Do you know how you sound when you're talking to your closest friend?
I mean the person you can be totally yourself with. The person who knows almost everything there is to know about you. The person (who is not your partner) who you most want to hang out with for hours and hours doing nothing and talking about everything.
When you talk to that person, you sound like your whole self.
You take up a table all the way through the shift change, you walk 25 blocks before you turn around to head back, you sit on the kitchen floor leaning against the cabinets until your butt falls asleep.
You talk about everything and nothing for a very long time, and your whole self is there. And your friend can hear it because your whole voice is there, too.
Your relaxed lower-pitched voice where nothing is forced and nothing is held.
Your wide-open-mouth surprise voice when you learn something stunning and awesome.
Your squealing squeaky voice that is so freakin' excited or scandalized or grossed out by what you just heard.
Your tight, clipped voice when your jaw tries to hold onto the things that upset you to say out loud.
Your full-scale siren voice when your friend is exasperatingly unaware of the way she deserves to be treated.
And more sounds. So many variations in pitch and tone and breath and placement and volume and texture and tempo and rhythm and diction.
And all the while, you're "doing" less. You're not working hard to bring your whole voice. You're getting out of the way of it.
If you get freaked out speaking at meetings or presentations or interviews because you think your speaking voice is just way too fast, slow, squeaky, breathy, booming, nasal, quiet, mushy, or otherwise unappealing, try this:
The next time you get one of those long talks with that friend, notice all the amazing things your voice can do.
Because you can use those things in other speaking situations to make deep connections, too. (And if you need it, I can help.)
Your friend voice is so lovely and engaging to hear. Your whole voice that expresses your whole self.
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This week, I'm exploring how we make (and don't make) space for deep connections. This post is part of an ongoing series on women's voices.