Adventures at the Otolaryngologist

So, it is done. I have had my vocal paraphernalia checked by the very nice Mr Peter Blake FRACS in Kelburn.  As you can see by the photo I was a bit apprehensive .

Wondering what is going to be done to me

Wondering what is going to be done to me

I  can assure you it wasn’t too bad. Basically after discussing the history of my voice and what had led me to come – see my previous post  –  He then squirted some topical anaesthetic up my nose which promptly ran down my throat.

Admittedly that stuff tastes disgusting but after a few minutes everything did feel rather numb. I then got to recline on a medical chair – (getting to recline is always a treat) – while a flexible fibre optic laryngoscope was inserted through my nose to my throat. This sounds horrid and while a little disconcerting, if one relaxes it’s not too bad. I then had to make some sounds while he peered at my vocal folds.

It turns out all I have is a mild laryngitis! No polyps, no nodules,  and  just a slightly narrow supraglottic area resonator which is just part of my particular physiology.

The verdict – rest my voice and take care of it. Don’t scream at my daughter, bellow with breath support at soccer and be mindful at loud parties.

When Voice Teachers Damage Their Own Voice


Recently I have had an experience that it is my job to help people avoid, I injured my voice!!!!!
How did this happen?

It began along time ago but the final straw was Saturday.

Image by Amy Bright age daughter!

Image by Amy Bright age 10…my daughter!

First, while I was trying to get my 10 year old to move her butt to get out of the house on time, I lost my temper and screamed at her.

How thoughts of my deathbed can help you be present when public speaking

How thoughts of my deathbed can help you be present when public speaking
Be in the moment

imageAs I was out bouncing through mud on my mountain bike last weekend I was once again mulling on what would be a useful topic for you all. I was out with my almost 13 year old and his buddy.  I suddenly saw a picture of myself on my death bed with him by my side upset at remembering how once upon a time his mum was fit and healthy and used to force him to get out riding.

Passion, personality and vocal physique = magic

Sometimes other people have already said what one wants to say. I came across this great site with lots of helpful tips about how to have greater speaking power. I wanted to say it (stomp foot) so the next best thing is to share it and recommend you read it.

The particular point to get is that it is the combination of passion, (intention, aligned with personality and content) and vocal agility that creates the magic. One without the other is like fish without the chips without the Watties sauce.

And remember….. generosity of spirit is at the heart of every great speaker.

Speak Up! A Guide to Voice Projection

Public speaking Demons

I so often come across people who, when I tell them that I am a speaking coach, tell me about how much they hate having to speak in front of others or they tell me about the team they are in charge of at work and how they all need help with speaking.

Why do we hate or fear speaking for others so much? Maybe because we forget we are speaking for others.

When we focus on how speaking makes us vulnerable to criticism, rejection, judgment and failure is it any wonder we get in a stew about it.

People are hungry to be moved and inspired, to be nourished intellectually and creatively. If you can have at your heart a generosity of spirit for your audience combined with some knowledge, training and preparation then you have access to the magic of connecting and inspiring.

Speaking is not an inbuilt talent. It is a skill that can be cultivated by anyone. I don’t know if I was born with a gene that makes me more comfortable getting up in front of people but even so I still get really nervous. I prepare and prepare and prepare.

As a voice coach I teach people not to get rid of nerves. You can’t. It is part of our human makeup to fight or flee when facing perceived threat.

So what can you do so nerves don’t  incapacitate you ?

Treat yourself as a vocal athlete;

  • Gain knowledge of how your voice works and what stops it.
  • Learn how to train and develop your voice.
  • Investigate your personal speaking demons and their origins.
  • Learn how to relax and warm up so you are calm focussed and energised before speaking.
  • Find a way to be connected to and passionate about your content.
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare like an All Black

Your job is to give to the audience, not take.

Thanks for reading and happy speaking.



The Magic and Logic of Powerful Public Speaking: TED Curator Chris Anderson’s Field Guide to Giving a Great Talk

Today is my first ever blog. Because I care about the difference inspired speaking can make, I love finding interesting information about the voice and speaking for you who are interested. Thanks to Reatha Beyers for sending me this great piece. I’m going to buy the book and try to rival my friend Robert Dill, drama teacher extraordinaire whose book buying for his professional passion is a wonder to behold.

This is a wonderful read about the magic that can take place between speaker and listener.


The Magic and Logic of Powerful Public Speaking: TED Curator Chris Anderson’s Field Guide to Giving a Great Talk