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Melanie's Voice

Free resources to jump start your journey.

01/

Affirmations and Positivity at the Forefront

Successful people, from top salespeople to entrepreneurs to Olympic athletes, have learned the importance of controlling their minds...

02/

Meditation for Productivity and Performance

It's no secret that your emotions and your state of mind can affect your ability to perform. Your inner voice can sabotage you at the very moment you need to shine, regardless of expertise or preparation. We've all felt that moment of paralysis and haziness as our brains...

03/

Fairygodboss hosts Melanie in "Voice Coaching Tips to Impress"

Keep your visitors in the know. Want to make this content your own? Just add your images, text and links, or connect to data from your collection.

04/

Know the Difference: Volume vs. Projection

There's a big difference between volume and projection. Mastering both can significantly improve your business communications...

05/

Sounding Warm: The Why’s and How’s

Seeking warmth in professional communications can sound counterintuitive, but exhibiting warmth can actually help you in your career. Even in a professional situation, you want to be able to fully engage the other party; you want them to hear you literally and...

06/

Executive Voice Coaching Resonates in the Era of Zoom

No longer able to rely on handshakes and full body language to connect, Zoom-era professionals are seeking new skills, replacing those they relied on in an office setting...

07/

Brainz Magazine: The Fortune 500’s Secret Weapon – Executive Coaching by Melanie Espeland

For decades, leaders of some of the most iconic and successful companies have harnessed the power of executive coaches, including: Jeff Bezos, Former CEO of Amazon and...

08/

What is Executive Presence and Why Do You Need It?

What is executive presence?  Some people call it gravitas, charisma, or that Je ne sais quoi!  Overall, executive presence is each leader’s unique expression of their... 

09/

What is Executive Voice Coaching?

Executive Voice Coaching creates a sustainable and powerful change in your voice. That alone can enhance your executive presence, improve your overall communication... 

 

01/

Affirmations and Positivity at the Forefront

Successful people, from top salespeople to entrepreneurs to Olympic athletes, have learned the importance of controlling their minds.

 

Negative thoughts and images are destructive and they need to be replaced by continually flooding your subconscious with thoughts and images of the new reality you wish to create. Affirmations are simply statements that describe a goal in its already completed state.

 

I like to advise my clients to use affirmations. Consciously expressing gratitude and acknowledging one's strengths can be a powerful tool and the effects undoubtedly improve professional interactions. Affirmations enable us to continue to train our brains; train that internal conversation and be more authentic and more present in the moment when speaking to someone.

 

To begin using affirmations, start with the powerful words “I am” and always:

- Use the present tense.

- State it in the positive. Affirm what you want, not what you don’t want.

- Keep it brief.

- Make it specific.

- Include an action word ending with –ing.

- Include at least one dynamic emotion or feeling word.

- Make affirmations for yourself, not others.

 

You can use the following simple formula: “I am so happy and grateful that I am now …” and then fill in the blank.

 

If you're completely in your head and lost in your thoughts, your thoughts are in control of you. There's no way that your external energy is going to be up to par and you're not going to be engaging or interesting to the audience.

 

Affirmations are reminders to your unconscious mind to stay focused on your goals and to come up with solutions to challenges and obstacles that might get in the way.

 

If you're interested in learning more about self improvement for productivity, feel free to Schedule a free 30-minute consultation or check out our 5 Minute Guided Facial Awareness Meditation.

 

02/

Meditation for Productivity and Performance

It's no secret that your emotions and your state of mind can affect your ability to perform. Your inner voice can sabotage you at the very moment you need to shine, regardless of expertise or preparation. We've all felt that moment of paralysis and haziness as our brains struggle to overcome nerves and regain confidence, whether presenting a proposal to clients, negotiating a salary with a boss, or communicating ideas to colleagues.

 

Mindfulness: You're the boss of your brain

When you're speaking, there are always two conversations happening: the conversation you're having with yourself in your mind, and the one you're having externally that's coming out of your mouth. Subconsciously, the other person will always hear that internal conversation going on in your head. Some will hear more than others, depending on how well they're listening, but it will always come through. So before you go into a meeting, you have to control that inner dialogue. You can't allow your brain to think, "I'm really nervous. I'll never get a raise. It's going to be really difficult." You have to take control of those thoughts and make your brain say, "Actually, I'm really excited about this. I'm great at my job. I deserve a raise. My boss is such a nice person." That message will absolutely come across and will almost certainly change the outcome of the interaction.

 

If you're doing that, you're actually manipulating your brain into relaxing and turning off fight-or-flight mode. The brain can't tell the difference between what's imaginary and what's reality. You're physically changing your body chemistry as well as emotionally changing your current state of mind. It seems simple, but it's something that most people (especially the U.S.) don't do. They don't think about controlling their own thoughts and being mindful and in the moment, but it's incredibly important, and anybody can do it.

 

Meditation: More important than ever

Our recent transition to remote communication has made us less connected, and worse, it has given us the sense that we can downplay the importance of human connections at work. We need to reverse this new trend and throw it on its head and say, actually, it's even more important to be connected because we're not physically in the same room. We do need to look at each other. We need to think about a meeting before we join. We need to meditate.

 

Meditation is a new practice for many, so I have created proprietary meditations that I share with my clients. The meditations are completely guided, so anybody can do them. You don't have to be a Zen master. You just have to start somewhere to build the skill sets.

 

If you have trouble with meditation and don't get it right the first time, you haven't done anything wrong. It might require baby steps to get to your goal and it's OK that it's going to take a little bit of time.

 

* * *

Gaining mindfulness and changing your inner dialogue is challenging for most successful professionals. Many are used to always winning. They are used to always being able to cognitively figure things out. Learning to connect to your body is not easy. It's not easy to have great communication skills and to be aware of how you think and how you sound. That's a whole new skill set that most people have never really worked on, but it's a crucial one that has become more important as presentation and delivery matter more than ever.

 

If you're interested in learning more about meditation for productivity, feel free to Schedule a free 30-minute consultation or check out our 5 Minute Guided Facial Awareness Meditation.

 

03/

Fairygodboss hosts Melanie in "Voice Coaching Tips to Impress"

 

04/

Know the Difference: Volume vs. Projection

There's a big difference between volume and projection. Mastering both can significantly improve your business communications.

 

Volume can be equated with loudness in close proximity and is simply measured by decibels of sound. Projection is that sound's ability to travel greater distances. The better the projection, the more intact and true that sound remains from afar.

 

Why does this matter in business?

 

Professionals aspire to exude confidence in communications and often fabricate this confidence by increasing the sheer volume of their speech. Using air from the top of their lungs, high volume speakers can appear insincere and irrational, rather than authoritative and solid on a topic.

 

In contrast, projection can demonstrate control, confidence, and thoughtfulness. In order to project effectively, speakers use diaphragmatic breathing and solid airflow technique to project voluminous, powerful sound. The resulting sound, resonating and clear, inspires trust in the speaker and confidence in their authority.

 

Espeland Enterprises offers personalized executive voice coaching to help clients project confidently and communicate more effectively.

 

Schedule a free 30-minute consultation to learn more about optimizing your voice and improving executive presence.

 

05/

Sounding Warm: The Why’s and How’s

WHY inject warmth into business relationships?

Seeking warmth in professional communications can sound counterintuitive, but exhibiting warmth can actually help you in your career. Even in a professional situation, you want to be able to fully engage the other party; you want them to hear you literally and figuratively. If you're excited or nervous about something, you want to communicate that in order to be vulnerable and authentic. If you can be the warmest person in the room, you will actually be the most engaging person in the room.

 

HOW do you learn to exhibit warmth?

 

1. Acknowledging and expressing emotions

Many of my clients have been socialized to not emote outwardly, and so I work with them on actually communicating without words. I instruct them to read a piece of a script with anger or sadness or joy. Despite conjuring an emotion internally, oftentimes the reading comes out flat, indicating that there is a cognitive dissonance between internal feelings and outward expression.

 

If you're coming off very flat, no matter what you're talking about, you will never be a great communicator and you're not going to be engaging to the other party. Being aware of how well you communicate externally and how well you move your energy externally is very important.

 

2. Vocal training

Simply employing some simple vocal and speech practices, you can accentuate the inherent warmth in your communication. This can be accomplished by adapting a "melody of gratitude": speaking at a slower pace, avoiding upward inflections at the end of sentences, elongating words, and lowering pitch.

 

3. Physical preparation

Think of the physical body as an instrument that needs to be tuned, warmed up, and prepared for having the best possible communication outcome. Practicing yoga enables you to literally stretch out and relieve tension in the body so that you can freely communicate. If you have a lot of tension in your body (and especially your face), releasing that tension will actually change the way your sound is coming out of your mouth. It will be stronger and warmer, and your body will just be more comfortable with less tension. Everything will work a little bit more smoothly.

 

WHAT IF I'm not inherently warm?

I always want my clients to be authentic and just the best version of themselves. Some people are not particularly warm, but we can work on them being aware of who they are, what their brand is, and utilizing their strength and presence. Somebody like Steve Jobs, who was extremely analytical and precise, was not warm at all. That was his style and it worked because he brought a lot of authenticity and passion to the table.

 

 

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that humans are social beings and that we require some level of personal connection. If people can connect with you because you're warm or show empathy, that will draw people to you and allow them to let down their guard and communicate more openly and effectively with you. This open communication and mutual trust paves the path toward growth, advancement, and success.

 

Schedule a free 30-minute consultation to learn more about optimizing your voice and improving executive presence.

 

06/

Executive Voice Coaching Resonates in the Era of Zoom

No longer able to rely on handshakes and full body language to connect, Zoom-era professionals are seeking new skills, replacing those they relied on in an office setting.

 

In a pre-Covid world, sharing ideas could be accomplished in passing or in the familiar setting of offices and meeting rooms, where colleagues intuitively spoke in turn and communicated with the confidence afforded by decades of face-to-face interactions.

 

These routine, comfortable interactions have been replaced with more formal, regimented online meetings where the dynamic often feels awkward and rigid.

 

Simply participating in a meeting can feel like public speaking or presenting, and Espeland Enterprises is seeing a significant increase in demand for executive voice coaching as professionals address the challenges of remote interactions.

 

Clients are concerned that in remote meetings they:

  • Lack gravitas, leadership and executive presence

  • Feel anxiety before meetings and when speaking

  • Use filler words, such as “um” and “like”

  • Speak in a stilted, unnatural manner

  • Do not exhibit warmth and authenticity

 

Utilizing physical, mental, and emotional tools, borrowing from diverse disciplines, from acupuncture to speech therapy to improv, Espeland Enterprises offers solutions to these challenges, customized for each client to build their unique voice, communication skills, and executive presence.

 

Stay tuned for exercises and tips to overcome common Zoom communication challenges.

Schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

 

07/

Brainz Magazine: The Fortune 500’s Secret Weapon – Executive Coaching by Melanie Espeland

For decades, leaders of some of the most iconic and successful companies have harnessed the power of executive coaches, including: Jeff Bezos, Former CEO of Amazon and Larry Page, Co-Founder of Google. Goldman Sachs believes in it so much that they speak to their coaching commitment on their website.

 

The Market

In fact, HR consulting firm Hay Group estimates that up to 40% of Fortune 500 companies utilize executive coaches. Demand is estimated to reach $11.2B this year. Per a survey of HR and learning and development professionals, 68% expect demand to continue to increase.

 

The ROI

So why do the major players invest in these services? Professionals have described an average return of 7x, and over a quarter reported an impressive ROI of 10 to 49x.

 

Additionally, Harvard Business Review found that multiple stock portfolios composed of companies that "spend aggressively on employee development" each outperformed the S&P 500 by 17 to 35%.

 

Diverse levers can be attributed to coaching ROI, with a typical engagement looking like the following:

 

Coaching Impacts

  • Improved relationships with direct reports, peers, and other stakeholders

  • Increased commitment to the organization

  • Increased job satisfaction

 

Bottom Line Impacts

  • Increased revenue

  • Increased productivity

  • Higher customer satisfaction

  • Reduced turnover

 

Next Steps

Perhaps executive coaching is the missing link for your organization. If so, here’s what you need to do next:

 

1. Find the perfect coach

  • Many companies hire external executive coaches or coaching firms due to their expertise. To find the right coach, consider the following:

  • Do they have both quantitative and qualitative skills? Are they able to measure impact and ROI with ease?

  • Are they a strong verbal and written communicator?

  • Does their client portfolio match your cohort?

  • Do they understand any relevant technical jargon relevant to your industry or cohort?

  • Have they been in your cohort’s shoes? For example, have they ever been an executive at a Fortune 500?

 

You may find that different coaches may be needed for various cohorts in your company, such as one for junior level rising stars and one for the C-suite.

 

2. Embrace coaching

Make sure your organization is strongly communicating support of its coaches or coaching program. One of the best and most practical ways to do this is to offer coaching widely throughout your organization with limited barriers to entry.

 

3. Ensure accountability

Ensure that your Executive Coaches hold employees accountable to their scheduled sessions, goals, and homework. This not only allows for the employee to remain on track, but helps them to take the engagement seriously and further appreciate the endeavor.

 

4. Share the data

Communicate to your organization ongoing results from your coaching engagement. This will not only encourage continued use, but also encourage skeptics to give it a try.

 

By Melanie Espeland, Executive Contributor for Brainz Magazine

 

08/

What is Executive Presence and Why Do You Need It?

What is executive presence?  Some people call it gravitas, charisma, or that Je ne sais quoi! 

 

Overall, executive presence is each leader’s unique expression of their leadership style.  Executive presence allows for respect, trust, and likeability amongst your seniors, peers, direct reports, and other stakeholders. It’s the ability to express compassionate authority, or said differently, confidence, warmth, and know-how.

 

Executive presence is an external reflection of how you feel internally, about yourself, the topic at hand, and others in the room.

 

Why You Need Executive Presence

 

Executive presence provides access to opportunities and to “insider” discussions.  If you’re not included in the senior meeting discussing next year’s strategic initiatives, your great ideas will never stand a chance.  

 

Additionally, we want executive presence because it enables the ability to influence others, which is critical in almost any professional position as you move up the ladder.

How to Build Executive Presence: A Structured Approach  

 

There is no one correct formula to achieve executive presence; it is not 1+1 = 2.  Consider different personality types such as Steve Jobs and Michelle Obama.  Their divergent presence styles align to their authentic personalities.  

 

We can use the common threads observed across different types of presence styles to help you discover and define your own brand of executive presence.  We can incorporate additional tools from the holistic physical, emotional, and mental realms to practice executing your newfound style.  This structured approach through the Espeland Method™ is as illustrated below.

 

Literal - Physical 

Your literal communication of your authentic self is through your voice, body, and appearance.  

  • Voice: your voice or the sounds your body creates are one of the key methods of expressing ourselves and connecting to others.  

  • Body: being at ease and releasing tension is the back door to broadcasting confidence. Your body is an instrument you can play to create the desired effect. 

  • Appearance: cultural norms, bias, and style in our appearance will always affect how others perceive us.  Perception is reality. 

 

Figurative - Emotional & Mental

  • Authenticity: you need to be in touch with yourself in order to share who you are and thus effectively connect with others.  Humans are a social species and naturally curious about each other.   

  • Confidence: the feeling of confidence (outsides of your physicality described above) allows even the worst laid plans to sound reasonable. Alternatively, an excellent insight said without confidence may never be seriously considered. 

  • Vision: your vision is how you view the world and your goals.  This is a guiding light that should be informed by your authenticity. 

    • Vision allows for clarity in how you communicate ideas to others, allowing for a larger chance of being understood and adopted.

    • Vision allows for consistency in how you respond to "off the cuff" or unforeseen questions and circumstances, which is hugely impactful in your overall presence. 

    • Vision that you are truly bought into allows for you to communicate with more "gusto" and emotion, therefore aiding overall presence.

 

Additional Thoughts: 

  • Your style can be aided or diminished by the environment or culture you're in. 

  • Having executive presence requires some self-awareness.  You can cultivate self-awareness through various means such as mindfulness, meditation, and soliciting ongoing feedback.

09/

What is Executive Voice Coaching? 

Executive Voice Coaching creates a sustainable and powerful change in your voice. That alone can enhance your executive presence, improve your overall communication skills and help you quickly reach your career goals. 

 

Our coaches are trained in the Espeland Method™, an interdisciplinary approach that combines our Founder and CEO’s performative training and voice prowess with Columbia Business School MBA education and experience in the corporate business world.

 

We harness our unique skill set to help business executives articulate their authentic selves. By incorporating mental, physical, and emotional interdisciplinary tools, our coaches craft your inner dialogue to bring your individual power to the forefront. 

You can literally and figuratively change your voice and the trajectory of your career.

The Espeland Method™ of coaching has four key components:

  • Authenticity 

  • Interdisciplinary Levers (Mental, Physical, and Emotional) 

  • Performative Training meets Corporate Strategy 

  • Fun

 

We customize our coaching roadmaps for each client’s needs. Specific skills one can acquire include:

 

  • Controlling the voice to sound stronger, clearer, and carry gravitas over digital media and other public speaking situations.

  • Managing melody inclusive of breathing, pausing, pitch, and speed.

  • Improving overall confidence both inside and outside the boardroom. 

  • Employing storytelling techniques with authentic emotions.

  • Building executive presence. 

  • Crafting effective presentations, both written and spoken. 

  • Practicing for high-stakes interviews, including management consulting casing. 

  • Harnessing the body to play its “instrument” and effectively control communication. 

  • Pacing of speech, whether it is faster or slower.

  • Expelling inflections and idiosyncratic speaking ‘ticks’ such as upspeak. 

  • Reducing accents and dialects, as well as improving overall diction and clarity in American English.

  • Understanding American English colloquialisms, jargon, and slang. 

  • Speaking with the body, including facial expressions and body language. 

  • Building written communication techniques for presentations and decks. 

  • Utilizing improv and acting exercises to strengthen abilities and tap into newfound confidence. 

  • Harnessing custom meditations and affirmations to build confidence and quiet nerves. 

 

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP?

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