Our Jaws, Ourselves

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Hey Friends!

We’re dipping our toes into a big conversation this week, talking about something that we’ve both experienced and are frequently asked about by family and friends…JAW TENSION! Whether it’s situational, emotional, grinding teeth, alignment issues, athletic activity, the jaw is an interesting reflection of how we manage all kinds of stresses. This episode is a general conversation about where it comes from and dealing with the discomfort of jaw pain. It also offers a couple exercises you can do anytime, anywhere.

We also take a moment to celebrate our fantastic technological advancements for 2020, which will hopefully mean better and better audio quality for you.

But back to the jaw, there are numerous resources you can look into to help manage tension and pain. Healthline offers a useful article that outlines different conditions in case you’re concerned what you’re feeling goes beyond day to day stress. If you are a nighttime teeth grinder this one has some good prevention tips.

The conversation and these starting exercises has made us realise we want to follow up with discussions about the tongue and the sneaky ways the tongue and jaw can create insidious little exchanges of tension. Our plan is to provide you with strategies for release and to keep tightness and pain at bay so if you notice anything and want to ask a question or make a comment, please do! We would love incorporate your thoughts into upcoming episodes.

In the meantime, be kind to yourself and your jaw. Take that extra moment in the shower or before bed to check in and give it a little massage, and try to check your frustration when pain/tension appears. It’s just another way our fight or flight instincts kick in to try and protect us by bracing. Let yourself know it’s ok, and hopefully that will encourage the discomfort to recede. Don’t be afraid of the lessons your jaw has for you!

As always we’ll encourage you to subscribe and review the podcast wherever you might choose to listen.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

Radio & TV Interviews: Advice from the Trenches

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Hey Friends,

This is an extra special episode because it features an interview with Christine’s husband, Emanuel Adam. Through his job, Emanuel regularly does radio and TV interviews with the likes of BBC, CNN and NPR, and he and Christine talk here about advice he has as someone who has had very little media training on how to approach these high-pressure interview situations. His advice is great for these specialized situations but also holds for any public speaking event.

The big theme that comes up in the episode for both TV and Radio is the importance of having a preparation process that includes preparing mentally, physically, vocally and even emotionally, as these are high-pressure situations that can often be stressful. Emanuel often gets called for an interview with very little notice— even so— he stands by his preparation routine, adjusting it as he needs to the time he has available. 

His prep routine includes: 

  • Research: getting knowledgeable about the most up-to-date content and the importance of researching from the interviewer’s perspective— thinking through ahead of time about what questions might be asked
  • Notes: Creating bullet-point notes for himself that he can refer to during interviews
  • Setting up an environment he feels at ease in for the interview: he talks through different ways he does this for radio vs. TV 
  • Practicing out loud: Taking the time to practice answering potential questions out loud, so that he can practice articulating his research in his spoken voice, and so that he can practice speaking more slowly, which is so key generally for radio and TV interviews, especially when you’re feeling nervous 
  • Managing Nerves: Getting grounded in his body and breathing to help him manage his nerves 

As a communication coaches, we are very impressed with Emanuel’s prep routine. People often underestimate the amount of prep time it requires to feel at ease in public speaking situations, or mistakenly think that preparing will make them feel and look less spontaneous and authentic. It’s actually the opposite! The more prepared you are, the more your personality can shine in an interview situation, because it’s a lot less likely that you will get caught off guard or panic. 

Have a listen to his process and let us know what you think. You can also download this episode on iTunes by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ or on BuzzSprout. 

To find out more about Emanuel: 

Emanuel leads the UK operation for BritishAmerican Business, a large transatlantic trade and business association dedicated to grow the transatlantic economic corridor. Having spent almost his entire career in trade, Emanuel serves as one of BAB’s main spokespeople, representing the organisation’s member companies on relevant business issues. In this function, Emanuel appears regularly on local and international media outlets in both the UK and the US. He covers issues ranging from international trade, tax, investment, immigration, often around major Government visits. Or in his words: “Whenever a US President decides to visit the UK; I get a call”. 

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

Listen Up!

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Nathalie Joel-Smith

Hey Friends,

In this episode, Christine interviews her dear friend and colleague, Nathalie Joel-Smith, about the importance of embodied listening in communication. 

The importance of listening can sometimes get overlooked in communication coaching, both for actors and public speakers, even though it really is the vital component to connection within communication. Nathalie and Christine discuss what listening really is, why it can be hard to listen, and tools we can develop to listen better. Themes that come up are: 

  • Defining “Listening in” and “Listening out”: listening is a sensorial experience that involves tuning into our surroundings and who we’re talking to through our senses, as well as tuning into our internal experience through our sensations, emotions and thoughts
  • The importance of breathing to listening
  • Defining “Bodyfulness”— a term that encompasses mindfulness and includes the rest of the body’s experience. Nathalie mentions a great resource, a book called Bodyfulness: Somatic Practices for Presence, Empowerment, and Waking up to this Life by Christine Caldwell 
  • A discussion about the nervous system states of Fight/Flight/Freeze/Fawn and how they can impact our communication, particularly our ability to listen, when they become habitual states instead of important survival signals 
  • The vulnerability that listening requires, which is why it can be so hard (and yet so rewarding!) to do 

Nathalie is a movement teacher, embodiment coach and performing artist. She does workshops and has online courses and coaching for embodied living, which is to do with how we navigate life challenges, desires and emotions with presence and compassion. Her background is in performing arts— she trained in Musical Theatre at ArtsEd. You can find out more about her at www.nathaliejoelsmith.co.uk and follow her on Instagram and Facebook @the_creative_body. 

This episode will shortly have a follow-up episode where Nathalie guides us through an embodied listening warm up. Stay tuned! 

You can also download this episode on iTunes by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ or on BuzzSprout. 

Let us know below if you have any questions or comments! We would love to hear from you.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

Voice Warm Up for Social Situations

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Hey Friends,

Welcome to our first post of 2020. This episode is a practical sequence to warm you up mentally, physically and vocally for social situations. Inspiration for this sequence came from an earlier episode, ‘Voice Work for Social Situations’ where we answered a question from a listener about why it can be hard to apply voice technique to social situations. This is a practical sequence that addresses the solutions we talked about in that episode. 

This sequence is for you if:

  • you ever experience anxiety in social situations. This is designed to help ground you so that you can find more enjoyment in your social experience
  • You ever struggle with being heard in social contexts. If you find yourself mumbling, speaking too fast or struggling in loud environments 

The sequence includes exercises that will:

  • help you feel more grounded and at ease in your environment and in your body
  •   help you breathe better 
  • help you speak more clearly while still feeing authentic, especially in louder environments 

It’s designed to do before you go into a social situation, and at the end of the episode Christine gives you things to think about when you’re in the social context,  so that you can apply the tools you learn in the sequence directly to the situation. 

While this is a great warm up for social situations, public speaking and acting are also social situations, so feel free to also use this as a warm up for any context where you want to communicate with more ease. 

You can also download this episode on iTunes by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ or on BuzzSprout. 

Let us know how it goes! We’d love to hear any comments or questions you have– feel free to comment below.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

Voice Warm Up for Kids

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Our guest teacher, Lindsay Carretero, leading her students through a warm up 

Hey friends,

We are ending the year on a fun note. In this episode, our dear friend Lindsay Carretero, a Voice Coach from Jupiter, Florida, offers an amazing voice and body warm up for kids or for those of us who are kids at heart. It’s structured so that voice teachers and coaches working with kids can literally plug in a device in the classroom and play the sequence, or kids can practice the sequence at home in their own time. There is some partner work involved, so feel free to do this sequence with a friend, but also don’t worry if you’re on your own. If you’d like a downloadable version of this episode, you can find it on iTunes by searching for our “BeSpoke Speaks” podcast or on BuzzSprout.

Enjoy and if you have any questions, email us at bespoke.comcontact@gmail.com!

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

Voice from a Director’s Perspective: Conversation with Janette Smith

 

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Janette Smith & Christine photoboothing it up with some colleagues at ArtsEd’s grad ball. Janette is standing next to Christine, wearing that oh-so-stylish hat in those first couple of photos. 

Hey Friends,

Are you an actor and if so, did you enjoy last week’s episode with director Dan Bird? Wondering what other directors have to say about what they’re looking for from you vocally?

In this episode, Christine talks to friend and colleague Janette Smith. Janette is a freelance director and actor trainer, and has a lot of interesting thoughts about what she’s looking for from actors vocally. This episode is especially relevant for actors who are in training or who are thinking about training, but is also useful for all professionals!

Themes that come up are:

  • actors need to know their instruments: how to use them and what their limits are.
  • There is nothing worse for the audience than hearing actors hurting themselves. Audiences don’t like watching someone hurt themselves– it takes them out of the story.
  • The difference between ease and relaxation.
  • Actors need to be more aware of how much an audience listens– that they absorb sounds of words as well as meaning, and that listening to live actors means audiences can feel, as well as hear their voices.
  •  Actors have to be multi-skilled. This job takes a lot of craft.
  • Directors have to work in a very different way with unskilled actors than trained actors who understand their body and voice.

If you’d like a downloadable version of this episode, you can find it on iTunes by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ or on BuzzSprout.

We’d love to hear thoughts and questions that this conversation brings up for you. Feel free to comment below or email us at bespoke.comcontact@gmail.com. We are looking for more questions to answer for future podcast episodes– we’d love to hear from you!

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

Voice from a Director’s Perspective: Conversation with Dan Bird

 

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Director and Acting Teacher Dan Bird, hanging out with one of his BFFs

Hey Friends,

If you’re an actor, have you ever wondered what a director is looking for from you vocally?

In this episode, Christine talks to her friend and teaching colleague at ArtsEd, Dan Bird. Dan is an acting teacher and director, and has some really useful thoughts for actors about what he’s looking for vocally from performers when he’s directing.

The big theme that emerges is the importance of vocal color and a sense of play with pitch range variety, so that the voice is responsive from moment to moment to what’s happening in the text. Here are other themes that come up:

  • The connection between differentiation of thought and the voice organically changing
  • The usefulness of Gibberish
  • The importance of listening
  • Learning your lines around the events that happen in the scene
  • The usefulness of playing around with pitch for the sake of it
  • How not useful it is to focus on how you’re feeling as the character, which sometimes creates a vocal “tone”, and some alternative issues to focus on instead
  • Voice work is not about the voice sounding beautiful, but about it being connected to the performer’s experience

If you’d like a downloadable version of this episode, you can find it on iTunes by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ or on BuzzSprout.

Let us know what you think about our conversations and/or ask questions that came up for you by commenting below or emailing us at bespoke.comcontact@gmail.com.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

Alternatives to Throat Clearing

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Hey friends,

Autumn/winter time can be a magical time, but it can also come with some annoyances, like always feeling like you have to clear your throat.  In this episode, we discuss some helpful alternatives to throat clearing, which, in this cold and flu season, can really get in the way of your presentation or performance.

Whether it be mucous or a dry throat, the need to throat-clear can create anxiety in public speaking situations. The good news is, there are some things you can do to prevent the situation and also things you can do in the moment to help ease the mucous/dryness.

Themes that come up are:

  • Drinking Water ahead of time
  • Avoiding coffee/tea/dairy right before you’re going to speak
  • Breathing and Grounding yourself to help manage any nerves that are causing your need to clear your throat
  • Shifting the focus to the outside environment (to avoid hyper-focusing on the croak)
  • Voice Warm-ups before the communication context to help you clear any phlegm

If you’d like a downloadable version of this episode, you can find it on iTunes by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ or on BuzzSprout.

We’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this question and our answers to it. You can comment here or email us at bespoke.comcontact@gmail.com.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

Voice Work for Social Situations

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We are very excited about this first podcast episode in our new format, where we discuss a question from YOU, our listeners. The question we talked about in this episode is:

It’s strange- when performing I find speech easier and more controlled but in social settings I often find myself stumbling over my words or find it difficult to make my words clear. However if I try and use the techniques I use to speak clearly on stage in social settings I find it comes across as wrong for the situation. How can I combat this without over-effort?

This is such a great question and definitely resonated with us. Communicating in social situations can be tricky– it can be hard to be ourselves sometimes!

We talk through where this issue has come up for us, and some ideas for what to do when you’re finding it hard to articulate yourself in social situations. Themes that come up are:

  • Rather than focusing your attention so much inward on how you’re talking as you’re talking, bring your attention back out into your environment. How can you get more curious about your environment and who you’re talking to? How can that shift of attention help re-ground you into the present moment?
  • The usefulness of thinking about breathing to people as you speak.
  • When you feel you’re over-efforting, ask yourself, how can I do less? As you start to do less, you may begin to see more, feel more relaxed, and breathe more easily.
  • The difference between technique and working really hard.

In addition to listening to this podcast here, you can also download it on iTunes by searching for “BeSpoke Speaks” or on BuzzSprout.

We’d be curious to hear what you think about our responses, and if you have some thoughts on your own on this question! Feel free to comment below or email us at bespoke.comcontact@gmail.com.

Please share this episode with anyone you think might be interested, and feel free to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

Have you checked out our podcast?

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Lindsay preparing to record a new podcast episode 

Hi Friends,

We are thrilled to announce that we now have TEN BeSpoke Speaks podcast episodes that you can download on iTunes or BuzzSprout. Our first ten episodes are audio guides that take you though different vocal warm up sequences for different situations– perfect if you are getting ready for an audition, presentation, performance both live and on camera, or just want to keep up your confidence and vocal health. These episodes are some of the audio guides that you can find on this website, but now they are downloadable, so you can take them with you any and everywhere.

We are now in the process of recording our next round of episodes, where we’ll be discussing questions you have asked us about your voice, or voice and communication generally. The questions we’ve gotten already have been beautifully varied. We’ve had some great questions about using voice technique in social contexts, managing nerves in public speaking situations and how to apply voice technique to character work. We’re happy to discuss any question you have (we just love talking to each other), so if you have any curiosity about your communication, comment below or email us at bespoke.comcontact@gmail.com. When you send us a question, if you’d like us to say something about you on the podcast, like if you’re an actor and you’re working on a project, include details about who you are and where people can find out more about you and we’d be happy to promote you as we discuss your question.

We believe in the power of healthy, empowered communication, so we want to spread this podcast far and wide. If you’re enjoying what you’re hearing, please consider sharing this podcast with anyone you feel could benefit from it. If you feel so moved to leave us a rating and review on iTunes, we would be so grateful.

Feel free to also follow us on instagram @bespokespeaks and on our BeSpoke Communication Facebook page to get regular episode updates.

In the mean time, happy listening!

Christine & Lindsay