What is Vocal Consciousness?

Tim Noonan’s Vocal Consciousness approach is a set of principles and strategies for becoming more vocally authentic. which:

  • These approaches promote vocal understanding;
  • nurture expressive speaking; and
  • foster insightful listening.

Vocal Consciousness is the journey of becoming more consciously aware of our own voice, and how we engage it, as well as becoming increasingly more conscious of the voices around us. Indeed, Vocal Consciousness is a journey from self consciousness, through to an increased consciousness of the self.

“The human voice allows us to literally Touch others from a distance; but the quality of that touching relies on the quality of our intention” – Tim Noonan

All of us, to a lesser or greater degree, unconsciously read and understand vocal language (tone of voice). After all, vocal language is the first kind of language communication we ever encounter, from inside the womb, and of course, when we are infants.

As we grow up, however, we are taught to restrict our own honest uncultivated vocal expressiveness; we are taught to behave, to suppress, and how to conform. In fact, we are rewarded for exercising a socially acceptable form of emotional repression, even dishonesty. We learn that it is often a bad thing to honestly express how we feel.

This teaching – by parents, siblings, school-mates, teachers, employers and the media – comes under many labels: “appropriateness” “stoicism”, “self restraint”, “professionalism” or “maturity”. But, no matter how it is labelled, it robs us of comfort in the natural act of expressing ourselves, truly expressing who we are and sharing our true feelings. It trains us to become more wedded to our intellect at the cost of becoming more disconnected from our emotions.

Over time this socialisation can lead to us giving less conscious attention and intentionality to our own speech, and bringing less respect and attention to others when they speak.

The result is that more often than not, when we hear someone speak, we dismiss or partially close ourselves off to what we hear and what we feel. We have been taught to give disproportionate importance to the words people say and to the body language people convey. We learn to dismiss and mistrust what we often describe as our ‘gut reactions’ to the sound of a speaker’s voice. That is, we gradually lose connectedness with the innate gift we are all born with – our in-built sense of vocal intuition about others.

Vocal Consciousness, from the listener’s perspective, is actually about resonating with the vibrations of the speaker – in short: vibrational empathy. In biology, this is termed entrainment.

As adults, we often only reconnect with vocal language when we engage with babies and with puppies; with others, we tend to significantly mute or tone down the tonality and musicality in our speech or close off to the vocal expressiveness of others.

Vocal Consciousness techniques work to uncover our half-forgotten skills of vocal understanding. They emphasize bringing greater care and intention to our speaking and greater presence and openness when we are listening.

Vocal Consciousness is a key pathway to increasing our openness, sincerity and realness when we speak; and enhancing our understanding, empathy, trust and compassion , when we converse and listen.

“It’s not so much what you say, as the manner in which you say it; It’s not so much the language you use, as the tone in which you convey it.” – ~Unknown

Read the full poem

The vocally conscious voice (the open voice, the expressive voice, the generous voice) is a blend of the crispness and clarity of our thoughts, plus the warmth and sensitivity of our feelings around those thoughts. When we speak in this complete and integrated way, our voice expresses a rich, congruent and harmonised message for our listeners.

Vocal Consciousness allows each person we communicate with to not only understand our words but to also appreciate how we feel about the things we are talking about. This is the true key to trust and to vocal authenticity.

Voice is all about relationship! Whenever we speak, we express the relationships we hold with ourself, the things we are talking about, and in particular, the attitude we hold about our audience.

So next time you have something important to say –

  • Think about what it is you want to say …

  • Feel the emotions you wish to convey; and then …

  • Say it with feeling!

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