Five Tips to Give Your Speeches Vocal Variety

These five tips to give your speeches vocal variety are from a 10-minute speech I gave for Toastmasters. It’s one of my most-watched and most-liked YouTube videos. I hope you enjoy it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd6fKLlop08

1. Choose topics you are passionate about.

2. Use personal examples.

3. Focus on your audience, not yourself.

4. Read your speech aloud and edit based on your own reactions.

5. Rehearse with emotion.

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Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/ Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

A Play Date in Carlton, “A Great Little Town”, Oregon

The sign says it as you drive into Carlton, Oregon, population 2,180 as of the 2019 census. “Carlton, A Great Little Town,” destination of my May 14th play date.

My first surprise was how many vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms are in between Lake Oswego and Carlton. Oregon has become big wine country, yet – not having driven this exact route before – I was a bit shocked! https://yamhillcarlton.org/wineries/.

My second, how easily I found free public parking! I walked around for about an hour looking at shops, houses, the different styles of architecture, and flowers and blooming trees. Many people were out on their front decks as it was a sunny day of 72 degrees F.  

There were so many good restaurants on the “main drag”, but I went with simple, choosing a chicken bacon ranch salad to go from the Carlton Coffee Company. While walking earlier, I’d asked a boy, about 13, if there was a park, and he pointed me in the right direction. I took my salad, Cheetos, and bottle of water to the park and ate my lunch on a picnic table under the shade of a 100-year-old Blue Atlas Cedar tree. The salad was yummy. A slight breeze was blowing. I later stuck my head back into the coffee shop to ask if the dressing was house-made. The woman said it came from a seasoning packet they mixed with buttermilk and a bit of mayo. I told her how delicious it was, and she said, “I owe you! I forgot to add the cheese. You were out the door before I remembered!” I assured her the salad was wonderful without the cheese.

Unfortunately, the Carlton Bakery was completely out of macaroons; otherwise I would have picked up a small bag full to bring home and share with George.

The Rough Cut Soap Co. https://roughcutsoapco.com/ was my favorite “retail therapy” destination. I loved this shop and walked out with a bar of grapefruit and basil soap, a pair of earrings, and a gift for someone I won’t mention because she might read this blog!

And…I couldn’t leave Carlton without stopping in at one of the tasting rooms and getting a bottle of wine to bring home. I had just two small tastes at https://tendrilwines.com/ as I was – after all – driving. $30 is more than I normally spend for a bottle of wine, certainly not $100, and both were delicious. I bought the Child’s Play pinot noir from the winemaker himself, who has been in the industry for 30 years. This reminded me of when I met Jerry Lohr, one of my father’s best childhood friends, at the https://www.jlohr.com/ tasting room in San Jose, California.

It was a fun play date in Carlton and was good to get out of the rut and go somewhere new.

And after it was over and I’d had my wine with the pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy and steamed broccoli I’d made for dinner, I realized what my soul really wanted on my play date was somewhere I could be alone in nature.  

I’ll do that next time. Soon. And if you need a fun play date in a great little town, spend some time in Carlton, Oregon!

Thanks for keeping me in your inbox and on your read list.

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/ Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

I Need a Play Date! Do You?

Oh my God. I’m cranky. Irritable. My body feels tense. I only remember laughing once all day today. And it’s not because of taxes!

Of course. The inner knowing came to me last week and I didn’t honor it. I need a play date! With myself. What Julia Cameron might call an Artist’s Date.

When I was married and stepmother of three sons from 1994 – 2006, as the boys grew older and moved in with us as teenagers, I made a point of taking a quarterly retreat. Every three months I’d pick somewhere to go for a long weekend…the Manzanita coast, McKenzie River Valley…just to get away and recharge my spiritual and emotional batteries. I always came home a happier person.

Last year, I – like you – was forced to stay home most of the time because of the Covid-19 virus. My creativity happened to open up during this period as I wrote the book I’m proudest of (Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/ ) and co-wrote my first play.

Other than that, and perfecting a couple of new bread recipes, I have been totally in a rut. When was the last time I went somewhere I’ve never been before? When was the last time you did?

Do you need a play date? Or a full-on vacation? Please schedule one with yourself and tell me all about it.

I made a play date with myself for May 14th, the same day my newsletter is coming out. I’ll write about my play date in the next blog/newsletter. Until then, here’s a note about a play date I had back in 2018, almost exactly three years ago. https://laurahandke.com/simply-authentic-your-soul-voice-is-calling-get-out-of-the-rut-make-a-play-date/

Thanks for keeping me in your inbox and on your read list.

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/ Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways

Source Collage Card by Laura Handke

Do you ever look back on your life so far and find the way certain things came together to be nothing short of magical?

I have wanted to speak (and sing in!) Spanish for years, finally got serious about it, and hired a tutor. I found myself telling Miss Kenny, from Mexico, the story below.

Even the way I became a voice teacher, and the timing of it, is weird. I had been longing to sing again when a trusted friend and colleague, Renee, “happened” to mention her fantastic voice teacher, Linda Brice. I fell in love with Transformational Voice® and was working at a terrible claims job when Linda launched the Transformational Voice® Institute and asked me to be one of the first 12 apprentice teachers.

I signed up and started juggling the job and the apprenticeship program, which was like juggling a china plate with a baseball bat and a slippery ball of slime. There was no way I could manage it all. When I had to make a choice, and I asked for a sign, the sign came (about a minute later) in the form of a man I used to work with. He, running towards me, stopped to talk and asked me to email him my resume. That same man later hired me and provided me a good job and safe haven while I finished my voice teacher apprenticeship program.

And then there’s this…the story about Stella and Rob, who are happily married to this day. https://laurahandke.com/simply-authentic-your-soul-voice-is-calling-the-inner-voiceintuitive-nature-at-work/

Now…for a triple whammy…onto the English version of the story Miss Kenny helped me translate into Spanish. It’s called Una Historia de Amor en La Universidad.

I minored in Psychology and Spanish in college at South Dakota State University. In the advanced Spanish class my senior year, we weren’t allowed to speak English in the classroom. Several native Spanish speakers were in Senora Beattie’s class (perhaps for an easy “A”?) and I became friendly with them, intentionally speaking only in Spanish when our paths crossed on campus (or at the nightclubs). Franklin, from Brazil, and his cousin gave me Spanish comic books to help me learn. Leslie Gonzales, from Argentina, was handsome, suave and a snappy dresser. Aurora, from Mexico City, was gorgeous, kind and animated.

I moved to Phoenix, Arizona after graduating from SDSU, at one point working as an Executive Assistant and New Accounts Specialist for a bank in Scottsdale. Imagine my surprise when I looked up from my desk one day to greet a customer, and it was Aurora. This was over two years after I’d moved away from South Dakota. Aurora needed traveler’s checks. She was on her way to Mexico City for her wedding, where she was marrying Franklin, from Brazil.

You can’t plan this kind of thing. Seriously? A man from South America, and a woman from Mexico, meeting during college in one of the coldest states in the United States heartland, falling in love, and getting married. Wow.

All I can say is…if you aren’t quite sure how your voice can best be expressed in the world right now, just tap into your intuition, listen to your heart, take action…and prepare to be amazed!

My first FREE ZOOM Authentic Performance Acting Lab is THIS Saturday, May 1, 10:30 am – noon PST. There are still a few spots available. Register here: https://laurahandke.com/. Just scroll down to the bottom of the home page and you’ll find the lab registration there. So looking forward to joining you on this fun and lively playground!

Thanks for keeping me in your inbox and on your read list.

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/ Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

The Memories are in Your Muscles

What is your favorite way to exercise?

I grew up walking in the country, riding horses and my bike, and have always loved to dance. Yoga is wonderful. I’ve worked out in gyms, but always felt like I had to drag myself there. These days it’s mostly walking outside in nature and yoga stretches. I live in a neighborhood filled with friendly peacocks and plenty of friendly people who walk with their friendly dogs. I know the names of more dogs than I do humans.

But recently, a blue tooth speaker fell on my right foot and I needed to stop walking for a while to let the injury heal. I’m surprised by how much damage this one little speaker was able to cause.

So, I pulled out an old exercise album (yes, an actual vinyl) that I bought my senior year of college, rather than researching the thousands upon thousands of online options. Joannie Greggains’ “Total Shape-Up” is a perfectly good calisthenic and aerobic routine working all the major muscle groups…why reinvent the wheel, right?

Well, not only was I shocked by how good the workout felt the first time I pulled out the album (I took it slow, only doing parts), but how much my body remembered how to do it!

When I was finishing my studies at South Dakota State University, my roommate and I did that routine in our apartment probably two or three times a week for a year, or a year and a half. 35 years ago!  Truly, I was stunned.

I’m a voice teacher and my husband is a massage therapist, so we both have experienced and understand how traumatic memories are stored in the tissue of the body. But the good ones are, too! Including vocal technique. If there’s anything you’d like to improve about your voice, know that with repetition, your body will eventually know what to do instinctively, and remember.

Now I wonder what my body will do if I pull out the old clarinet that is still in the South Dakota farm house where I grew up. I’m going to buy a reed and bring it home with me when we visit my family this summer. I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for keeping me in your inbox and on your read list.

Celebrating MANY VOICES: One World! Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/ Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

When Something Simply Must Be Expressed: How Abella Found Her Voice

You’re a speaker. A coach or group facilitator. A singer. You love, love, love your work. Nothing is missing in your life. (Except perhaps social interaction during a verrrry long year of isolation thanks to a global pandemic.) Then…BAM! It hits. The idea that rocks your world.

Has anything like that happened to you?

It’s what happened to me when I met Abella.

It started out so innocently. I just wanted to pass along the basics of healthy and effective vocal technique, in an interesting and affordable manner, in a time when people couldn’t get together much in person.

Since vocal training became my primary passion and work in the world, I’ve gotten onto a bit of a soap box, I admit it. Far too many public speakers speak in vocal fry, without even knowing what it is (and it can be so easy to fix!) Children should be taught healthy and effective vocal technique in schools. Famous speakers don’t know why they’re hoarse at the end of the day. Excuse me, but this is ridiculous! And…I’ll step down off my soap box now.

I was on a mission to educate, to inspire, to inform. Oh, I was all ready. So pumped. Ready or not, here I come!

And then I spoke to some of my students. And my world was rocked.

It was Emmett who first suggested I use a story to illustrate the vocal technique principles. A fable. A myth. Anything but a “How to Vocalize for Dummies” type format. And that’s how it all it started.

Ideas started coming to me on my Godwalks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNSqwV7nBOI&t=15s before I put pen to paper. (Well, fingers to keyboard.) And when Abella came in, she came in like a flood of inspiration. I know this happens to other artists all the time, but – for me – it was the first time I’d experienced that kind of inspiration as a fiction writer.

As I wrote these 34 pages, I saw everything through Abella’s eyes, heard through her ears, and smelled through her nose. I experienced what she experienced. I knew she had curly brown hair and bright brown eyes. I knew her horse was her best friend when she was age nine, like mine was for me at the same age. And that she had been devastated and lost her voice. And that she would get it back at the end of the story. I saw her canopy bed with the yellow fabric draped above her when she woke up in the morning. She took me on the journey with her, and I will never forget it.

MANY VOICES: One World is a phrase running through me now, since following Abella through her journey to her authentic voice. To me, the phrase means everyone on this planet has a unique, authentic voice and something important to say. No matter where you were born or into what circumstances. Whatever your skin color, cultural background, belief system or orientation may be. Our many voices share the same world. Let’s celebrate them together.

One way you can help do that is to purchase your personal e-Book with accompanying vocal training videos https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/ for the staggering price of what you would pay for a venti mocha frappuccino. If you like the book, write a positive review (all five star reviews so far!) and tell your friends about it.

That, my friends, is how we start a Many Voices: One World movement. Come join me on the journey!

Thank you for the article! I really enjoyed the lab today and also realized that my voice and confidence have improved since starting a few months ago! Thank you! – Sidra N.

Thanks for keeping me in your inbox and on your read list.

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)