Here is a great public speaking article about the dangers of trying to be someone else…
Your voice is your signature. It is the authentic, quintessential you. For many legitimate reasons, people like to change and improve their voice. This is quite natural, especially if you feel that your voice could be holding back your career prospects.
However, there is one major problem with vocal development and that is when folks decide that they will change their voice to sound like their favourite film star or newsreader or friend from their local speakers club. They lose their authenticity and credibility. My point here is that you must be true to your voice, personality and character. Always be a first class impression of the real you and not a second rate impression of anybody else. Everybody is unique and they must not pretend to be something or somebody they are not.
Many years ago I joined my local speakers club and it was a wonderful experience to receive objective feedback in such a supportive and quality setting. At the club was a chap called John and he had such warmth and resonance in his voice. I had always admired John’s speech style and had begun speaking like him. I didn’t realise how bad this had become until I entered a speech contest, didn’t do very well, and some of the informal feedback I received after the contest was to say the least, blunt! One person even asked me why I was mucking about and trying to be John the 2nd, when Vince the 1st was perfectly acceptable anywhere.
A thought that had held me back was that this chap John was so many years in advance of me in terms of technique, experience and delivery that I would never be able to peg him back. How wrong I was.
Not surprisingly, despondency had set in. No success in contests and then my boss asked me to do a big presentation at short notice. I could have handled this request more positively, and soon realised that it could hold me back if I didn’t pick up on the challenge. I then had a ‘Eureka’ moment. I suddenly realised that it wasn’t about trying to be like John to wow the audience for the future, it was very much a case of being the best possible Vince for tomorrow’s big presentation. I liked the comment that Vince the 1st was perfectly acceptable anywhere and that feedback gave me an enormous boost of confidence.
Frankly, I had begun to embarrass my family too. My newly acquired voice tone had caused great merriment with my brothers when I attended my mum’s 70th birthday.
Once I changed my mind set and returned to the authentic Vincent Stevenson, I never looked back. Always be yourself. Never be a phoney.
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