Most public speakers talk faster than their audiences can fully take in, and nearly everyone who shows up at one of my classes for the first time tends to be speedy. Even among professional speakers there is anxiety about stopping regularly for a full breath and conversing at a listener-friendly pace.

You may find yourself uncomfortable in groups with the natural silences that are second nature in one-on-one engagement. Yet these pauses are precisely what is needed for your listeners to contemplate and absorb your information and your message.

An epidemic of speed talking

This plague of speediness generates anxiety and miscommunication. Until we practice inhabiting our voice, we tend to chase our thoughts with torrents of words that can never really catch up. You see, when we speed-talk, our thoughts spin ever faster. Then when we lose the thread we try to keep the momentum going with “um” and other filler words. No wonder so many can’t get out of this loop without some support.

The great news is that when we inhabit our voice and speak at an easy pace and only on the exhale … our thinking slows down to harmonize with the natural pace of our words. Our IQ jumps 50 points. We have access to our innate wisdom, and to the knowing we discover in the moment. We intuitively know how to enrich our presentation with inquiry into the space available between us and our listeners.

The answer: pay attention to the voice itself

I’ve learned that paying attention to the voice itself is the way through. I call myself a Voice Coach now because there’s nowhere else I have to go. There’s nowhere else anyone has to go to be a more authentic, more effective, more expansive, more pleasurably flowing and less anxious, less constricted communicator.

And I’ve discovered that it’s truly simple to get there. To “inhabit your voice” means to breathe words from your body in luxurious pleasure. Everything else follows, because when your voice itself is embodied, your Voice in the world–your unique contribution–comes through loud and clear.

Finding your own personal touchstone to embodied voice

Once we get a taste of this ecstatic place to come from, all we need is our own personalized cue to access the sweet spot which we practice again and again until it becomes second nature. You may do this by simply noticing and honoring the underlying stillness of any moment … or by plugging into the center of the earth and sensing the oneness of humanity … or by putting your hand on your belly or your heart and allowing the words to come from there … or sensing the vibration of pleasure of every breath and every word (that’s my cue) … or a cue related to your spiritual path … or breathing from your sacrum or other point related to energy work you are familiar with … or sensing Relational Presence with your listeners … or sensing the words as music … or whatever personal touchstone moves you.

May your voice reflect the music of your soul,” pray the Sufis. “May your embodied voice be a companion toward a richer life,” say I.