Speaking Powerfully is a Skill. Alain Washnevsky Shares How with This Tip
What is your creative expression?
In a culture where we’ve become so obsessed with the idea of finding one’s voice, and an over-saturation of content and tutorials on “being authentic”, I assumed this invite-only seminar hosted by Club Captivate was going to be yet another new-age movement for the starry-eyed.
But for the next 3 hours, as we spent the evening deconstructing and dissecting some of the most powerful storytellers, I began to witness the blooming craze of their formulaic process and recognizing the power of captivation- in essence, it’s achievability in 3 elements. Club Captivate’s overarching theme is that the ability to master each one of these points will make you a successful and captivating speaker:
- Projecting your Voice
- Having Strong Body Language
- Delivering Good Content
I had the pleasure of meeting Alain Washnevsky, one of the coaches at the event. The name may sound familiar because he is an actor on Homeland, Scandal amongst several other recognizable shows. Alain is a vocal coach and his specialty is on “Finding your V-Spot” (V for voice), in which his career in acting has coincided with his mastery in not only finding your voice, but making it be heard.
The reality is, in our quest for finding our voice, passion, and mission, sometimes we miss the note when it’s not delivered constructively. And to compare this to the philosophy, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it…” also metaphorically accords well to Alain’s message,“What good is a voice when you can’t project it?”
I’ve written extensively on the importance of personal branding but have yet to identify the importance of the actual physical voice until now. Because perhaps the natural instinct is to believe that it’s more ideal to focus on the figurative “voice” than the literal voice, though the rooted truth is that both are equally as important.
In a few short yet powerful words, here is what Alain advises:
“In finding your voice, you have to be heard. You need to resonate your voice, use your organ and use your breath. The breath is the essence of everything.”
So how does one master their breath?
Alain recommends achieving this by strengthening your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is a deep abdominal muscle that works with the muscles in your ribs and obliques to assist the lungs in the mechanics of breathing. One of the best tools is to practice the Breath of Fire, a yoga method that also by happenstance has been associated with fighting anxiety, nerves, fears, pain, and depression.
The key is to breathe in and out through the nose (or mouth) rapidly, pulling the abdomen in towards the diaphragm during the exhalation and out during inhalation. This is done very fast, as fast as 2 or 3 times per second, and also very loud. It’s an exercise that can be done everyday for about 5-15 minutes.
The ability to strengthen that muscle over time will allow your conscious mind and body to speak from the place of strength, to tune into your body and critically engage with your breathing pattern. Volume doesn’t come naturally to everyone but owning your voice and projecting it to be heard is a skill that is achievable with practice and patience.
Connect with Alain on Twitter.