Today on The Systems Made Simple™ Podcast, business systems expert Courtney Elmer talks with celebrity voice coach, Tracy Goodwin about how to develop key communication skill.
Celebrity voice coach Tracy Goodwin joins us on the show today to show you how to communicate with clarity so you can build strong relationships, create an emotional connection with your audience and ultimately close more sales and help more people.
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You're listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode 59, which is all about how to improve your communication skill and end that fear of public speaking. Today on the show, I'm sitting down with a very special guest to talk about the science behind building influence. If you want to be seen as the go-to authority and you're ready to learn how to captivate the room, stay tuned.
Over the last 30 years, Tracy Goodwin has had the honor of transforming the lives of hundreds of executives and business professionals, celebrities, and seven figure entrepreneurs like James Woodburn, Selena Soo, Peter Esho, and more simply by shifting the sounds that are sending the wrong message out of their voice.
I bet you didn't know that you could send the wrong message out of your voice, did you, based on how your ideal client's subconscious mind is receiving your sound? It’s fascinating. Most people think it's about getting the words right in about what they say, but it's not about the words at all. It’s all about your communication skill and learning how to stop that fear of public speaking.
It's also about how you say what you say that makes you a credible authority and attracts people to you, or repels them from you and diminishes their trust in you. If you're a longtime listener, you've heard me talk here on the show before about limiting beliefs and stories and how those can prevent you from getting what you want.
Until you become aware of and shift those beliefs, it's going to be tough to experience the growth that you want to see in your business. Tracy has studied and researched the human voice for the majority of her career and has developed something that's now known as the psychology of the voice. She also learned how to improve communication skills.
It's built on these same principles. Each of us has a voice story. Or said another way, you have beliefs that drive the way your voice sounds. Those voice stories can make you repel your audience without you knowing it because of the way the sounds play out of your mouth. It’s the difference between sounding confident and sounding unsure. It’s the difference between being someone worth listening to, or being someone who adds to the noise.
I invited Tracy here on the show today, because this is the work most entrepreneurs aren't doing. In working closely with Tracy myself, I’ve unlocked the next level in my own voice that is helping you feel more connected to me right now. She's going to show you how to do the same, so you can speak your truth, attract more followers, and connect with your audience in a much deeper way that leads to more clients, more conversions, and more customers. I could seriously sit here and rave about Tracy all day, but I'll let her tell you about this fascinating work herself.
Welcome to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Tracy! I have been waiting for this episode because I know what you have to share, and I cannot wait for my listeners to hear from you and to hear how they can begin to connect with their audiences in a much deeper way. Thank you so much for taking your time to be here with us today. I can’t wait to discuss how to improve your communication skill and end that fear of public speaking.
I'm delighted to be here. Thank you so much for asking to have me on.
You teach about something called the psychology of the voice. Hearing that for the first time I'm imagining someone might be like, I didn't know my voice and psychology had anything to do with each other. So what does that even mean? Tell us, what is the psychology of the voice?
If I dive down rabbit holes, feel free to give me the timeout. Psychology of the voice is the methodology that I created over the last 36 years coaching voices. I had the opportunity to study under the greatest voice masters of our time, and I loved their work, but for me, it goes all the way back to my own personal story. Your voice is created by the noise in your head, by your subconscious, your psychology, which determines and how you’re going to use it for the rest of your life.
So we get input and that subconscious takes in. Then that subconscious tells the face literally how to deliver the voice. So it’s the psychology, or the voice story if you will that’s calling the shots. It’s all about exercising that communication skill.
Can you give us an example of that?
Psychology of the voice, the voice story is the core or the driver of what it creates. All of this starts literally before we're five years old. My research shows me that one phrase before we're five can determine how this is going to go down.
So let's say four year old Tracy goes to pre-K and somebody says, “nobody wants to hear what you have to say.” Tracy’s subconscious goes, “Don't worry. I've got this.” And little by little Tracy who used to be loud and talkative now starts to shrink up her voice and make it quieter and quieter. So by the time she's 30 or 40 she's in an inner turmoil when she has to use her voice.
Because that story that her psychology is saying is, “If you use your voice, you're going to get shut down.” Or, “If you use your voice, nobody wants to hear you.” So that driver is actually calling the shots. Tracy may desperately want to use her voice, but she can't because the driver put this into her muscle memory. “Quieter. They don't want to hear you anyway. We have to keep you safe.”
So what I'm hearing you say then is that because one of the prime directives or primary jobs of your unconscious mind is to keep you safe, it actually prevents you from using your voice in the way that you're meant to.
When we think about typical voice things, things that we think are the problem. Well, I'm not very loud or I'm too loud or I speak too fast or I don't breathe or I can't get the words out of my head. We think about, okay, that's a mechanical thing. And it is. I like to use the example of fast. That is a mechanical thing. You talk too fast. I can put in a technical element to slow you down, but if that driver is saying, “You better get to the other side of that and make sure you got that right.” You will always revert to speaking fast.
I can relate to that so much because I just completed your three-day challenge.
I've been told that my whole life, “You talk really fast.” On some level, I knew I talked fast, but I didn't realize why until working with you and recognizing that it was because of a fear of judgment. So whenever I was speaking, I wanted to get it over as quickly as possible — that Facebook live video, that tough conversation — let me hurry up and do it and get it over with. This is not the best way to improve that communication skill.
This wasn't something I consciously processed. I had this tendency to rush through whatever it was that I was saying. That to me is so powerful to have that recognition, isn't it? Because in coaching and in the field of psychology, we talk about these beliefs, these stories, that drive your behavior and influence your actions. It's the same way with the voice, and that’s what I'm learning from you.
When you can think about, when you can change the story that’s causing you to diminish your voice, you can start to use your voice in a much more powerful way.
We are not even remotely maximizing the power of our voices. Here’s the thing: there are no bad voices. You're fantastic. You do a great job. It's about that next level of confidence, that next level of connection, that next level of captivating me and compelling me. This is so far off of people's radar. They don't even know how to maximize the power to improve that communication skill and end that fear of public speaking
It's teeny tiny shifts that take you to that next level. But we have to get to the drivers first that are keeping you from using your voice the way you could be. Generally the driver is not the truth of who you are. It’s just noise in your head that’s blocking you from showing up as who you’re meant to be.
So, “I've gotta go fast” or “I've got to prove that I'm good enough” or “I've got to act like this, or do that,” or whatever or, “I shouldn’t talk at all” are all stories. And we buy into that. Once we buy in, we create the habit. I'll just go fast. I'll just go fast. I'll just go fast. You do that 32 times and now all of a sudden you meet me and I say, you know what? You're talking fast.
The story that comes to mind for me is when I was eight or nine years old, I can remember this clear as day, my mom was standing at the sink, washing dishes. I was going on about something, and I used to get in trouble for my mouth. I was sassy. I always had the last word. She turned and looked at me and she said, “Courtney, your mouth is what gets you in trouble.” I never connected the dots until recently.
That one sentence has influenced my ability to connect and to compel people over the years and the habits that I've unknowingly created because of that.
Look at how simple that is, too. It never entered your mind, young Courtney, when mom said that it would cause you to diminish your voice, or feel afraid to speak up, or talk fast to avoid judgement.
To avoid her judgment, her condescension, her disapproval of me and how I developed coping mechanisms to avoid that, which became apparent in my voice through the years to avoid not only her judgment, but also the judgment and the disapproval of anyone and everyone around me.
It’s that simple. There's a couple of things that I've discovered, all of which is researched. I am obsessed with the voice and studied it for so many years. The majority of it, I don't believe my mother or your mother or somebody else's mother or father or teacher intentionally meant to hurt you and thus prevent you from speaking in the way you were meant to.
They didn't know. They weren't maliciously trying to shut your voice down. But here's the thing. The subconscious number one goal is to protect your heart. Your voice is the orchestra of your heart and is the utmost place of judgment. No wonder it got shut down.
What you were given before you were five or eight or 10, that the habit that was put into place, you needed it. What I do is come in and just show your subconscious that you don't need it anymore. We just quickly remove that driver and replace it with a new habit. We're just working off of old stuff.
So I'm curious then: when it comes to compelling and captivating the room and to connect with people through your voice, what are some of the things that would prevent someone from connecting with you or from being captivated by you? How can you improve your communication skill and end that fear of public speaking?
A lot of people feel like they're confident. They've got a good sense for what they're talking about, but yet even still, those people might be unknowingly keeping people from connecting with them. So what would prevent someone from connecting with me for example? What kind of voice habits are getting in the way? How can I end my fear of public speaking? How can I improve my communication skill?
Let me say this first: the majority of this is going down on the subconscious level. That was a 10 year body of research of mine and that's where I come from in this work now, how are you being processed subconsciously? Consciously we might think, man, she is really great, but subconsciously there could be a disconnect. That disconnect is in three concepts, 1) confidence, 2) connection, 3) and captivating someone. Those are the three pillars of psychology of the voice, but it can be, and here's a common one, “I‘ve got to get these words right.”
If I am up in my head trying to get my words right, then I’m disconnected from whomever I’m speaking to. If I believe that if I get the words right you'll give me what I want, then there's no way the voice can bring in any vocal variety. It is vocal variety that tells me who you are.
But the way they're coming out is monotone, which is not a good communication skill. I have no idea who you are because everything's the same and you're not letting me in because you're so afraid of judgment. If you reveal who you really are, did you feel the difference in that?
Going too fast is another one. I call it a voice mask. You talk AT people instead of to them. It could be because you’re a people pleaser. It could be the need to prove. It could be because of a fear of public speaking. People with these voice masks have zero vocal variety because that’s the first thing the subconscious eradicates: “no no no, don’t let them know who you are because then you’re subjected to judgement.”
That's what I was thinking as you were talking, how when you're so in your head about what you're going to say, it actually can prevent people from connecting with you--a bad communication skill. Because you're up here in your mind trying to get it right or trying to avoid judgment or whatever that it prevents you from being able to speak and to let those words flow through you. That is powerful.
Think about sales. If I want you to buy something from me, is there any amount of words that’s going to make you go, “Oh, I like her. She gets me right.” No, because it’s not about the words. It's all about the feeling. That's another way the subconscious has tricked us. On the daily I hear, “Well, I've gotta be professional. I can’t evoke feelings or sound emotional.”
The subconscious has tricked us into this either - or world. Either or I'm professional or I'm not; either you take me seriously or I'm crying on the conference table.
We don't work in the middle space, and the middle space is revealing who we really are. Until you can learn how to do that and work on that communication skill, you can't ultimately get what you want. It is the voice that makes that happen. Science has now proven that.
Knowing now that I don't have to worry about the words is freeing. It is like a breath of fresh air because my goodness, when you're so focused on having to get it just right and thinking that that is going to be the thing that makes somebody buy from you, then no wonder if you're not getting the sales you want. So you mentioned this thing called voice masks, and I would love to dig a bit deeper into that and explain what some of these are, what are voice masks and, and how do they work? How does a voice mask inhibit communication skill growth?
So you might have somebody that externally is delivering well, but what I'm really interested in is what's going on on the inside. Do they have the freedom to say whatever they want to say? Do they have the freedom to trust and know that they're going to get the words, right? Do they have the inner freedom to not be in the outcome? Not worried about the judgment? Not worried about anything?
I want both for my people. So one of the things I do is I hear sounds and I identify them. It's the cool secret weapon in this work that I do. I can hear when people have a barrier up that I don't connect to. There is a sound that keeps me out somehow.
This is how it started, I could hear these sounds. I could feel it. I was fascinated with it. I knew it all about improving that communication skill. I could tell that there were different sounds that created different feelings, but they created a disconnect for me.
So I started studying this and listening to voices and what they basically are and learning how to improve that communication skill. It depends on what your driver is in your head. It facilitates you to put up something. I call it a mask because it keeps us apart, but it's basically sounds in the voice that will keep you out. The two most popular are actually very different sounds.
The first one is needing to prove: the minute I need to prove to you how good I am, the voice will shift. And all of a sudden, there's no way you're getting near me. You can stand over there because you're not getting close to me. The reason somebody would have a “needing to prove mask” and want to keep people out is that their driver says, “You don't get anything right, do you.” I’ve seen it, I’ve studied it. It’s the business person who comes to me and says, “Tracy, I think I'm repelling people.”
And I listened for a minute and I said, “You are.” And they ask why, and I say, “What are you trying to prove?” And they always say something like, “I spent my whole life trying to prove my worth to my father.”
And I say, “Well, it got left in your voice and it's not serving you.” Then we work to move it out. And everything shifts because the person, the listeners, the potential customer subconscious is hearing that. It repels them. But when we move that sound out, you can start to attract people vs. repel them.
The opposite one that is very common is the “people pleasing mask.” It’s a sound that says, I'm a people pleaser so I want to make sure I keep you happy. I'm going to put on my people pleasing mask, which means I'm not going to give you any inflection. I'm not going to show you any passion because I don't really know what you want me to be. People pleasers think that to get the result they want, they have to be who you want them to be to get it. What the people pleaser doesn't realize is that this is the very thing that keeps them from getting what they want, because what the person wants is to know who you are.
So there's all these different masks that we put up and they can shift. I might have one mask with you and one mask with somebody else, but it's people pleasing. It's doubtful. We can use words as a mask. I'm going to just deliver a whole bunch of words. I'm going to word, word, word, word and give you every detail. We buffer. We justify, we do all these things to keep people out. And they're literally sounds in our voice that go into the listener's subconscious, which repels them, and then we wonder why can't I increase my following. This all has to do with that communication skill.
It has nothing to do with the words that you're using, but it's these subconscious sounds. It's nonverbal. That's what people are picking up on that makes them decide whether you have to be trusted. And we know in building a personal brand, that's the first thing you gotta have know, like, and trust in order to have any hope of them purchasing from you or working with you. So something else I want to ask you too, Tracy, are these elements of vocal variety? I hear you mentioned this a lot and I'm curious to know what those are and how they can help.
I break vocal variety into five elements and the reason I break them into five elements is because years ago I started paying attention. This all has to do with building that communication skill.
What I discovered in a research study was that the sounds that we use in our voice, the elements of vocal variety, line up with the senses. We have five senses. When you can trigger my senses, you affect my emotions. When you affect my emotions, we create an emotional connection. Now you're in a position to control the conversation. Which is the most powerful thing to control. You can't control an outcome, but if I can make you feel something, I now can control the conversation, which ensures me to get the outcome I want. I was fascinated with this. The most powerful of the five is pause.
I combined this work with my study of, how does the subconscious process a pause? How does this impact your communication skill? It processes a pause as you care about me. But you know what people hate to do? Pause. They hate it. They're so uncomfortable. They think people will think, “I don't know what I'm talking about and they're going to run over me.” But pause is the most powerful vocal tool you’ve got. And until you can stand and own a pause, you don't have the kind of confidence that I like to talk about.
Then we have an elongation, which is degrees of emotion, and this is powerful. This is where I can talk to you about the fact that I really like chocolate pie. This is a great communication skill. And now I'm working in a different realm. I'm working to a different degree and you don't have to care anything about chocolate pie. You might love tacos. And now all of a sudden I've triggered the feeling of love inside you.
When we're talking in a feeling language, it doesn't matter what we’re talking about. I get you, and you get me, because we’ve experienced the same emotion, and have created a point of connection. So that's degrees of emotion.
Then we've got loud, soft. Sometimes I'm going to get louder and sometimes I'm going to pull you close. Then we got fast, slow. Then we've got high and low, which is pitch, that’s melody. Which science has proven is where the trust is built. Guess what? The first thing the subconscious takes away is melody. This is all about the building that communication skill.
You mentioned something too about this idea of controlling the conversation versus controlling the outcome. I would imagine when you get good at using these elements of vocal variety and recognizing when those voice masks are trying to come into play and knowing, “let me just put that to the back of my mind and focus on what's right here in front of me,” that that would directly play a role in your ability to control the conversation.
You said something interesting too in my work with you. That 99.9% of the time people are not thinking what you think they’re thinking about you.
A perfect example that so many people can relate to is I'm talking to you. I realize I mess up, I'd stumble over something or I stutter a minute while I collect my thoughts. Then my brain goes, “oh, I messed that up.” But the person listening probably didn’t even notice it. Here’s the thing about trying to get the words right? How do I know if you got the words right? I don't even know you. I don’t know what you know.
I will tell you this, and this goes back to vocal variety, and this is important. This is another reason why we really need to start working in these five elements to build that communication skill.
I stumbled upon something that led me, of course, to a research study, where I found out that everybody has an aversion to one of these elements. I found this out because a lot of people were telling me they couldn't listen to a certain person and I thought, “I can't listen to that person either.” I wanted to find out why. What I found out was, I can't handle loud. Some people can't handle quiet. Some people can't handle fast. I can't handle loud. So if you are loud at me the whole time, I'm out.
Now, I can’t handle loud. But if you loud and soft me, or loud and fast me, or shake it up somehow, then you keep my attention. So now I've lost a third of my listener base, simply because I stayed on one note the whole time. This emphasizes the importance of mastering all five elements of vocal variety. This is all about the communication skill.
As you were sharing that, it reminded me of what my dad used to say to me growing up. Growing up as a teenager, my dad would see that I was always pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing to make the A or do the best, best, best that I absolutely could. All the T's had to be crossed, all the I's had to be dotted and he would tell me, Courtney, Courtney, Courtney — focus on the 80%.
80% is enough. Nobody knows that you got an extra 20% to give and they don't care. So focus on doing 80% well enough. Of course at the time I'd roll my eyes and think, that’s not true because if I'm not giving it my all, then I'm not giving enough. I'm not enough. But now later in life, looking back, I can see what he was trying to get me to understand, which you just shared is, nobody knows what you're going to say. So how do they know if it's right or not? So why are we so worried about getting it right? Why do I need to focus on that communication skill?
We never knew to question it. We never thought to explore it. These are just not things that we're taught.I see people who say, “Well, I've got to hire a new copywriter, or I've got to do this, or I've got to do that. Or I've tried everything and I'm no good at business.” Hold on a minute. Have we checked your voice? Do you have a needing to prove mask? Are you actually repelling people? Did you maximize your communication skill? That's what I love about this which really brings it all full circle, a perfect note I feel to end on today is that it's a gift you already have. This is not about going out there to master some new skill or acquire some new level of expertise. This is about learning or unlearning how to use the gift you've been given.
This is a question that I end every episode with when I have a guest on, and I would love to hear your answer to this question. What then is your definition of success?
How many people's lives did I change while I was on this planet? How can I help build my communication skill?
Tracy, thank you so much for being here today. This has been an absolute pleasure. I hope that our listeners are thinking about the power that they already have within them simply when they can learn how to utilize their voice, how to improve that communication skill and end that fear of public speaking. How can they connect with you and learn more from you and take the next steps in working with you?
You can find me captivatetheroom.com which is the best place to find me. I'm also on Instagram and Facebook under @captivatetheroom. I have a podcast called Captivate the Room, too. Reach out at any time.
Fantastic. Tracy, thank you so much for sharing on how to improve your communication skill and end that fear of public speaking.
Oh, thank you for having me. It was a great conversation.
Isn't Tracy amazing. I could seriously talk about this all day. This is an episode that you will want to come back to, especially if you're finding it hard to connect with your audience right now, or if you feel like the content you're putting out there just doesn't seem to be resonating with your audience and getting the attention that you want.
Make sure you look up the show notes to find out how you can connect with Tracy so you can continue learning from her too. And speaking of leveraging your message to reach a wider audience and how to improve your communication skill and end that fear of public speaking. Did you know that a podcast is the fastest, most effective way to do that, to build authority and to be seen as a trusted leader in your industry?
Podcasting has its perks, but you have to have the right ingredients to build a successful show. So, if you've been thinking of launching a podcast, grab my free guide, the five things you need to know before launching a podcast. So you can make sure that hosting a show of your own is the next best move for your business.
You can download the free guide at courtneyelmer.com/effortlesspodcastingguide.
Next week on the show, I'm going to reveal the truth behind what it means to be the visionary leader of your business. If you're someone who's hitting 10K months, but maybe not consistently, or you feel stuck, or you feel stuck hovering around that $6-figure mark, but you aren't sure how to make it to the next level because you can't work any harder than you already are.
The next week's episode is definitely for you. And even if you're not at this level yet in your business, you'll want to listen to him so you can avoid the mistakes and the pitfalls that most entrepreneurs make along the way to six figures and not waste your time on trial and error. That's coming up next week.
So make sure you're subscribed to the show so that you know, when that next episode drops and I'll see you back here next time on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast. Until then go live your EffortLESS Life®.
Celebrity Voice Coach
Celebrity voice coach Tracy Goodwin joins us on the show today to show you how to communicate with clarity so you can build strong relationships, create an emotional connection with your audience and ultimately close more sales and help more people.