Today sees the release of an interview of mine that deals with a subject that is very close to my heart, that is what is defined as “personal brand” in today’s jargon. It is titled “Mylena vocal coach, personal brand to be expressed out loud“. In fact, my work has been intimately linked to the idea of “personal brand” for more than 20 years, and it is no coincidence that all my vocal coaching workshops are titled “Identity and Voice”. Even the most prestigious universities have recognized me as the pioneer and leading exponent, capable of connecting the world of voice to the world of business.
Very often people come to me who have already attended many courses, perhaps they have even had the pleasure of working with big names, such as Tony Robbins in the United States or Roberto Re in Italy, but they do not yet feel ready to play their game. They have learned an art, if you like to say so, but they are not able to put it into practice effectively. Among the problems that I most often solve with my work I find ideas like “I feel like I’m not being listened to”, “I don’t like my voice”, “I feel like I’m playing a character”.
In fact, when you wear an outfit that is ready-made, or tailored for someone else, you may feel awkward, clumsy, not very elegant, and so on. The only way to effectively communicate your identity and authenticity to others (your brand) is to go through your Inborn Voice. That is, first of all to identify one’s own essence, to give it the right space to grow and shine through, without shame or preconceptions that often do not belong to us. This is where the term “bespoke” comes into play, i.e. a Vocal Coaching built on the unique characteristics of the person, nothing ready-made or the same as someone else.
Here is the translation of the interview.
Mylena vocal coach, personal brand to be expressed out loud
Anyone who wants to become a well-known face in their industry has come to terms with the idea of taking care of their look, showing off in front of the camera, putting their ideas down on paper (perhaps with the help of a ghostwriter). But what about the voice? It is rarely described in these terms, but it is a very powerful business card that says a lot about our identity. There are also those who are ashamed of their voice but have resigned themselves to accepting it as it is, convinced that only singers and actors know how to master it.
These and other myths are debunked by Milena Origgi aka Mylena Vocal Coach, creator of the Inborn Voice method. In addition to having personally built a personal brand of international renown, Mylena Vocal Coach daily helps people who are very different from one another – from managers to students – to use their voice with awareness, transforming it into a tool to communicate their most authentic value.
We know that today you are an international reference in your field, but let’s take a step back: can you briefly tell us how your journey began?
A lifelong journey, always related to the voice. I began as a child prodigy at the age of six. Even then my gift, an angelic voice, resonated in the church choir. I dedicated about 15 years to singing, until I became a professional singer, but it wasn’t until my early twenties that I began to realize that my gifts and abilities were meant to go far beyond that. I am passionate about many other subjects, in fact I studied foreign languages and literatures (including Japanese), medicine and oriental culture. All my curiosities have turned me into a vocal coach who is now dedicated to helping others express their identity in the world. I have written several books, the last one is called The Way of the Voice, where I tell about my first years of career and the origin of the Inborn Voice method. Today I live and work in Boston, but I also have a studio in Milan, one in London and soon I will open one in Los Angeles and one in New York.
Was there a moment when you realized your professional bet was working?
My profession was illuminated by a series of events and doors that opened as if by magic, perhaps by destiny. I began by dedicating myself to teaching singing. Gradually I realized that my students didn’t really want to sing, they weren’t interested in obtaining a melodious, harmonic or tuneful voice. They just wanted to express themselves, to give voice to their being. Almost thirty years ago, I began to develop my own method of teaching, the one that led me to become a professional and executive Vocal Coach: Inborn Voice, a method aimed more at reconnecting the voice to one’s emotions, to one’s deepest self.
It was the side effects of my work that brought me international success. The results achieved by my clients, their new ability to use their voice to freely express ideas, opinions, skills and experiences, created a spiral of events. Their careers took off and word of mouth about my work reached ever higher heights in the world of business and finance. Today I’m still marginally involved in singing but 90% of my work is dedicated to CEOs, entrepreneurs, everyday people and young people looking to unleash their voices and with it their personalities and professionalism. There are also parents who have realized the importance of getting their children off on the right foot and are seeking my help to avoid passing on bad expressive habits to them.
Outside of word of mouth, the greatest evidence of my success in Italy has come from the Internet. My site was – and is – the number one in Italy and also the most copied. More and more people are using some typical vocabulary of my work, for example “Vocal Awareness”, “Vocal Identity” or “Spiritual Resonance”, but I would say it is a normal outcome of any success.
What is the difference between your job as a vocal coach and that of a voice teacher?
In Italy the term vocal coach was abused when television programs dedicated to singing began. In fact in the Anglo-Saxon world the singing teacher is the singing teacher. The Vocal Coach does much more than take care of the technical aspect because he takes into consideration, in addition to the voice, values, emotions and interactions with others so that the whole package is then consistent with one’s own identity.
This is a complex discussion; perhaps an example will help. A voice teacher, as the word itself says, teaches the same things, in the same way, to every person. The teacher introduces new ideas, new techniques, new ways in his students. This generates a whole series of vocal clones. The result may be pleasant to listen to, but it is usually devoid of expression, emotion and, above all, identity. I, as an Inborn Voice vocal coach, do exactly the opposite. I don’t try to add anything new to my clients, I try to remove what has already been learned (perhaps unconsciously) and somehow prevents them from expressing or even recognizing their own identity. Each of my clients is an identity and as such expresses something unique when realigned with their Inborn Voice.
I work primarily with people who no longer recognize themselves in their own voice, who even hate their own voice, people who somehow feel an emotional void or – worse – can’t convey their passion, their strength, their life energy to others during a conversation. Real diamonds in the rough.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve started a real fight with those who claim to teach singing by harnessing the voice, I’ve been the first to want to free the voice.
People who come to you are very different from each other in terms of age, needs and profession: can you give us some examples?
Big CEOs of top-tier multinationals come to me. Globalization has led them to represent their companies and present new products at globally broadcast events. The results have often left not only them, but also their closest collaborators, stunned. But I am delighted when they thank me, not only for the results achieved during keynotes, but also for those achieved in their personal lives, in their families. The tone, the color, the focus, they all convey messages. It’s not enough to say a word of affection, you also need to give yourself time to feel the emotion attached to it, and then convey it with your voice.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, I also have young people coming to me ready to enroll in college. In the States and in the East the competition for study is really extreme. To get into the most exclusive universities, you also have to make a presentation in front of a committee. One of these boys was sent to me by his mother because he suffered from “Social Anxiety Disorder”. He was terrified of taking this interview and even his professors advised him against trying. In reality, he was just extremely shy and I am proud to say that not only was he accepted at the university of his first choice, but he also managed to find a girlfriend and friends. Not only his parents, but also his professors, were shocked by his exceptional flourishing.
Why can voice become a personal branding tool?
I would like to make a distinction between personal brand and personal branding, as in Italy it is easy to confuse the two.
Personal brand is who you are deep down, your values, your traits, I would say your charisma. Our personal brand will guide our actions, our reactions and our interests. Every interaction with others will reinforce our brand in their memory. Everyone has a personal brand, whether they are aware of it or not. The Inborn Voice, the one I have defined in my method, is exactly the basis of this personal brand, with one clarification. Many times people prefer to keep quiet or express themselves using externally learned patterns that don’t match their brand. Kind of like wearing an inappropriate outfit. You dress in black to avoid being noticed, you dress like a businessman when in reality your deepest self is that of an artist. With my “vocal realignment” I am going to act on these elements, trying to remove what has been learned wrong in order to allow our essence to flourish and be authentic with our personal brand.
To give you an example, if you are in a meeting of your work group and suddenly the boss walks in, what happens to the participants? What are they thinking, what are their emotions, how are they feeling? Certainly the air in the room changes. This is where one’s acquired brand comes into action. Perhaps those who had the best idea choose not to expose it, those with the worst idea are supported by those who don’t want to appear silent, and so on. The balances get altered. That’s why my team building work in companies is increasingly in demand. Because the value added by the various misaligned brands doesn’t match reality. And if you think about it, everything is tied to voice. Maybe in the 70s and 80s the dress was important, today only ideas count, and ideas are communicated only with words, with one’s own voice, on a few occasions that should not be missed.
Personal branding, on the other hand, is the image that others build about us through social media and other virtual activities. Nowadays, videos, stories and podcasts are the most popular and it is therefore essential to be able to convey your emotions and ideas in front of a camera. Many people prepare a script and take advantage of editing cuts to try to have control over their communication. Those who choose to work with me realize the inherent falseness of this approach and – I’m proud to say – can boast a “good first.” They lose far less prep and post production time and communicate their vision better.
At the end of the day, our brand is what stays in the memory of those who have met us. You can certainly learn how to build a successful branding, but if it doesn’t match the brand we express live, you risk a big flop.
What situations do you weigh the lack of voice work against and why? In your blog, for example, you cite Mark Zuckerberg‘s hearing in the U.S. Congress.
Going back and watching those videos will make it easy for everyone to understand the difference between personal branding built for him and his real personal brand. Every time you try to sell a skill that you don’t really have deep down inside, your voice betrays you. It’s not enough to indoctrinate, to know the theory, or even the practice. The difference between a great Ceo and an ordinary person who finds themselves catapulted into the role of Ceo seems obvious. This does not mean that an ordinary person cannot become a great CEO, on the contrary. First of all, it is necessary to understand that it is impossible to impersonate someone you are not and it is useless to turn to coaches who claim to teach you how to do it. Only with an approach similar to that of Inborn Voice is it possible to show who you really are while wearing the clothes of a CEO. I always quote Apple’s commercials. “I’m a Mac” was created by Steve Jobs. He was one of the greatest CEOs ever and yet he never gave up his identity. Today, many coaches teach how to imitate him, but in my opinion they are wrong. Clones are never well accepted, in fact they are often mocked. One must find one’s own Inborn Voice to make it flourish outside.
Instead, for us mere mortals, when there is a lack of connection between Inborn Voice and voice, unhappiness is usually born. For example, we find people who complain of “not seeing their value recognized”, who have their much sought-after promotion stolen from them, who suffer in relationships because they expect to see a reaction in others that is missing. Perhaps it is necessary to understand that our way of communicating is deficient and needs to be restored. Many times a person is convinced that they have succeeded in getting their message across, but in reality something else has come from the other side. For me, for Inborn Voice, communicating is much more than a passage of words from one person to another, but an exchange of infrasounds, emotions and understandings that happen at the speed of light.