this episode number 216 is Roger Love. He’s recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on voice, and his clients include Tony Robbins, John Mayer, Selena Gomez, Brendon Burchard, Simon Sinek, Reese Witherspoon, and Bradley Cooper, to name a few.
My wife, Orion, and I had the pleasure of attending one of Roger’s events earlier this year, called Voice of Success, and we were blown away! We learned so much valuable stuff from the multi-day curriculum that I had to have Roger on this show. He’s actually already been a guest on my other show Get Yourself Optimized – episode 68 – and that too is an amazing episode, so check it out. In this episode, we are going to learn from Roger what it takes to become a better speaker and communicator, so that you can share your message as powerfully as possible and change the world in the process.
On with the show!
Roger, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
This isn’t the first time we had a conversation like this. You were on my other show a few years ago on Get Yourself Optimized. Boy, that was a hugely valuable interview. Now, I come armed with even more questions and more insights into what you do and the magic that you do. I’ve attended your Voice of Success Program which is a multi-day program deep-dived into a lot of your curriculum. It is awesome. I am just so floored. My wife, Orion, and I, both attended. It changed how we speak and how we present on stage. Thank you for that.
That’s beautiful. People come and they think they’re going to spend three days with a voice coach. They have no idea what a voice coach might do for them. They come with all kinds of interesting expectations. When they realized how important voice is to every single aspect of their life—business, personal, including self-confidence—I think they are caught up in the magic of it and it’s a great experience.
To see people transform in front of our very eyes that was the most impactful. I got so much knowledge from it like the chest voice, the vocal warm-ups, and all of that that we’ll go into. To see people who were willing to put themselves out there, get on stage, and show how bad they were at speaking, or singing, or presenting, to have you just change their posture or have them speak from a different part of their body to resonate more. I was just floored. People saw the before and after right in front of their eyes. That was almost unrecognizable. It’s really cool.
Awesome. I think people have the misconception that they are born with the voice that they have today. I explained to people that you were born with an instrument but how you learn to play that instrument wisely or unmusically is what created the voice that you have right now.
In the beginning, we’re just imitating all the sounds that are around us. If my dad speaks like this and he only wants to do is cut down lumber. If my mom speaks like this, and she’s just really airy. Then, I start to imitate those voices because I am dependent upon those people to survive. I want to be fed. I want to be carried so I ended up sounding like my dad and mom.
Then, all of a sudden, I’m an adult. I think that’s my voice. I literally take people wherever they’re at and say, “No. You can have any voice that you want. Maybe your voice isn’t working for you right now, so let’s tweak it.” Again, people are so surprised that we can make dramatic changes in someone’s voice the way they are perceived in seconds.
I think for our listeners who are thinking, “Okay, how does this relate to marketing and sales?” It is so pertinent because your voice is usually your first impression. Maybe they see you first for a microsecond. Then, words start coming out. They make a split-second decision about whether this person is credible, worthy of their time, authoritative, interesting, engaging, fun, and all of that, right?
No matter what kind of marketing you want to do, you have to understand that science now supports what I’ve been saying for about 30 years. The way to move people emotionally, the way to get what you’re saying into their brains so they can decide if they like your marketing or even like you, is not based on words anymore. The idea that if you have the right words that people will like you, care about you, and buy your product, that’s just not scientific anymore.
Now, we know how the brain works. The brain processes emotional information first before it even thinks about anything logical. The brain thinks that sounds are emotional and words are not emotional. If I say, “Hey, I want you to go on a date with my brother. He’s fine.” Then, you’re like, “Oh, did you even say anything to me?” But if I said, “Do you want to go on a date with my brother? He’s fine.” Then the brain says, “Show me a picture. Can we do it on Thursday? I’m ready for lunch today.”When you understand that the brain processes emotion first, you'll realize that sounds, not words, is how you get people to listen. Click To Tweet
When you understand how the brain works, that it processes emotion first, and you’ll understand that that’s sounds, not words. If you’re not thinking about the sounds you’re making, forget about the words. They’re never going to get into the brain and never going to be remembered. You’re never going to move people to action and you’re never going to change what people think.
One of the most persuasive people who change how we all think is Tony Robbins. You had a huge impact on him. That’s actually how I first heard about you. It wasn’t through Jay Abraham who you were mutual friends with but with Tony Robbins.
What did you do to adjust what Tony was doing so that it saved his voice—his vocal cords—because he speaks so much. His voice has become raspy and he was going to lose his voice altogether if he didn’t make some changes. Thankfully, he got your help and he still has his voice. What were the few magic things that you did that changed everything for him?
Tony is very unique. His voice is also very unique. When Tony, in high school, shot up to the height that he is and had an interesting chemical balance issue that happened in his body, his vocal cords got huge, his larynx got huge, and his Adam’s apple got huge at the same time. That brought along with it his own set of issues and problems. That’s not a normal voice. A lot of that huskiness that he’s had since then is due to the fact that it’s almost based on the same reason that he’s so tall and he’s so big because his vocal cords grew gigantic very fast.
He came to me for the number one reason that most people come to me because they want to talk a lot because they have good business and relationships to make. They lose their voice. He was losing his voice just the same way Brendon Burchard was losing his voice. Just the same way any of the famous celebrities, actors, marketing people, business CEOs, come to me. Their first thinking, “I really want to speak all the time and I lose my voice.” I make it that no one ever has to lose their voice.
The human voice is set up to speak 24 hours a day and never get hoarse. When you’re fast asleep and dreaming, you’re screaming to your favorite soccer team, “Go! Go!” And no sound is coming out of your mouth, your vocal cords are still vibrating actually. There’s almost no period of inactivity where your vocal cords are completely at rest and the body is set up to speak using 24 hours a day. If you can’t you’re doing something wrong.
What are you doing wrong that needs to be adjusted?
A lot of times, you’re not sending the right amount of air to the vocal cords. Most people are actually holding their breath when they’re speaking. That’s why they talk like this, this is what’s called a vocal fry or squeaky because they’re holding their breath all the time. The vocal cords are slamming into each other without the cushion of having air coming through. Most people lose their voices because they don’t know how to exhale the right amount of air. They’re holding their breaths.
As soon as I teach them what they don’t know about diaphragmatic breathing because most people are sick and tired of hearing the phrase “diaphragmatic breathing”. They’re like, “What else is there?” But they don’t understand that the key to diaphragmatic breathing, how it relates to speaking, is that your only supposed to speak while your stomach is coming in. You’re supposed to pretend that there’s a balloon in your tummy and your tummy comes forward as if that was filled with air.
The key element is to only speak while your stomach is coming in. That sends the right amount of air to the vocal cords. That’s why people have beautiful, strong, rich, voices and never lose them. Most people are just holding their stomachs tight, trying to look good in a bikini or in a bathing suit, and they’re not getting any air to the chords. That’s what makes them hoarse.
I’m sure this is related, too. People will keep talking even though they’ve run out of air. Then, they start sounding pretty weird because there’s nothing happening with the breath. There’s no power with the words coming out.
Exactly, right. People think they’re getting paid by the word. If they just added a few more words at the end, they’ll be able to close the deal, but they ran out of air six, seven, eight, words ago. They’re still going.
I love how you can totally get into the personality of the person. Another thing this reminds me of from the Voice of Success is when you were having people use more edge. I had no idea what that edge was and why was it important. The transformation of somebody putting more edge in their voice when they had an airy voice or something that was not quite right, it didn’t land for people. They didn’t sound credible or whatever and they add more edge in, holy cow! That was amazing. Can you talk more about that?
Sure. When the right amount of air meets the right amount of vocal cord, it creates a great, thick, strong, beautiful, and emotional sound. Most people either have not enough air coming out where it goes to that vocal fry, which we just talked about. Or, they have too much air coming out thinking that air is care. Thinking, “If I just had more air in my voice, I’d be so sexy. I’d be able to sell anything. People would just listen to me and think I really care. I’m so nice.” That airy sound actually is one of the worst sounds you can make some of the time. When you speak really airy, that air comes out of your mouth and just dissipates in the air. The people who are listening to you don’t feel any power or strength. They just think that you’re just all fluff. They can take advantage of you.
Also, when you speak really airy, it dries out your vocal cords so much like you were sucking on a blow dryer. All that air dries out the moisture on your vocal cords. Speaking airy might be really nice if you happen to be in the bedroom close to kissing someone. But, it doesn’t work in the boardroom. It doesn’t work when someone is more than two inches away from you. Then, you need to have enough edge in the voice.
When I say, edge, while my stomach is coming in. So I’m getting the right amount of air and edge, I feel like a buzz in the back part of my throat. That buzz is a good thing. That edge is a good thing. It moves further away from me and it literally vibrates the bodies of anyone that can hear me. Having an edge is great. Having all the air is not as great as people think.
That also reminds me of you had an Aussie on stage, an Australian with the musicality but it’s in the wrong ways. Every single word kind of ends with an upwards thing. I don’t know how to describe it but you described it perfectly when you were on stage. Could you describe the problem with that kind of accent and how you adjusted it right in front of our eyes?
Sure. First of all, it’s not wrong. The Australian regionalism accent, that has beautiful musicality to it. What’s happened over the years is the public has read all these ridiculous articles not written by musicians or voice coaches about a concept called up talk or valley talk. What those articles really say is they caution people about going up in melody to a higher note when they get to the last syllable of a sentence thinking that if you go up, then everything you say sounds like a question. They don’t want you to sound like a question because maybe it’s not a question. If you’re saying, “I want you to buy this,” maybe you don’t want it to be a question in the listener’s mind.
All of these people from all of these articles are afraid of this concept called up talk. Australians, many of them, they do go up as it gets to the last syllable of the sentence. “I’m from Australia where we talk with a lot of melodies.” A lot of times it goes up in the end and it does sound like a question. That’s not the evil of it.
Here’s the difference between up talk and valley talk. Valley talk is bad. Uptalk is fantastic. Here’s the difference. When people speak and they slide up to the last syllable, “It’s okay, Steven. I still want to talk, Stephan. It’s okay, Stephan. If I call you the wrong name, it was a question anyway?” You answered back, “No, no. It’s Stephan, Roger.” It totally worked. Instead of scooping which does sound bad, it’s okay for you to go up.
Listen to the difference. I’m going to scoop, bad. “I love my wife. I love chocolate. Today is Thursday.” Bad. Here, I’m going to go up. It’s just to a higher note. “I love my wife. Today is Thursday. I love chocolate.” It doesn’t beget a question. It doesn’t make you think that I’m asking a question. Going to a higher note is fine as long as you don’t scoop up.
Can you imagine somebody knocking on the grave of Mozart, waking him up, and telling them that in his musical compositions, he cannot go up right before a silent part, right before a rest? Mozart, that would wake him up from the dead. He’d slap you and tell you that’s ridiculous. “I’ll go up and down wherever the music needs to go.”
We don’t need to be afraid of up talk or sounding like we’re scooping. We just need to be aware that we can go to the higher notes anytime we want. We just can’t scoop up because then we’ll sound like we’re from the valley, that Frank Zappa was our father, and that our name is Moon Unit Zappa—the daughter of Frank Zappa—who’s actually credited with valley talk.
That’s awesome. I did not know that bit of trivia. Thank you for that. I actually live in a valley now.
See? Now you know. People ask me this. There’s a joke. They say, “What’s the fastest way to the valley?” The answer is to marry a musician.Changing the way you sound can change the way that everyone perceives you. If you want people to see you as confident, knowledgeable, and trustworthy, then sound like a person who is all those things. Click To Tweet
That’s awesome. One of the most powerful things you can do with up talk is to keep control of the conversation if you are, let’s say, getting interviewed, and you don’t want to get interrupted by the host of the TV show. I just used that very technique so that I could continue my sentences.
You’re a genius. Most people are taught to go down when they get to a comma or go down when they get to a period. Down in volume and also down to a lower note. That’s what our teachers taught us in grade school. When you go down, it actually makes the other person think that you’re finished, that you don’t have anything else to say and that it’s their turn.
Here, you’re doing an interview, and you’re being interviewed. You have all these great things that you want to share. The person who’s doing the interview interrupts the speaker all the time, and then the speaker’s wondering why that’s happening. Because you’re giving musical and vocal signals that you’re done. I say, “Stephan, not talking about this.” “I really like eggs.”
As soon as I go down, you’ll think, “Roger must be finished.” You’re going to say, “What do you like about eggs?” I say, “I really like the color.” Then, I come down. Again, you think that’s your queue. If I don’t go down, “Stephan, I really like the color. It makes me feel so happy. It reminds me of the morning.” Then, you know that I’m not done. You’ll wait and not even think of interrupting me because my melody didn’t go down.
Nailed it. That’s awesome. That alone is worth the price of admission right there for our dear listeners. Employ that and you’ll have much more control over the conversation of when you want to pass the baton and not just whenever the host or the interviewers wanting to interrupt. That’s awesome.
Now, I took many pages of notes at the Voice of Success. I did this on my little remarkable pad here. This thing is awesome. Have you seen this?
I have seen it and I liked it.
I love it. It’s so cool. If you’re just listening, you’re not seeing the video, this is kind of like an iPad but it doesn’t have glare. It doesn’t have all the distractibility of an iPad or anything like that. I can’t surf the web. I can’t do an email on this or anything. It just got this really cool little stylus with a felt tip—a replaceable tip. I took exactly 28 pages of notes from a few days.
This is gold. I’ve referred back to this stuff multiple times. Surely, I must have because I’m able to recall stuff like edge and vocal warmups. The thing is if you want to really learn something, learn it with the intention of teaching it to others. I wanted to share this information that I was learning at your event with my kids, especially my oldest who speaks at conferences. I wanted to get other people who I’m helping, consulting and coaching to change their voice and I recommended you multiple times. Hopefully, some of them will take me up on the recommendation to go to some of your events.
Let’s just pick something from here that I think is intriguing but by itself, people would be like, “Huh? What does this mean?” “Googs and gags are our mantra.” I wrote that down. Somebody who’s listening to this is probably thinking, “What the heck is that? Why is that valuable? Why is that a write-downer?” Can you elaborate?
I have my students do warmups multiple times during the week. Short, five minutes, seven minutes, they could be driving in a car. They could do it in a shower. These warmups are designed to show the vocals chords exactly where they need to be. To go all the way up and down. To be strong, thick, and be healthy all day. They’re designed to get the air moving in your body and send the right amount of air to the vocal cords.
These warmups are things that I have people do to make their voices better. It’s like scales on a piano. You want to be a pianist then you go to the piano teacher. They have you doing these ridiculous scales. They have you do it for hours and hours, days and days, years and years , to get some facility going. You’re thinking, “Oh, can I just play a song?” The good news is the voice doesn’t take hours and hours of exercises. In minutes, you can warm up your voice for the next 22 hours that you might be up and speaking.
Some of my exercises sound like “gag” and “goog” where we go, “Goog, goog, goog, goog, goog.” And we do, “Gag, gag, gag, gag, gag, gag.” And sounds that you wouldn’t normally think would come out of your mouth. I designed these warmups to be time effective so that after a few minutes, all of a sudden, you’re strong and loud. You can go high. You can go low. If you were hoarse, or scratchy, or you had all of this phlegm, and you’re always clearing your throat, suddenly, five or six minutes later you’re like, “Man, I feel so powerful and strong. The sounds that are coming out on me makes me feel better. I can now present myself on the rest of the day the way I want to be heard.” Goog and gag being the mantra of my vocal warmups.
That is awesome. I can’t tell you how many times the vocal warmups that you created and are actually available for free, surprisingly on YouTube, you got the male voice version, and the female voice version, I would go do those warmups before pretty much any major speech. I did a bunch of recording for sizzle reel and doing those warmups. People will look at me outside as they’re coming into the building. They’d see me go, “Goog, goog, goog, goog.” Then, they’re like, “What the heck is going on down there?” I don’t care because I want to be in my best top form. It’s totally worth it.
There’s so much more than just these few minutes of vocal warmups. You have a whole online course about this, all the kinds of things you need to do to up your game in terms of your speaking and singing.
Absolutely. The first thing that people need to understand is that they’ve probably tried everything else to be more successful. They’ve got new credentials and they’re reading new books. They’re believing that this method or that method will get them to the next level of their success, whatever success is to them. They have never thought about their voices.
Voice is the first thing that you need to fix before you present anything—your ideas, your concepts, your products—to any market. You have to think about your voice because people are not judging you based on the words. They’re judging you based on the sounds you make. They’re deciding whether they want to listen to anything else you have to say after a few seconds.
The warmup exercises and all of the content that I’ve created for the last 30 years working with the biggest, most famous voices in the world. Tony Robbins says all the way up to Bradley Cooper to the Reese Witherspoon, to CEOs of every company on the Fortune 50 list. These people have realized that they already tried all the traditional methods of achieving mass success as it relates to presentation, influence, and communication. They look to voice.
I’m always about, how can I take everything that I’ve learned that I’ve created, but also, everything I’ve learned from working with all of these amazing, famous voices, and put it into a program that people can really spend small, tiny, bits of amount of time with but make massive changes? Yes, there’s plenty of free content available on the internet. Those people that want to really, not just wander down a road and want actually to have somebody drive them down the road because they don’t have time to waste, should consider going to my program, The Perfect Voice. The website is theperfectvoice.com.
As a matter of fact, I came with gifts today because I want to give people the vocal makeover that they didn’t know they needed but you and I know they needed because we hear the difference between a great voice and a voice that’s just surviving to be successful. I’m offering $50 off of the program which is already incredibly affordable. $50 off makes it a no-brainer choice. You should go to theperfectvoice.com/buy. I’m sure you’ll provide that link for them as well.
You should make a tiny commitment to what you need to be your next level of success by changing the way you sound and that changes the way that everyone perceives you and gives you control over. How people perceive you and give you the ability to move people emotion-by-emotion instead of word-by-word. It allows you finely to do what you need to do to become successful, that is the controlled outcome of every communication you have. When you move people emotion-by-emotion, because of the sound of your voice, you get to the end of the conversation, you get to the end of the pitch, you get to the end of all communication, and you can have the result that you wanted to, instead of all of your words falling on deaf ears.
It’s so overlooked, this aspect of presentation or even just of your presence in the market place to have musicality, to have control of the room, to know that your speech is actually resonating with their eardrums. This is another powerful thing I learned from you is to think of the words and the tonality and everything that you’re conveying out of your mouth as something that is being transferred and received by your listener and your audience in a very tangible form. There are molecules that are vibrating because of your voice that are vibrating for them.When you move people emotionally because of the sound of your voice, you get to have more control of the dialogue and achieve the result that you want, instead of all of your words falling on deaf ears. Click To Tweet
Let me say that in a different way. Your voice is a gift that you’re supposed to learn and then give it away. What I mean by that is also the phrase, “Speaking is a physical connection, not just an audible connection.” When you speak, sound comes out of your mouth in the form of invisible sound waves and is supposed to vibrate the bodies of the listeners. Those vibrations, some of them go into the ears but they also affect the whole body. When you’re talking to someone, you’re connected in a physical way. Those vibrations are totally connected to emotions that you can feel and the listeners can feel.
If you don’t have all of the melodies, all of the pitches, and all the highs and lows, they’re only going to feel one emotion and you’re not going to be physically connected. People think that voice is for singers. You want to be a superstar singer, you got to learn how to use your voice. When you look at superstar singers, the way they’re using their voices, they influenced many people so emotionally.
All I did was after spending 17 years teaching superstar singers, I decided that I could do the same thing for speakers and that speakers could make the sounds that would vibrate the bodies of all of their listeners and influence them emotionally. You could have the same influence that superstar singers have and just be a speaker and have it be a noble, amazing, sound that really achieves success for you and moves people emotionally.
This applies most especially if you’re on a stage and you have an in-person live audience. It also applies if you have a podcast, a radio show, or you’re doing a webinar. If somebody is not really receiving the strength of your voice or the authority of it, their bodies are not vibrating. Maybe it’s not even your fault because the volume is turned lower, whatever. But you have an opportunity to dial it in for them as much as you can given the constraints to that situation.
In fact, you have a podcast now. Do you want to tell our listeners a bit about it and why you started podcasting? Again, free content you’re putting out there like the Youtube videos and you’re a very busy and successful guy who has blue-chip companies and the largest celebrities on the planet contacting you asking for help. Why spend time on the podcast? What’s in it for you and for the listener?
Well, what’s in it for me is I have this little tiny dream that I can’t let go of and that is I want to save the world. The only way I could do it is one voice at a time. My job is to create a bigger voice family all the time. I think if we all had the sounds we’re supposed to have, then we’d break down all the differences that we have in religion, in politics, and “You’re so different than I am, I’m so different than you and we don’t agree on the same thing.” If we all made sounds that showcase the best of ourselves, I really think the world would sound better, people would get along better and I would be saving the world.
The podcast gives me another opportunity to be wherever people are listening. They’ll be in their car and they’ll be listening to the podcast. When the company, I Heart Media, approached me, they’re like, “Roger, we want to save the world and we think that your voice is a big component and that is well.” I decided that it was a perfect partnership. Wherever you’re listening to my podcast now, it’s called Love Your Voice.
When you make the sounds you’re supposed to, other people will love listening to you and you will finally love your voices than being a hater every time you hear yourself speak. I’m excited about giving this much free content as I possibly can to people. They’ll sound better so that everyone’s happy and everyone’s achieving greater success.
Awesome. You mentioned something that really resonates with me. One thing that really resonated from what you just said that I want to explore a little bit more—I have a feeling that some of our listeners can relate to this as well—is not really enjoying the sound of your own voice much better than I was. I still don’t like watching my own speeches. I do listen to my own podcast because I love the content, the guests and everything, so I listen to my own show, but I don’t like listening to the recordings of myself that much, I don’t fall in love with my own voice. I’m working on that but I have a feeling that there are folks listening who can relate to that. What would you tell them to do as a first step to start really loving their voice, besides, of course, subscribing to your podcast?
The answer is most people on the planet do not, in any way, love their voice. As a matter of fact, I’ve made a little game over the last 30-40 years that I’ve been teaching voice and asking the most famous voices I have ever worked with. The superstars, singers, the Stevie Wonders, the Luther Vandrosses, the Barbra Streisands of the world, and every singer you could possibly imagine. I ask them, “Do you like your voice? Do you think you have a good voice?” Not one of them has ever told me, “Yes, I think I have a good voice. I really like listening to it.” The most they would say is, “Oh, it’s just big,” or, “Oh, it’s just high,” or, “It’s just loud.” Understand that most people, even the people that have amazing voices, aren’t used to the difference between how it sounds to them coming out of their mouths and how it sounds recorded back.
When you’re speaking, the way you’re actually judging your voice is in internal bone vibration. There are bones in your skull that are vibrating, that’s how you’re hearing it inside. You might be thinking, “Well, I am James Earl Jones’ voice. I should be doing the handle for CNN International.” But then, other people are listening to you and they think you sound like Minnie Mouse. It would be, “CNN International.” When you listened back, you would think you sound like Minnie Mouse but when you were vibrating inside your head, you’re like, “I am the king of the universe or the queen of the world.” We’re not used to hearing ourselves because we don’t record ourselves that much.
You get a new phone and you record a new voicemail message, you’re like, “This phone is going to be great. It’s got 53 cameras of every angle and I can change the color of the world with this phone.” You record your voicemail message and you listened back and it sounds like this, “Mwa, mwa, mwa, mwa.” Because you’re not used to recording yourself.
First of all, I believed everyone should record themselves speaking at least once a week for a few minutes so that they get used to it. With these things in mind, you probably don’t speak loud enough, so speak a little louder. You think you’re shouting but other people are just starting to hear you when you speak a little louder. The other thing is speak with a little bit of melody, pretend that you’re singing. You can’t just stay on one note the whole time. “No, I’m excited. No, I’m angry. No, I’m happy.” This is called monotone.
One time a week that you’re recording your voice, you need to try to add some melody like, “I’m walking up the stairs,” or, “I’m walking down the stairs.” Don’t always just stay on one step hoping the world and good business partners are going to come to you. You need to speak louder, you need to have more melody, you need to practice only speaking while you’re stomach is coming in which gives you more volume and gives you more melody because there’s more air to play with.
Start recording yourself, get off the one step monotone boring the rest of the world, start adding melody to the voice, and you’re already on a track that is miles ahead of everyone else who isn’t even thinking about the way they sound. Get my program, the Perfect Voice, and learn how to find to give yourself that makeover, the vocal makeover that you didn’t think you needed but you absolutely need it.Speaking is a physical connection, not just an audible connection. Sound is energy produced within and shared outside of you and that makes the sound you make crucial in terms of how people respond to you. Click To Tweet
I remember years ago, I went to this super famous manager and I said, “I want to meet with you.” He already sent me a million clients like George Michael and The Heyday, and all these big stars that he had, and the Matchbox Twenty. I said, “I want to set up a meeting,” and I showed up at his office. He says, “What can I for you, Roger?” I said, “I want you to be my manager.” He said, “Okay. I’m your manager. What do you want me to do? I said, “I want you to call up all your superstar clients and tell them that they need voice lessons.” He said, “Roger, if I call up all my superstar clients and tell them they need voice lessons, they’re going to fire me as manager because they’re going to think I’m telling them that they are bad, that their voices are bad. They’re going to think I’m insulting them.”
The reason I tell that story is because somebody needs to step up and say, “You’re not making the most of the greatest communication tool that you were born with, your voice.” Somebody needs to say, “Stop hating on your voice and change it. Then, watch the way that the world hears the new you. Watch the way that they react to you, watch how your business and every relationship and communication is amplified times 10 in a positive direction.” Somebody needs to say, “It’s time to focus on your voice and I’m very happy to be that person.”
It reminds me of something I learned from Michael Port and that is, “You’re not speaking, you’re performing.” If you used the musicality, the tone, pausing appropriately and all that sort of stuff, like the pregnant pause, just having them wait on your next word. Using all that, you’re giving a performance. You’re not giving a speech anymore. That was a big paradigm shift for me.
What are your thoughts about working in throw-away words like, “like,” or “um,” or “uh,” or “you know.” I know you have strong opinions about that. Why don’t you share it with us?
I do. I have very strong opinions. I say, “Um is du-umb.” No matter how smart you are when you speak, the second you add a filler such as um, or uh, or like, or you know, when they don’t know, they need you to tell them. The second you add a filler, you suddenly sound infinitely less intelligent. Why do we want to make ourselves less intelligent? How is that going to achieve any great communication outcome?
These fillers are the devil to communication. They are destroying language as we should use it on the planet. They’re making everyone seem so much less intelligent. Instead of all of those fillers, um, uh, and like, this is a great place for you to make silence. Do you know that every great musical composer in the world spends just as much time figuring where the notes are, as to where the rest are? Where the silence spots are? So, if you take, “Ba-ba-ba-bam, Ba-ba-ba-bam.” And you took out the rest and you just say, “ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-bum,” and you’ll be like, “What?” What a bunch of dribble notes, too many notes.
Instead of filling blank spaces, say real words and then close your lips, take a breath in. Say real words until you run out of air and then stop, close your lips. Enjoy the silence. Take a breath and only speak while your stomach is coming in using real words. I have techniques to teach people exactly how to eliminate all the fillers so that you’ll never do it again. When my wife and I had our first child, Madison, we thought we were geniuses. We decided that she learn language that we would make her think that um and uh were swear words.
I remember you saying this in an event. That was awesome.
My wife and I, when we had our first child, we thought we were brilliant. We introduced to her, as she learns to speak, that fillers like um and uh were swear words. If she was ever speaking and she said, “Um,” We all go like this, “That’s a bad word. You’re not supposed to swear. There’s no swearing in this house.” Then, she grew up never using fillers.
Here’s the problem that happened later on in life. The teenage world added a new filler that didn’t exist 24 years ago and that one is “like.” Now, all the teenagers are, “Like this, like, like…” We didn’t know that was going to become a filler. She has like-illness which I’ve helped her eliminate.
Literally is another one that is so overused. How often is it literally the thing, right?
People have made and their new fill because they’ll be speaking and then they’ll say, “Aaaaannnd, now I’m talking to you about this. Aaaaannnd, now I want to talk to you about that.” Even and has become a filler. And you knooooowww. You know where this stems from? I’ll tell you if you’re interested.
I would love to know.
Some languages in the world have sounds that let the person who is speaking know that you’re still listening to them. For example, the Japanese language. When someone is speaking in Japanese, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, when that speaker takes a breath, the other person say, “Hai.” So, a Japanese conversation is blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. Hai. Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. Hai. Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. Hai. And hai means yes, “Yes, I heard you. Yes, I’m not asleep. Yes, you haven’t bored me this years. Yes, thank you for talking to me. Yes, thank you.”
We don’t have anything like that in English. We’re speaking and most people are bad speakers, boring speakers, monotone speakers, airy speakers, speakers with no emotion. When all of a sudden we’re speaking with no emotion because that’s the norm, when we get to a comma, we’re afraid that people will just walk away or not want to talk to us anymore because we already don’t like the sound of our voices and we’re thinking, “Why would they like the sound of our voices more than we do?” We get to places where there should be silence and we don’t have the confidence to let there be silence because we’re trying to keep their attention.If we all made sounds that showcase the best of ourselves, I really think the world would sound better, people would get along better and we would be saving the world. Click To Tweet
Or to keep control of the conversation. We’re not using up talk or ending up as a way to keep the attention.
Exactly, right. You’re trying to keep their attention so you’re trying to fill all the spaces but you ended filling them with non-words which confuses the people even more instead of doing what we already said. I’m speaking to you and I get to a comma, I go up. I take a breath. You know I’m not done, you’ll wait for me. There’s anticipation, what’s Roger going to say. Then, I’ll keep doing it until I get to a period, clearly Roger is not done.
We’ll build up anticipation in the same way a composer writes melodies that are called leading tones where they lead you to something. You know the song is not done. Nobody is singing, “The hills are alive, with the sound, of music.” But that’s the way we talk. We don’t need fillers, we just need a better melody to keep people interested.
And fillers lower your perceived IQ.
That’s right. Over the years, you hear how important intelligence is, but what’s been the buzz over the last few years? The thing that is really important is emotional intelligence above actual intelligence. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room, but the most successful people have emotional intelligence.
Can you imagine how much emotional intelligence is related to actual sound in communication? The sounds you make that emotionally move people and the way you listen to other people, the hearing the sounds they make? They used to say the eyes are the window to the soul, but now we know the voice is the window to the soul.
Emotional intelligence, the way to really understand that is to learn to create the sounds that are emotional and learn to listen for the sounds that move you so much higher on the success scale because emotional intelligence rules.
You innovated this thing that you call middle voice, between head voice and chest voice and it has changed the lives of so many of your clients, some of the biggest stars and singers in the world. They didn’t have to lose their voice anymore and strain their voice, took their vocal cords, they had so much more range and they just sounded more awesome on stage and in the recording studio. What is this magical thing called middle voice and why should we care?
Amazing question. I’m so glad you brought that up. Most people think that the maximum number of voices they have are two. What’s called chest voice down looooowww, because if you put your hand down the base part of your neck right here and you say, “Aaaaahhh.” Put it a little higher, literally the very top of your chest right at your neck and you say, “I can, Roger.”
I can, Roger.
It feels like your index finger and your thumb vibrates a little.
We call that chest voice because it feels like it vibrates at the top part of the chest. Then, put your hand back and say, “Weeeee.”
That doesn’t feel like it vibrated.
Not at all.
Most people feel that up here so we call the high notes, head voice. Most people are sort of aware that there might be two voices. Chest voice down here and then head voice way up here. But when people try to go back and forth, they find that there’s an area in between where something terrible happens. Let’s say they’re singing or trying to speak higher and they go, “Ahhhhh-ooooohhh.” There’s a break.
I hate it when that happens.
And people think, “I must be out of puberty because I’m already 40 or 50 years old.” It can’t be puberty’s fault that my voice is cracking. No. There’s a big reason why that is. People crack as they try to go back and forth. The voice just drops out because they don’t know about a third voice called middle which is supposed to be this amazing magical bridge that lives in between chest voice and head. I teach people how to find their chest voice, their middle voice, and their head voice and make them all thick and strong and connect them together so that you can speak or sing all the way up the range.
Check out the difference. No middle, “Ahhhhh-ooooo-ahhhhh.” That’s with chest and had no middle. Now, chest, middle, and head, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” When I show singers that they go all the way up and down like that with no break, no pressure, no strain, that changes their universe. When I tell speakers that they can do it, the first thing they say is, “Who cares, Roger? I don’t want to be a singer.” Then, I say, “Each of the voices has sounds that are already perceived by people as certain emotions.”
Chest voice has all these, “Let’s close the deal. I’m strong, you’re strong. These are the roots of my tree,” emotions. The middle voice has all this amazing, beautiful, magical, exciting, you need this right now. All the goosebumps on your arms are middle. The head voice is all the beautiful, sweet, kind, loving, gorgeous, sweeter sounds.
You only have chest voice? You’re only operating with one-third of all the sounds and all the emotions that you could make people feel. You have three voices, the sky’s the limit. That’s why singers can make people cry or get up on the seats at a concert and shake their booty and dance when they don’t do that at home because all of the sounds have emotions. When you have all three of those voices and you’re a speaker, you never lose your voice. You have amazing sounds.
By the way, I just want to say this. Every single person who’s listening to this right now is a public speaker. The definition of a public speaker is you open your mouth, sound comes out and somebody hears you. There, you’re public. It could be a dog, you’re still a public speaker. It could be one person or a thousand times a thousand people. You’re a public speaker the second your sounds goes public.
I agree, full-heartedly. All right, I know we’re out of time. I want to reiterate for our listener that they get a special discount for the Perfect Voice online course and that custom code that you put in is the word SPEAK, in all caps, as in Marketing Speak. That gets you $50 off. Instead of $147, it’s $97 which is incredible value for money. I can’t believe it’s so inexpensive. I’m not going to say cheap because it’s inexpensive, it’s amazing value for money. You also have the in-person event, too. That’s coming up when?
Coming up in the first quarter of 2020. If anybody’s interested, they can just go to rogerlove.com and there’ll be information about that as soon as we post the dates.
But for now, go sign up for the Perfect Voice and get that discount. Start there, you’re going to get a life-changing impact just from that. If you could leave our listeners, our viewers, with one thing that we have not talked about, one little nugget that would change their world, what would it be?
You are all born singers. When the doctor pulled me out of my mother, I knew exactly what to do. I took a big breath, diaphragmatically, and I busted out the only tune I know, “Waaaaah.” Then, we listen to all the people around us who talked with no musicality and no emotion. We’ve lost all the singer part of our voices and we become speakers, which has become a sort of a negative word.
I exist to help put the music back in your voice so that every sound that comes out of you will move people emotionally. Find the music. Find the music in you and finally be the great communicator that you were born to be.
I love it. You are the embodiment of that, not only with your clients but with your own family. You mentioned Madison, your daughter, she’s famous. She’s a big deal in the world. Do you want to say anything about that?
Yes. Even though my wife says if I keep bragging about my children, that one day she’s going to change the locks but I’m so proud of my kids. You brought up Madison and Madison is a hit songwriter. She’s had three number one hits in the last two years. Number one across everything. She is achieving amazing success at finding her voice as a songwriter and helping big stars sing her songs and reach millions and millions of people. Her streams are already over two billion, streams of people listening to her songs. I couldn’t be more proud. She’s working on her own artist career as well and 2020 will be the year that she’ll also start to release more of her own music with herself as the artist. But yes, it’s a very vocal family.
That’s awesome. Do you want to share one of the songs that we probably all heard?
Her first hit was a song called Bad Things by Camila Cabello. “Am I out of my head? Am I out of my mind?” That was number one. Her next hit was a song with Halsey, a song called Him & I. “Cross my heart and hope to die.” This is Him & I. Her latest hit is number one in 23 countries, a song called Sweet but Psycho. “Oh, she’s sweet but a psycho.” And she has so many more songs and so many more coming but those are her first three number one hits in the last two years.
Amazing. Wow. You’re clearly a very proud dad and rightfully so, that is incredible and what a gift you gave to her, the gift of music and voice. From the moment she came out of the womb, you were coaching her essentially.
Absolutely. I want to say that I’m proud of you for the content that you’re transmitting to your listeners and your following because you’re really spoon-feeding them things and you really have their best interest at heart. I want to thank you and tell you I’m proud of you for the show that you do and the information that you put out.
Thank you so much. That means a lot, Roger. I appreciate it.
All right, we’re out of time. Thank you again, Roger. Now listener, please go take some positive powerful action with this. This is not just entertainment or education, or edutainment. This is transformational information, go transform with it. This is your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.
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Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Pay attention to the tone of my voice. Words are less important than sounds when talking to others because people usually listen emotionally rather than rationally.
Take care of my vocal cords. Refrain from drinking cold drinks and don’t stress my voice too much to preserve my vocal quality.
Don’t hold my breath when speaking. Practice proper breathing so that I can talk for hours without exhaustion or damaging my larynx.
Refrain from making a declarative sentence sound like it’s a question. I should assure my audience that I am confident in what I’m presenting or offering when speaking about it.
Keep the conversation going during interviews by controlling the sound of my voice. If my tone goes down at the end of the sentence, it usually signals the interviewer to move on to another question.
Always do vocal warm-ups before speaking on stage or doing a meeting. Mouth exercises will help relax my facial muscles as well as my nerves so that I am calm and collected before the show.
Speak authentically. People seek realness in a world that’s full of fakes and imposters. My truth is what everybody wants to hear.
Eliminate filler words such as ‘uh’, ‘uhm’, ‘like’, and ‘you know’ by simply taking a quick pause to breathe, gather my senses, and continue on with the speech or conversation.
Work with a voice coach to improve the sound of my voice, my conversational skills, and my self-confidence when facing an audience.
Check out Roger Love’s program, The Perfect Voice. Get $50 off when you use the word SPEAK. Go to theperfectvoice.com/buy
About Roger Love
Roger Love is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on voice. His clients include Tony Robbins, John Mayer, Selena Gomez, Brendon Burchard, Simon Sinek, Reese Witherspoon, Bradley Cooper, and more.
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