Normally every month I receive about a thousand emails from people who seek from me simple advices, impossible solutions or desperate requests for help. I usually receive emails from people who believe there are ready-made solutions, from more mature people who have understood the importance of speaking and want to make a positive change in their lives and careers, or from people who are simply curious about the Inborn Voice and want to experience it for themselves. Unfortunately, in May and June of this year, the emails asking for help have exponentially increased in number, a symptom of something serious and dangerous going on. When I receive these types of requests, I always try to offer my support, but in this case, it’s important to take it a step further and alert everyone of the situation.
Over 600 help requests have come in over the past few months and they all have a common theme. They all describe something like “I took a vocal coaching class and now I’m having serious problems with my voice, why?“. The most common problems are “I lose my voice even if I talk for half an hour on the phone”, “I don’t recognize my voice anymore”, “I make strange whistles or high notes when I speak”. Anyone who has read my book about the art of keeping your voice healthy knows perfectly well that these complaints are all symptoms. When I investigate what kind of training they have taken, again the theme is the same: online classes given by actors, even famous ones, or psychologists. The classes main theme was “learn to use your voice” or “learn to have an authoritative voice“. The marketing technique is simple: I offer you a free course and then I talk you into signing up for a paid one.
It is clear to me that these types of classes have nothing to do with vocal coaching or even professionals related to vocal coaching. I don’t understand how it is possible to attract so many people with such a stupid idea. How can anyone even imagine that acting or psychology is the solution to a years-long communication problem? Certainly to be an actor you need to know how to use your voice to express an emotion, certainly a psychologist can help you clear an emotional block. But this has nothing to do with the practical use of your voice, your identity or your self. Ultimately, all it would take is a little bit of critical thinking and to listen to the voice of those who pitch themselves as teachers: are they really skilled at using THEIR voice?
The message must come through loud and clear: learning to use your own voice is something quite opposite to the very idea of “acting” or “imitating” another person’s way of dealing with a speech. The “mind” can help you to “copy”, but not to “be” someone else. This is a recurring theme of so many public speaking or coaching classes. The equation these marketers propose is simple. If Titius or Caius have been successful using a certain way of posing, whoever is able to copy their motus operandi will be successful. The idea of the “easy” solution has become commercially viable and apparently sells well. It would take very little to understand the deception. In fact, if Titius or Caius have been successful, it is not because of their way of presenting themselves, but because they have been able to be always and everywhere “themselves”. They were them, they didn’t follow one of the training courses that are proposed to you, they didn’t follow the instructions of a coach, a book or a video picked up from Youtube. They were simply themselves. This is what I teach with the Inborn Voice method. To find your voice and make it resonate in the world.
This doesn’t mean that then no one can hope to be as successful as they were, it simply means that you have to find your way to express yourself to others. Everyone has their own key, their own message. Others will see in us what they are looking for, and if the raw material is there, if the vital essence is there, personal success will follow. Stop imitating the famous (Steve Jobs is the most copied of all time, they suggest to ape him even in the Universities!). Stop developing “greenhouse” languages to create groups that support each other by feeding new recruits and new disasters. It is enough to believe that “copying others” is the solution to one’s own dryness of soul. It’s much easier to let what you already have inside bloom!
The thing that baffles me the most is that people who have taken these courses complain that they haven’t learned a thing. The disconcerting thing is that they don’t realize that they have learned something, namely how to ruin their voice! In fact, they all swear that they have never had vocal problems before. Yet one plus one always equals two. If before you took a course involving your voice you had no problems, and a few months after the course you start noticing problems, maybe the two things are related. You have actually learned something: a sure way to ruin your voice. Every time you take a course that has to do with your voice, you learn something. You only need to “listen” to learn. You don’t need strange exercises. That’s why the job I do, vocal coaching, is a job of great responsibility.
So, once again I recommend that everyone be wary of taking classes that “teach” copying, acting, or warbling. At least not before reading one of my books. “The Way of the Voice” for those who want a holistic view, “The Art of Keeping Your Voice Healthy” for those looking for a practical aspect. I understand that not everyone can tackle an Inborn Voice path, in part because I just cannot accommodate all the requests I receive. Sometimes, before you hop on a train, you need to double check which direction it will take you. The excitement of getting on board often takes you in the opposite direction. And getting back isn’t always as easy.