The UnNoticed Entrepreneur - how to overcome being overlooked.

Just how can you improve the sound of your voice before you hop onto the next zoom call?

May 18, 2021 Jim James
The UnNoticed Entrepreneur - how to overcome being overlooked.
Just how can you improve the sound of your voice before you hop onto the next zoom call?
Show Notes Transcript

As babies we know instinctively how to do it, but as we get older we over ride our natural inclination to breath fully and as a result start to impact how we sound. At least that is just one of the learnings from this audio full episode with voice coach Jimmy Cannon., as he shares exercises on air for everyone to do which help to restore a relaxed and full bodied tone to your voice.

Check out his great sounding courses here: https://www.jimmycannon.com/

If you want to know how to get noticed this show is for you. I have interviews, tools, tips, everything that an entrepreneur could need in order to help their organization to get noticed for free. Thank you for joining me on the unnoticed show.

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Jimmy Cannon:

Most people push a lot or push too much air over the vocal folds and they end up straining the throat. The throat becomes narrow so you mentioned the feeling of when you drink coffee, the feeling of narrowness in the throat so that's a sematic sensation that if we get perhaps nervous before we speak, so by warming the voice up and using the correct muscles to do that, it's going to keep the larynx and the throat really nice and open and relaxed. Now to feel the resonance, which is basically the vocal folds moving together they're connecting together very quickly and that's causing the vibration or the phone nation if you like, we're going to change that sh into a J. So we're going to go from a

Jim James:

Jimmy cannon. Thank you so much for joining us on the UnNoticed show to talk about voice and how we can get heard. Literally Jimmy welcome.

Jimmy Cannon:

hi, Jim, how are you?

Jim James:

I'm okay. But I don't sound. As good as you. So I'd like to know to Jimmy, I'd like you to tell us about voice, because you're both qualified in voice, but also you help as a voice coach, business owners, musicians, and you're trained Saxophonist So tell us about how voice can get people noticed and what they can do to improve that.

Jimmy Cannon:

w thank you for asking. okay. the first thing is something that I've always noticed with my people I'm speaking to my clients is obviously the sound of their voice and how they're engaging and perhaps the difference between. Can I take it off piece slightly. What I've noticed about, we had a chat in the virtual green room earlier on, and the difference between your voice and then and your voice now is quite considerable. And it's for me, it's fascinating because before you started speaking, we were chatting about, various ..Things, and really interesting. And what I notice is that your energy was a very different type of energy to where it is now. So for instance when you started introducing me in introducing the the podcast, et cetera, Your energy was was higher. Your pitch range was more expanded, much more dynamic you started using into what's called your head voice. And you're much more aware of how you sounded. So I'd like to ask you where you are. Are you aware of that difference when you start speaking in, in, when the red light comes on for instance,

Jim James:

I put my radio voice on Jimmy and, sometimes I think, and I have to say that I sometimes listen to the pre-record and the post record and why. Why do I not sound the same before and afterwards? And what am I trying to project when somehow I go, hi and welcome to the unnoticed show. And that's one of the reasons I was interested in having a conversation with you because we all do it, We have a kind of an on-air and off-air voice. And we, how do we, if you're like be authentic and relevant in both circumstances. So I am aware of that and thanks for embarrassing me slightly with. Picking that up.

Jimmy Cannon:

No, not until now. I like both. I like to have, a normal general conversation, but I think there's an it really depends skews me. I've got beeping going on. There's it really depends on the circumstance and the environment. So if you're pitching. You've got to sell the product. You've got to create some energy. You've got to engage with the audience. If you're on stage, you might be speaking to 500, 600 people. You haven't got a lot of time to engage with them. And it's your voice is your core instrument. If you'd like to engage instantly with that, with the audience now, whatever audience there might be. I think there's got to be an element of performance. When you're selling, when your, pitching or your presenting, you've got to, you've got to find you've got to find some variety of dynamics, of pitch, of of. Tone of voice to express yourself and also to communicate your message or whatever that message might be. So there's got to be an element I can't possibly as a singer, I couldn't possibly, or saxophone player, I couldn't possibly go on stage and just play like I'm playing a home, like I'm practicing, I'm noodling. So noodling, you could say is a sort of your conversational area of things and what when as soon as we go on stage. there's a responsibility. There's a prerequisite in a way that you have to communicate with the audience, they all the ordinance. There's an expectation that your audience need and require

Jim James:

So how does one then if you like, get prepared for those, because as you say, we have our kind of offline voice and maybe have our voice for talking to our children or to our colleagues or our business partners. And then as you say, if it's a pitch, it's a different, different situation, Jimmy, how do you help people to prepare for that?

Jimmy Cannon:

Okay. So first of all, preparing for, if we're specifically looking at preparation, the first thing to do is to warm up the voice. So we need to. get the gears in motion, get the oil moving around the engine. So there's a lot of worldwide exercises that we can go through. And I'm happy to share a couple with you right now,

Jim James:

Yeah. Yes. I think so. Cause I always try before I get on and I found, for example, if I drink tea before a show I have a lot of a lot of moisture in the chest. So now I'm just trying to drink water. If I drink coffee, it makes me a bit tight. so

Jimmy Cannon:

Yeah, and I love coffee. Yeah. I love coffee. And the milk dairy is terrible. So coffee is, caffeine is terrible. There is terrible whiskeys. Even worse.

Jim James:

especially if mics before your

Jimmy Cannon:

Yeah,

Jim James:

show, and then it may loosen you up, but you forget what you're saying. So let's Jimmy let's do that. Let's think about, as a, it has a preparation. What should one do or could one do before? I guess a zoom call for example, or a pitch?

Jimmy Cannon:

Okay. There's a couple of things to do. And let me give you a couple of techniques or exercises that you can do water. Absolutely. Hydration is key. So you've got to keep the vocal folds. Hydrated well done. And the other thing you can do you want to do is you want to activate the vocal folds. So the vocal folds are very small, but just under about two centimeters in length. And they're in your throat, in your larynx. And if you're listening, you'll be able to feel them, if you, and we could do this now, actually, if you make it, if you make a shoe sound, so imagine you're shushing your, a cat as walks into your office, their gym and you need to shush it away. So you need to go, just do that for me and put two fingers just above your Adam's Apple way. Exactly where you are. Yep. Yeah. Perfect. So just get a nice long, that's it, that's it Yeah. Perfect. So just get a nice long, that's it now to feel the resonance, what we call the resonance, which is basically the vocal folds. Moving together. They're connecting together very quickly and that's causing the vibration or the phone nation. If you like, we're going to change that sh into a J. So we're going to go from a try that for me. Yeah. How does that feel? Can you feel the resonance

Jim James:

a lot different. Yeah.

Jimmy Cannon:

Yeah. So this is one way. This isn't necessarily a way to warm up, but it's just to get, just to feel what's happening because most people push a lot or push too much air over the vocal folds and they end up straining the throat. The throat becomes narrow. So you mentioned the feeling of when you drink coffee, the feeling of narrowness in, in, in the throat. So that's a sematic. Sensation that we've we, if we get perhaps nervous before we speak, so by warming the voice up and using the correct muscles to do that, it's going to keep the larynx and the throat really nice and open and relaxed. So this is really important to let that air go. So let me give you a couple of exercises where it might take a couple of days to get to practice, but here we go. So this the first one is called a lip trill. Okay. So this is brilliant. It just takes the energy away from the throat and I'll do it for you. Now, what you need to do is you need to put your lips together and go and make us sound like a horse. So by that,

Jim James:

Okay. I was going to go,

Jimmy Cannon:

again. Perfect. Perfect. Yeah, you can't laugh by the way, when you're doing it, it doesn't work.

Jim James:

Do I, how do I get the part as the pantomime horse?

Jimmy Cannon:

Yes you did on the back end. I'm

Jim James:

in the backend? That's my reaction to that, Jimmy.

Jimmy Cannon:

Excellent. Jimmy didn't tell me it was going to be fun.

Jim James:

Oh yeah. There's podcast should not be fun for sure.

Jimmy Cannon:

All right. So we're going to go from there. We're going to go from there. We're going to start just exactly the same, making a resonant, making a phone eight. So we're going to go, yeah. Feel it if you want to. So the idea is that we keep that going, but we make a sound. So we just do this. get that. Okay.

Jim James:

Wow. Okay. This may be more fun than you're expecting. Yeah.

Jimmy Cannon:

Yeah, that's great.

Jim James:

I lose it a bit at the bottom there. You're much better at that than I am.

Jimmy Cannon:

I've been doing it a while and I did, I have practiced it for quite a few times before I started, started doing it. So it's, it takes, it will take a couple of days. So you've done very well, actually. Very good. Very good. That's very good. The other thing, if you can't do that is what's called it tongue trill. So instead of a lip trill, now, just going back, the idea with that is that it's just, you're all up. You go all the way up to the top of your vocal range and then down again. So let me just demonstrate you start low. Oh, by the way, it can help. You could try this, actually, if you've got, if you've got one hand free is to put two fingers. Underneath your cheekbones near the, near that near your lips and just raised the cheekbone slightly. And that tightens up the lips. Try

Jim James:

Okay. Now look a bit like the joker without the makeup.

Jimmy Cannon:

That's it. Unfortunately, your sound cutting out a little bit, which is probably the noise cancellation on your zoom, but nevermind. I can get it back. How's that feel for you? Yeah.

Jim James:

Now I can feel the range of my whole face is starting to vibrate. Feels like a facial massage

Jimmy Cannon:

that's it. That's great. That's going to talking about my songs one way of re just really getting loosening up the jaw, loosening up the the fricatives and around the area here as well. If we just take your. your fists and you go into the bottom of the cheekbone and give that a nice massage there just to free up your

Jim James:

I see. Yeah. we just rubbing our faces. Yeah.

Jimmy Cannon:

faces. We're not rubbing each other face. It's just robbing our own faith obviously versus a virtual

Jim James:

to that. Yeah. we're not happy. We're not haptic wearing suits. Yes. Yeah. And one day I'll Jimmy, I'll be at a rub your face, or, but in the short term, we'll have to do, but he has a one. Jimmy has a wonderful, full face beard for those of you that are listening

Jimmy Cannon:

I do. It's difficult actually, because I can't very easily demonstrate what I'll have to turn sideways. I want to talk, we'll talk about the throat. So there we go. The thing about what you want to do, the great thing about these. Is there. Let's talk seriously. Now I'm thinking of the thing about these lip trills, tongue trills, et cetera. A tongue trill instantly is just is when you make it make a sound like this. So you're putting the middle of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, the soft palate to give that a go. Yeah, that's great. Well done.

Jim James:

Whether I was canceled by zoom again, then but,

Jimmy Cannon:

A little bit. Yes. Okay. That's all right. So that was great. You can hear that was very good. So you're, you might find that the tongue trill is more effective for you rather than the lecture, but either of these it's really great because they take the energy, they place the energy more forward rather than into the throat. So they take away the energy from the larynx here. So it's a great way to warm up. And I do it every time I go on stage, the wings and it's. it's tricky because obviously if you've got other people around you, they're going to wonder what you're doing when you're going. So that might be

Jim James:

Yeah, there may be wondering if, especially if they're sharing the pantomime horse with you, they're maybe worried what's going on now, Jimmy, let's just talk about about not just horses but breathing because that's the other big part of it? Isn't it warming up is one, but I know that a lot of singers and so on all talk about breath. So where do we go with that?

Jimmy Cannon:

breathe. Breathing is absolutely key. And I pretty much every first session that I do with a client or training is spent on breathing. So we, I always have to cover it. there's never a session where I don't talk about or cover breathing. So it's really essential. And it is essential because none of us breathe correctly. And as soon as we get to about six months of age, our body starts habitually changing the way we breathe. And if you notice a baby as they're, if we can, if you, and I can remember that, that time

Jim James:

Yeah. I remember the children being babies. I mine's a little bit more distant memory. I remember the daughters. Yeah,

Jimmy Cannon:

if you remember when your daughters were lying, as babies lying on their tummy and you could see their low back raises, they're taking a breath in, so you might've heard that phrase. And in the UK, we hear a lot, there's always somebody when you get into a lift and it's a crowded lift, you'll hear somebody all breathe in, and actually what you want to do is the opposite. So by if you breathe in. You're expanding the lungs you're taking breath in. And I know that sounds really obvious, but when you really think about it where we're not really breathing correctly. So think about when you're taking a breath in your belly is coming out. Your diaphragm is dropping and actually relaxing. So when, and then when you take, when you exhale, the breath comes out, your diaphragm is contracting and pushing the air up through your lungs. So that's it. Firstly, it's about thinking about how much air you need for each phrase and really controlling the amount of breath that you're taking in. And then controlling the out-breath and it's the controlling, the out-breath that is going to allow you to find or control where that breath goes and what areas of body it resonates within. So by resonating different areas of the body, there are seven areas of resonators in the body. And by finding those areas, you can find different. Ways to create different tone and different emotions when you speak. So if I wanted to, I can use my microphone. Now that makes it makes a big difference as you can hear. But you started when you started this kind of head, voice is mixed voice between your chest voice and you'll have voice there and you mix, there's a mix then it's a different sound. And you can, if I go back and I want you to, I want to project my sound. I want to speak to most of the room and I want to start using it's a little bit of a cliche. Hopefully I'm not overriding the channel here. I'm not distorting, but you can see the differences, finding that different tone. And I think I strongly believe that the change of dynamics, pitch and tone in the voice can give you that can give you that. Change of engage that give you that engagement when you're speaking and give you that variety that you need to keep people engaged.

Jim James:

So it really sounds as though, a it's a very complex area that we probably have taken for granted. I know, I feel as I speak sometimes, The top of my throat and struggle with how you get the sound to come out of the lower part. so how do you get people to do you get them to just to focus on breathing out then Jimmy, from a practical point of view before they're going to be speaking,

Jimmy Cannon:

I wouldn't say before. Yeah. my sessions are not purely just for just before speaking, but if you're yeah. there's the whole, it's the whole gambit really of the whole, but I get what you mean. for instance, if I was working with you, Jim, then I would agree with you that it's not a drastic thing. Don't panic. you

Jim James:

to quit. I'm going to quit podcasting. I hate my voice.

Jimmy Cannon:

But look, here's the thing it's about your perception, isn't it? It's about your self-observation about, and people come to me and they say, I haven't had a chap. I had a chap come to me. we all do discovery calls where we will businesses. Aren't we? So I had a chap come to me. A couple of days ago from the States and he had the most incredibly amazing sounding voice. and he, hi. Yeah. Hi Jimmy. Always Jimmy. Kevin. Hi. Yeah. Great. Listen. I really want to improve my voice. And are you sure? Cause you sound great. I'm actually, I my, my business coach would I told him about this and he, he slapped his hand and said, Jimmy, he wanted your help. Why didn't you? I said I don't think I could have helped him, but it's all about your perception. Now you've already said to me that your, you feel well, just explain to me again, you were talking about the high in your throat.

Jim James:

Yeah, that's right. I think that somehow I end up speaking much too much through the nose. I feel as though that's how I sound, that it doesn't come from the chest or even from the stomach, it comes from much more from the head.

Jimmy Cannon:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So it, and your is what's interesting is that you feel like it's coming from your nose. actually it is coming from your nose a little bit. you're resonating with what's called, from the mascara, which is, in the nasal passages and it feels like that. and it, in a way it is resonating. The actual foundation is coming from the throat. But you can make it feel the tone of it can be felt in that area and could also be. If you're not breathing correctly, if you're not, if you're not using the air correctly and you're not allowing your larynx to be nice and relaxed, then you will let your throat, your vocal tract will be more narrow. So I would say that we could widen your vocal tract a little bit more and again, access a bit more foundation within that area. And also relax the jaw a little bit more access into your. Your oral cavity and use your abdominal muscles to create more subtotal pressure without getting too technical, but basically open up those areas of resonance. So being able to breathe correctly and be able to control that breath on the exhale is going to allow you to access those areas. So that would, I know that I could change that probably now for you.

Jim James:

Wow. Okay. we've only got a 20 minute show, so maybe we can do a

Jimmy Cannon:

we'll talk afterwards.

Jim James:

yeah no, I'd love to do this. what will burst be funny is we do this offline and then we can come back and trial it for another show. but Jimmy do you have a sort of a one, one thing you say to him, if you just do this, that'll help. Do you have anything like that that you recommend to people.

Jimmy Cannon:

for you because it's easy for me to see what you're doing. What I would do is I would concentrate on the inhale and this is not a quick fix, but I would think about how much breath you're taking in, because I don't feel that you're taking enough breath in when you're speaking. So if we just quickly put your hand on your belly, And take a breath in very slowly through your nose at eight seconds. Here we go. One, two, three, four, hold your nose or three. No, sorry. Five, six, seven. I don't know. Hold your nose.

Jim James:

I've lost track. I'm holding my nose and

Jimmy Cannon:

Yes, because I thought it looked like you were holding your nose. I don't know. Let's start

Jim James:

If you hear me passing out it's because the instructions I'm breathing in through my nose, but holding my nose and my face

Jimmy Cannon:

hold your nose, Matt. Definitely don't hold your nose. So handle one, handle the belly. I'm thinking about the belly coming out and relaxing as you're taking a breath in and don't hold your nose, but think about breathing through, definitely breathe through your nose in here we go. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and let it out. for me.

Jim James:

let it out when you were doing yours.

Jimmy Cannon:

Yeah. Yeah. yeah. So do it. Yeah. Do it on your own. Cause it's quite difficult to do it

Jim James:

Okay. I'm going to do this one time and then we're at a time ready? I'm going to read, then I have to say about four. I stopped.

Jimmy Cannon:

I go and take a breath in that's it? Three, four, five, yes. Six. Yeah. And then let it out with a ha. Ah, So you should be able to quite easily and comfortably taking a roundabout eight seconds of breath and then let it out for us. I would say that you're not utilizing the amount of breath that you could do when you're speaking of that, we'll give you more resonance and more of a dynamic range of your voice.

Jim James:

Jimmy cannon. I could manage an inhaler for, so I'm only using 50%. So I can only do better with your help. Jimmy cannon. People want to find out more about. You and your amazing insights into sound and also just to enjoy your company, how can they find you?

Jimmy Cannon:

Jimmy cannon.com.

Jim James:

Thank you so much for joining me today on the unnoticed show Jimmy.

Jimmy Cannon:

Take a breath.

Jim James:

Thank you for joining us on the Unnoticed Show I've been with Jimmy cannon saxophonist to voice coach and professional voice expert here in the UK and also to clients around the world, including the Americans. Thank you so much for joining me, Jimmy.

Jimmy Cannon:

My pleasure, Tim speak soon.

Jim James:

Good. I look forward to it, hopefully with a better sounding voice.