Vocal Power: Harness Your Inner Voice to Conquer Everyday Communication Challenges, with a foreword by Michael Irvin

Vocal Power: Harness Your Inner Voice to Conquer Everyday Communication Challenges, with a foreword by Michael Irvin

by Arthur Samuel Joseph


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"I was able to learn an incredible amount about my voice and about how to have great impact with more pleasure and less pain." — Tony Robbins, New York Times bestselling author of Awaken the Giant Within

Achieving Vocal Power is about making a strong impact on others on all three levels of communication—words, tone of voice, and body language—simultaneously. It means finding and developing an authentic voice that is true to who you are as a unique individual.

In Vocal Power, Arthur Samuel Joseph—a top voice consultant and communication strategist to some of the biggest names in business, entertainment, sports, and politics—shows you simple techniques and exercises that will:

  • Improve not just your posture—but also your stature
  • Enhance your vocal quality
  • Sharpen your mental focus
  • Manage your fear of public speaking
  • Grow your influence beyond your wildest dreams

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make it count. Become a person people listen to.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780071807753
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 01/10/2014
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Arthur Samuel Joseph is the founder and chairman of the Vocal Awareness Institute and creator of the Vocal Awareness Method for achieving personal empowerment and Communication Mastery through voice.

Read an Excerpt

Vocal Power

Harnessing the Power Within


McGraw-Hill Education

Copyright © 2003 Arthur Samuel Joseph
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-180775-3


Vocal Power

If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you that I came to live out loud.

—Emile Zola

A couple of years ago, I was hired by the upper management of an elegant hotel chain to coach Bob, one of their general managers. The edifice of the property that this particular gentleman supervised was grand, sophisticated, and overlooked a breathtaking vista. An employee had filed a harassment complaint against Bob for the less than sophisticated behavior of yelling and cursing to command his staff. Bob was threatened with the loss of his job. Before I could help him, however, I knew we would have to identify any deeper issues that were contributing to his belligerence. He also had to understand and take responsibility for his role in his predicament.

"Do you want to give your career away?" I asked him. "If so, then keep on doing what you're doing. If not, you're ready to begin the Vocal Power journey." From our initial conversation, I determined that Bob wasn't a "bad guy." He just had a short fuse. People around him weren't doing their jobs properly, the hotel was suffering, and he was responsible. Thus, his self-esteem had plummeted to an all-time low. Yet losing his cool and screaming only made things worse. He needed to transform his style of communication, and he had to find a better way to motivate the members of his staff.

Bob and I worked together for about a year. Early on we met a couple of times a month, then once a month, and finally we did only periodic check-ins. Throughout the process we also had intermittent phone lessons. Most importantly, he worked on his own at home and at work everyday, practicing and integrating the exact same vocal techniques that you are going to learn in this book. He practiced releasing his tongue, jaw, and neck tension; breathing more effectively; and slowing down his delivery, becoming conscious while doing so. These and other adjustments affected the pitch of his voice and made him sound warmer, more clearly conveying not just the message but also the messenger.

The Vocal Awareness method exercises are the core elements of my program. But the System, as a whole, does much more than improve the sound of your voice. It also improves the "sound" of your inner voice—your thoughts, feelings, and internal guidance. Thus, I also taught Bob how to walk through the hotel and take a few minutes to stop, shake hands, and interact with his employees genuinely, while maintaining eye contact and truly listening to them and to himself.

I told him what I tell all hotel employees with whom I've worked—from the phone operators, the front desk personnel—to the general manager: "Your grand edifice may bring guests in the first time, but it's not what brings them back—genuine, caring service does." In our second meeting, I had Bob spend 45 minutes on video learning how to say—and embody—just one paragraph of the service statement he'd memorized when he began working for the hotel, which basically was to be friendly, welcoming, and attentive to the needs of guests. Initially I heard the words, but I didn't believe what he said because there was no feeling behind them. Soon, however, he paid deeper attention and became conscious of the essence he communicated.

In later meetings, Bob and I set up role-playing sessions where we strategized new and more effective ways he could communicate with different department heads about common problems. He learned the difference between being a perfectionist and striving for excellence. The idea that perfection is possible is a psychological death trap. Excellence, on the other hand, means always doing your best and allowing your best to improve by degrees. He soon found appropriate ways to delegate responsibility to his staff members that prevented him from assuming their burdens. In the process, he defined a persona for himself as a leader and teacher of people. He wanted to be perceived as less brusque and "bossy" and as more of a whole human being, someone who was safe to approach for guidance in conducting the business at hand.

Although Bob was in a tough spot at the hotel, I had no doubt he would turn his career around. Frankly, the tools of Vocal Awareness are incredibly effective. Over the years, they have helped thousands of people learn to hear and see themselves more fully and objectively, and harness that heightened awareness and ability for the purpose of expression. In addition, Bob was diligent, willing, and had set a clear goal. He knew where he was beginning and he knew where he wanted to end up—there had to be a dramatic shift! Through Vocal Awareness, he had the means to get there.

Over the next few months, it was as though Bob became a new person. Of course, one of our goals was to bring out more of who he actually was rather than cover up or change his true identity. Authenticity is a major tenet of Vocal Awareness. His staff soon perceived him as a caring and tolerant authority figure, rather than an abusive authoritarian. As a result, people began to take more responsibility. They worked harder, fewer mistakes were made, money was saved, and business improved.

The president of the company paid the hotel a visit and was dumbfounded at the obvious changes. His response was to give Bob a promotion and an upgrade to a bigger hotel that needed a similar turnaround. Developing Vocal Power earned Bob an industry-wide reputation as a top hotelier. Instead of being forced out of his company, he became a rising star through the embodiment of the Vocal Awareness principles.

What Is Vocal Power?

Right now, you may be wondering why I shared all the details of Bob's story. This book is about the voice, isn't it? The sounds that people make. You may be asking, "What does the voice have to do with eye contact, shaking hands, and self-esteem?" A great deal, I assure you.

Research has shown that in any face-to-face spoken communication, only eight percent of the impact on the listener comes from the words used, 37 percent comes from the tone of voice, and the remaining 55 percent from body language. To have true Vocal Power, you must make a strong impact on your listener on all three of these levels simultaneously. In a telephone conversation, 92 percent of the impact comes from vocal tone and only eight percent from the words that are spoken. Body language is not as significant a factor on the phone, of course, because your listener cannot see you. Nonetheless, it does matter. Sitting slumped over or tensed up affects the sound of your voice. Among other things, it hinders your breathing and lowers your energy.

The statistics above are revealing. But I also find it interesting that in practice, listeners neither experience words, vocal tone, and body language separately nor do speakers experience their acts of communication in this divided manner.

Vocal Power unites the mind/body/spirit. On a mental level, "voice" is the term we use for the act of expression, such as when we "voice" our ideas and opinions. Among other things, it involves the words we choose and the commitment we make to saying them. Because speaking and singing communicate emotions as well as thoughts, unresolved psychological issues can hamper both forms of vocal expression. On a physical level, "voice" is the word we use to describe the sound waves created by the vibration of air through the vocal folds. Making sound is an activity that involves muscles in the throat and abdomen, as well as other parts of the body, and the use of the breath. Unnecessary tension hinders the production of sound.

There is also a spiritual level to voice. It is the intangible energy, or vitality that we project into the world, which originates from the same breath that gives us life. The Latin root of the word spirit is spiritus, which means "breath" or "to breathe." Inspirare is the verb "to breathe into, to inspire." So, whenever you breathe, you are connecting to your spirit and inspiration.

As you work with the program in Vocal Power, every element of your Voice will begin to transform. Not only will you sound better, you'll also look and feel better—less tense and more confident, assured, and, to the best of your ability, in charge of your destiny. You are going to claim ownership of your Self through the integration of your mind/body/spirit. That's why, from now on, I spell "Voice" with a capital "V" when referring to the three levels described above. You may not understand this yet, but my promise to you is that your life will change for the better as your Voice—your identity—transforms.

So, how will the Vocal Awareness method improve your mental focus, vocal quality, body language, and self-esteem, among other benefits, all at once? That's a big promise for a program that can be done in as few as seven minutes a day. Let's find out.

The Vocal Awareness Method

Think about the first few times you ever drove a car. Were you nervous or confident, able or inept? Your body hadn't yet absorbed the physical sensations of coordinating several tasks. Therefore, once the car was in motion—and driving in the face of oncoming traffic—you probably made several jerky starts and stops and swerved a bit whenever you tried to do more than one thing at the same time, such as driving while rolling down the window or driving while looking in the rearview mirror.

But I'm sure that ever since your early driving lessons, perhaps circling around a parking lot, you have driven fluidly without having to remind your body how it needs to function. These days, your body seems to "think" before your mind dictates an action. That's because we are thinking-feeling organisms. The Vocal Awareness method recognizes this fact. It is an incredibly effective system because it trains your entire mind/body/spirit—integratively—not just the mind, or just the body.

There are three reasons why learning to drive is a good analogy for developing Vocal Power. The first parallel, which I just described, has to do with mind/body/spirit integration and how that works. The second is about the process of instruction. And the third has to do with the outcomes we're seeking when we learn how to do anything, as well as the essence of ability and accomplishment. Let's consider the second way now.

How did you learn to drive? Were you self-reliant or did you need an instructor? (That's a leading question, since nobody learns to drive without help.) Even though you may have read a manual explaining the features of your vehicle, someone had to teach you to adjust the seat and mirror; where the gas and brake pedals were and what they did; how to turn on the ignition; hold the steering wheel; turn on the wipers, blinkers, radio, air conditioner, and defroster. Someone had to teach you to look in the mirror, turn your head before pulling away from the curb, put your hands in the "ten and two" positions on the steering wheel, and do everything else you now take for granted. For a while, I bet your instructor sat next to you whenever you drove, reminding you of the right procedures to follow and in what order. You literally didn't have to think for yourself.

Soon, you became an able driver. You no longer needed an instructor to remind you what to do. You passed your driver's test, got a license, and became a daily commuter or a weekend traveler. These days you can therefore cruise the highway safely—almost on "remote control"—because a physical intelligence has taken over management of the whole driving operation. Driving has become habitual. As long as you get from point A to point B, you're fine.

Which gets me to my third point. If you are like most people, the way you habitually drive is comparable to the habitual way you communicate. Ordinarily, you don't stop and remind yourself to breathe a certain way or to stand or sit in a specific posture when you're speaking. You also probably don't pay much attention to the quality of sound you're producing or even necessarily to the words you've chosen to get your point across. In essence, you lack awareness.

But that's about to change as you apply the Vocal Awareness method.

Actually, most people lack awareness in everything they do—not just in driving or communicating. Lots of folks have never learned how to instruct themselves as carefully as their driving instructors once did. They never learned self-reliance. The Vocal Awareness method teaches self-reliance, awareness, and many other important qualities.

Okay, for some reason—and everybody's is different—you now believe your Voice is holding you back. Or you simply want to be the best you can be. Frankly, you haven't picked up this book in order to learn how to speak in an ordinary way. You're interested in this program because you want a better than average Voice. Being an adequate communicator is no longer enough for you. You want your Voice to reflect your greater aspirations and your innermost Self.

What would you do if you decided you wanted to drive like a racecar driver? An expert driver! You would enroll in a special school that teaches Formula One drivers. You would aim to break your old driving habits and form new and more effective ones. You'd go back to the basics and start paying attention to every tiny detail of your performance. You would establish a discipline of doing laps around a racecourse until your heightened abilities were second nature.

In a while, the same integration would occur that enabled you to first drive a car fluidly; however, this time you would not let what you were doing become subconscious. You would keep evaluating your results and making adjustments in a continuous effort to improve the outcome, then apply those new skills when you were out on the highway. You wouldn't be satisfied unless you were a more confident and capable driver.

Can you see that one part of becoming an expert is purely technical and pertains to building your biomechanical skills and concentration? But that another important part is your decision and commitment to rise to the level of your expectations? The latter involves showing up to do what is necessary. This may seem obvious when you're looking at a sport or the arts but is less apparent in terms of your own Voice. Nonetheless, they are equally fundamental parts of developing Vocal Power.

Interestingly, every successful athlete I've ever taught has told me that 90 percent of the game they play is mental—that's their winning edge. Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed, the third best pass receiver of all- time, commented to me on the importance of this advantage in football. He said, "Some athletes may be younger or bigger, but nobody is mentally tougher than I am." This quality helped make him great.

The Vocal Awareness method is a training program for more effective communication. Like learning to drive well, it is a discipline that coordinates mental focus and technical skills until they become so ingrained in the physical body that you can deliberately and consciously call upon them at any time, even—if not especially—when you're under pressure. In the process, you impel yourself to overcome fear and doubt—even when these are nonspecific. And no matter what your vocal and communication habits are when you begin, your best Voice will always be evolving and getting even better so long as you continue practicing the Vocal Awareness techniques. Furthermore, you act as your own instructor in the process. Learning how to be a supportive and compassionate coach is tremendously important—it's even life altering!

Are you familiar with the concept of a paradigm shift? A paradigm is a model or belief that is considered absolute and underscores everything in a system. When it changes, everything else in that system changes. For instance, the belief that the world was flat was a paradigm for centuries; when it shifted to "the world is round," the new paradigm affected transportation, trade, culture, and humanity's relationship to the cosmos. Space flight would not be possible if we still believed the world was flat.

Well, the Vocal Awareness method is a paradigm shift. It's similar to getting your computer upgraded. New software makes every application and the whole system run more effectively. Another realm of possibilities and breakthroughs is opened up. By practicing the vocal workout described in Chapter 4, not only will your Voice improve, but you'll also find parallel changes occurring in other areas of your life that you might not have originally anticipated. These include developing a more positive outlook, feeling more physical vitality, and having more confidence in confrontational situations.

The vocal workout will help you accomplish a complete personal transformation. Through a series of sound-making and biomechanical warm-up exercises, you will deepen and free your breathing; engender relaxation in your tongue, jaw, neck, and shoulders; and strengthen your larynx (a.k.a. the voice box), so that the sound of your voice improves. Simultaneously, you'll learn how to sharpen your concentration, move through and beyond your emotional obstacles, and connect to your higher purpose in life. Through the mind/body/spirit trinity of Vocal Awareness, you'll learn how to apply these same techniques continuously to any text, song, or other "performance" material you're planning to use, even words you're going to say to your boss or spouse, or during everyday encounters. Thus, your Voice—you—will be powerfully enhanced on every level.


Excerpted from Vocal Power by ARTHUR SAMUEL JOSEPH. Copyright © 2003 Arthur Samuel Joseph. Excerpted by permission of McGraw-Hill Education.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Author's Mote xiii

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xxv

Voice of the Monkey Boy: A Parable 1

Chapter 1 Vocal Power 5

What Is Vocal Power? 8

The Vocal Awareness Method 10

What Are the Benefits? 14

How Long Does It Take to Learn? 15

Can You Really Achieve Empowerment Through Your Voice? 18

Taking the Next Step 23

Chapter 2 Common Vocal and Communication Challenges 25

The Fear of Public Speaking 27

Are You Hiding Behind Your Habits? 30

The Fear of Abandonment 33

The Fear of Ownership 37

Your Life-the Hero's journey 40

Taking the Next Step 43

Chapter 3 Learning the Fundamental Techniques 45

Learning the Fundamentals 46

The 7 Empowerment Rituals 51

Taking the Next Step 64

Chapter 4 The Daily Vocal Awareness Workout 65

Preparing for a Vocal Awareness Workout: Gathering Tools 67

The Vocal Awareness Workout Exercises: The Three Aspects 70

Basic Elements of Movement and Sound 72

The First Aspect: The Warm-Up 74

The Second Aspect: The Bridge 84

The Third Aspect: The Performance 89

Designing Your Daily Practice: 7 Minutes for 7 Days 90

A 7-Minute Workout 91

Customizing Your Daily Routine 92

The Vocal Power Journey 93

Taking the Next Step 99

Chapter 5 Health Benefits of Vocal Power 101

Understanding Our Voice 102

Improving Health: What Is Ailing Us? 103

Reducing Jaw Tension 105

Reducing Tongue Tension 106

Raising Your Endorphin Levels 107

Basic Vocal Hygiene 107

Psychomotor Conditions 116

A Final Thought on Health Challenges 119

Chapter 6 The Importance of Body Language 121

Addressing Your Challenges: Standing or Sitting in Stature 125

Vocal Awareness Reminders 131

Greetings Matter 132

Your Grooming 135

Taking the Next Step 136

Chapter 7 Believe in Your Self 139

Taking Ownership of Every Verbal Encounter 141

Getting Ready for Your Defining Moment 147

Uniting Timing, Talent, and Tenacity 150

Confronting Your "Demons" 154

Integration and Self-Mastery 158

Claiming Your Self 161

Taking the Next Step to Mastery 162

Chapter 8 Singing: The Power and the Pleasure 163

There Is No Such Thing as "Tone Deafness" 164

Why Do Some People Sound Better Than Others? 167

Singing Is an Emotional Gateway 168

The Spiritual Qualities of Song 170

Vocal Awareness Differs from Other Kinds of Singing Lessons 171

The Vocal Awareness Singing Workout 173

The First Aspect: The Singing Warm-Up 175

The Second Aspect: The Singing Bridge 178

The Third Aspect: The Singing Performance 183

Guidelines for Singing Lessons 184

Singing Is for Everyone 184

Chapter 9 Going Deeper: Breathing into … 187

Epilogue 193

Index 197

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