Working with adult clients can be a challenge, but it is immensely rewarding. As adults, we may feel exposed and uncomfortable when tackling our vocal and physical habits. After all, adults are supposed to be excellent at something as "simple" as talking. Right?
Authentic communication cannot be faked. It cannot be "muscled through." That's the point. The ability to speak to individuals and crowds with ease, to communicate ideas effectively, to demonstrate leadership and charisma is an increasingly rare, and therefore valuable, skill. It is, therefore, a worthy investment and, with a commitment to mastering it, a skill to last a lifetime.
Adults will seek out my services for some of the following reasons:
1. To advance at their workplace. These individuals have often received performance reviews stating their voice is flat or unclear, that they lack facial expression or interpersonal skills, or that they fall apart when called on to speak, and that, in order to be considered for promotion, they are required to build their skills.
2. To build their professional reputation. Looking to advance their skills in networking, interviewing, and public speaking, these are often entrepreneurs, experts in a specific field, or university students. Entrepreneurs need to be able to sell themselves and their ideas. Experts often build sustain their careers with guest speaking slots on the radio, on television, and at conferences, and students look to acquire valuable skills to assist them in accessing opportunities to acquire experience.
3. To achieve personal milestones. I have worked with men and women wanting to feel more confident when talking to strangers, facing their fear of writing a heartfelt speech to present in front of wedding guests, wanting to build power in their aging voices, and deciding to finally learn how to deliver an entertaining speech.
In addition, there are often gendered stereotypes associated with speech and movement. I have worked with women who trained their voices to be breathy, pitched artificially high for their vocal apparatuses, who take up as little physical space as possible. The result is not being taken seriously in professional and personal spheres, which can lead to being passed over for promotion, being on the receiving end of bullying behaviours, and lacking the feeling of being a powerful participant in one's own life. I have worked with male clients who had taught themselves to hide behind an expressionless facial mask, to stand with knees locked and feet wide apart, to speak in a flattened vocal tone, habitually speaking lower than is their optimum. Regardless of a person's gender, communicating with power and expression, supported by an open and balanced body is an essential and valuable skill set.
Then there are men and women who beat themselves up for not meeting limited gender stereotypes. I worked with a female client who handled a difficult time in her life by lowering her vocal tone and setting her jaw so that nothing could touch her. While it was a protective mechanism, it also frustrated her how she was perceived, that she couldn't connect with others or be seen as her true self. I worked with a man who was fabulous at leading his team but would fall apart when it came time to speak to international management, leaving him feeling weak and incompetent. I have also worked with men and women learning to cross cultural divides, as Westernised Australian, American, and Canadian communication styles are very different to Hispanic, Middle Eastern, South Asian, or Eastern European patterns (to name a few). As our world becomes increasingly global in scope, it is important that we grow an awareness of our own communication style and be able to adapt.
Regardless of your aims, we can aid you in achieving your goals with our individualised approach and flexible sessions. Learn more about our adult services here or contact us.