Speaking Your Truth with Voice Coach Tracy Goodwin-EP028
With the rise of new online marketing channels, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to connect with potential clients through various audio and video platforms. But what if you hate the sound of your own voice? Or you just don’t have the confidence to really connect with an audience? The voice is a powerful tool, one that entrepreneurs can use to command attention and share their stories with the world.
Tracy Goodwin is the owner of Captivate the Room, a coaching business that teaches clients how to connect their message with their passion – and make an impact with their voice. Her unique approach, the psychology of the voice, allows clients to unravel their voice story and frees them from the barriers that are preventing them from connecting with an audience. Tracy is an expert in voice technique, and she has trained actors, speakers, entrepreneurs, business executives, leaders, and podcasters from all over the world – helping them step into their voice power and speak their truth.
Tracy graduated from Baylor University with a BA in Theatre and went on to earn a Master’s in Creative Drama from Texas State. She worked for many years as a professional actor and director but kept running from her true purpose as a voice coach because she couldn’t get past her own story. Tracy grew up in a family where she was not allowed to speak, so she just couldn’t see herself as an expert – despite repeated opportunities to coach voice. When she was put in charge of the voice program at a conservatory, she could no longer deny her gift. Today she shares that gift with you, explaining her coaching process and how she connects with clients. Listen in and let Tracy help you manage your time, capitalize on social networks, and make an impact with your message!
Why many are terrified to speak their truth
- Link to past trauma (i.e.: abusive/narcissistic parents, teachers)
- Your ‘voice story’ shapes your abilities
How Tracy’s clients know they need coaching
- Lack of confidence
- Dislike the sound of their voice
- Know they don’t captivate the audience
Tracy’s coaching process
- Obtain audio/video of the client prior to coaching session
- Listen to identify the issues
- Understand the client’s ‘voice story’
- Tackle the biggest problems first
- Lay in a new layer of muscle memory
Tracy’s timeline for achieving results
- Utilize techniques and exercises that accelerate progress
- ‘Flip the foundation’ in one month
- Encourage continued practice for sustainable change
How Tracy’s clients are able to improve so quickly
- As they see results, the confidence is transformative
- They are inspired to continue as they build on positive results
Tracy’s tips for marketing yourself online
- Capitalize via visibility on social networks
- As tech evolves, keep learning
- Ask yourself, “Who are my people? Where are they? How can I serve them?”
Tracy’s suggestions re: time management
- Take on tasks that are in your ‘zone of genius’
- Outsource duties that are laborious
- Consider investing in an assistant
What makes Tracy the best voice coach in the business
- She rolls in the psychology of the voice
- Her ability to teach technique and alter muscle memory through drills
Tracy’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
- Start before you are ready
- Don’t wait until everything is perfect
- Do your research and develop a plan
- Prepare to learn from your mistakes
Connect with Tracy Goodwin
Tracy Goodwin, owner of Captivate the Room, started speaking and winning awards at the age of 12. She later went on to become a professional actor and directed plays all over the world all while running from her purpose of being a voice coach. Tracy has a BFA in Directing and two MA’s and has coached hundreds of people around the globe how to step into their voice power, sound more confident, heal their voice story, free their voice and make a big impact with their message. Tracy is a true expert in voice technique and storytelling skills for over 25 years. Her approach, the psychology of the voice is very unique because it not only improves her client’s voices but it transforms their lives. People all over the world seek her out for her expertise because she unravels the voice story and frees the barriers that keep her client’s from connecting and captivating their audience. Her voice training is game changing for actors, speakers, entrepreneurs, business executives, leaders and podcasters of all ages. Tracy teaches you how to speak in color, not black and white, no matter the message, the venue or the size of the audience. Tracy can be found at www.captivatetheroom.com .
Laura Pennington (Host): Welcome back everybody to the Better Biz Academy Podcast. I'm very excited about my guest today because she has such a unique career and is coaching people with something that I think is often overlooked in the entrepreneur and even corporate world and all types of different career paths today. My guest is Tracy Goodwin, the owner of Captivate the Room, and she started speaking and winning awards at the age of 12. She then went on to become a professional actor and directed plays all over the world all while running from her purpose of being a voice coach. She has a BFA in Directing and two master’s degrees and has coached hundreds of people around the globe how to step into their power, sound more confident, heal their voice story, free their voice and make a big impact with their message. She is a true expert in voice technique and storytelling skills over 25 years and people all over the world seek her out for her expertise because she unravels the voice story and frees the barriers that keep her clients from connecting and captivating the audience. She teaches you how to speak in color, not black and white no matter the message, the venue or the size of the audience. Welcome to the show, Tracy.
Tracy Goodwin (Guest): Thank you! Thank you so much for having me. I'm delighted to be here.
Laura: I'm excited to talk to you because what you do is so unique and I think holds a lot of promise. It's something that I want to hear a little bit more about. But let's start off with something that I see is very common in a lot of people when they finally find what they're doing they'll say, "well, in the past I was running from my true purpose of doing xyz." So, what was that moment where you woke up and realized, "alright, I can't stop ignoring my life purpose anymore?"
Tracy: Well, I love that question and you know, it's interesting because my life story is a huge part of what I do and what I teach and why I teach it but it is also the reason I was running. I was raised in a family where I was not allowed to speak, not allowed to use my voice, not allowed to share dreams, goals, thoughts, ideas and you just literally had to sit there and be quiet. So, when opportunity started to arise for me to be a voice coach, it was just like, okay that's funny. That's really funny. I don't know how to use my voice and yet, I'm supposed to be a voice coach? Well that was the foundation of the story. And so, I did all of these things; I was acting and directing and this was before internet and people kept finding me to coach them on their voice. I did it and I just kept thinking it was hilarious that I was coaching people on voice work - not that I didn't know how to do it because I did but I couldn't get past my story. So, I guess when I got hired at my first acting conservatory which was a pretty big company, a pretty big deal and they put me in charge of developing the voice program, I said okay I get it. This is what I'm supposed to do. And I fell in love with it too. And so, I think it was at about 20 years ago when that happened and I finally just said, okay, I get it. This is what I'll do.
Laura: It's so interesting that people kept coming to you for that even though you were in a sense maybe a little bit resisting it or not really realizing the potential with it. I think sometimes you get signs that maybe you weren't expecting it or it wasn't the path that you were expecting to be on but the signs keep coming to you. You know you see the same things, you're talking to the same types of people and then that opens you up to this whole other opportunity which ultimately became just so interesting for you. So, what has been your greatest moment as a voice coach? Is there a client that really stands out in your memory?
Tracy: Oh, gosh, I love them all so much but I think probably in the last 10 years, the clients that I've worked with, maybe even the last 5, the ones that I've really helped get what I call over the other side of the wall. There's voice flair and I do all of that and we can certainly talk about that, but I really started looking at and working with the people who were absolutely terrified to even use their voice. Forget about captivating the room. They were having trouble speaking no truth and so to be able to help those people to free their voice and get out of that prison so that they could finally say what they need to say, finally do a video, finally do a speech without absolute trauma, those I think have probably been my favorite clients.
Laura: That's fascinating. Do you find that there's a pattern with the types of trauma that clients tend to come to you with or do you see the same kinds of problems each time or across different clients or is it really a unique story for each client?
Tracy: Well, I think that they're all unique but they are all based in experiences - yeah there are definitely, I've really studied it the last 5 or 10 years and there are definitely similarities but I get a lot of people that were in similar situations. They weren’t allowed to speak as children. It was that children are to be seen and not heard or perhaps it was narcissistic parents or abusive parents because of addiction or maybe teachers that were horrible to them. And so, there's definitely a through line there and in my study and research you can absolutely link the voice back to trauma even as early as 4 or 5. But the other thing that's really interesting is that the majority of the people that I've worked with are very smart, they're very analytical, tend to be on the perfectionist side a little bit and so that kind of gets in their way. They want to get it right and if they can't get it right, or they don't know what the response is going to be, they don't want to put that out. We can actually go back and link that to that fourth-grade teacher or that parent that yelled all the time or the sibling or whatever. The voice story is linked to the beginning of our life and it doesn't always have to be traumatic. I worked with a guy one time who had a teeny tiny voice. Well, he just happened to have six older sisters. The poor guy never got a chance to say anything! But those things shape our ability in adulthood just say what we want to say, to speak our truth beautifully, as I say.
Laura: That's so interesting that we're the product of our environment and how much other people can influence you without you even realizing it and that leads me to my next question. How do you know when you're struggling to speak your truth or you have a voice that might benefit from working with a voice coach? What are sort of the signs and symptoms that someone should consider working with a coach?
Tracy: Well, you know, I hear a lot of the same thing from people when they initially contact me. Confidence is always brought up. I don't feel confident; I don't sound confident. That is a big one. A lot of people will say I absolutely hate my voice. A lot of people - I was just reading an email earlier from this man that I've worked with before and he's a darling. He said, we need to work on my latest voiceover because right now it sounds like a sleep aid. They know that they’re not captivating the audience because when they're presenting, they're not getting positive feedback or when they're doing video, they know they're falling flat. So, I think a lot of people know. And then there's other people who just literally have had many people come to me and say, I was in a meeting, I was in a confrontation, I so desperately wanted to say I'm not going to do that and instead I just said nothing and walked out. So, there's a lot of different signs and people usually know. They usually bring them to the table. they intuitively think what might be going on and they're always spot on. They're always spot in.
Laura: That's fascinating that people can ultimately come to terms with what it might be that is behind what the issues are. I imagine that I would be the type of person who might be surprised by whatever - I wouldn't be surprised with the reasoning behind why I might have a particular issue with my voice or speaking my truth but I might be surprised to see how that was manifesting itself in everyday life. So, I think it's really interesting that you pointed out that sometimes it's these crisis points where someone is in a meeting and they suddenly realize, wow, I wanted to speak up and I simply couldn’t. So, when you first start working with a client and after you discover this, what is the process from there to determine the strategy that's right for them?
Tracy: Well, when I first start to work with someone, I really like for them to send me an audio or video ahead of time before I even meet them, before I even know the story. And I listen to it and my ear is trained so that I can automatically hear, okay, their sound is stuck in the back of their throat or their sound is coming forward but they are pulling it back, or they're flat lining, they're continually yet loud, or they have a pattern or their sound is stuck up in the back of their throat, they're not even speaking in their real voice. So, I write up everything I hear, everything I hear and then I meet them and I always tackle the biggest thing first. Because a lot of times when I tackle the biggest thing, some of the smaller things will fall away. One of the biggest foundation elements is getting the sound flowing out. If I can get the sound flowing out by laying in a new layer of muscle memory, then oftentimes that, what happens in that person is their words just start flowing out because what's laid in the top muscle layer, the muscle memory, is actually linked to the experience. So, let's take my life for an example. I wasn't allowed to speak. If you spoke you got yelled at. So, that, my subconscious mind laid into my muscle memory, "hold it in, hold it in, don't say anything." So, I went about speaking like this. So, when I get someone like that, I know that we've got to strengthen the pipeline, we've got to lay in a new layer of muscle memory, bypassing the subconscious mind who is not going to like this. So, that their words flow out. As soon as we lay in a new layer of muscle memory, then we can let the mind back in and the words flow. And I think that's really interesting that so many of my people are analytical. They're thinking this through and not exactly sure why they can't flip it. Well they can't flip it because what is laid into the top layer of their muscle memory perhaps got laid in 30 years ago and that's what's going to deliver.
Laura: And how hard is it to undo these muscle memories which could be years or decades old. It seems as though to me, that speaking is something where we have particular rhythms and patterns and ways of expressing our self in the world that are almost built in. It's possible to change them but we don't think much about it when you speak. You just do it. So how hard is it to retrain that muscle memory to bring in a new and better habit.
Tracy: Well, that's the cool thing about the work that I do is I can flip that foundation in a month, and the only reason I can do that is because years ago, probably about 10 years ago when I really started working for some big conservatories in New York City, I was working with actors and this is nothing - no offense against actors - but I noticed that they needed results quickly that would stick because they may or may not invest months and months and months. They needed something that would start getting them cast quickly and so I really started looking at the exercises that I use, the techniques that I use and I really started researching and applying what is the laser target here? What is going to get me the fastest result? Okay, if it's a placement, we're going to try a placement one, lay that in, can we flip that in a week? And then of course, everything I do, I study and research before I roll it out. I started seeing people making shifts in two weeks and I said, okay, this is my answer. So, in the big scheme of things, I think that you can work on your voice for a lifetime, I think you could really really lay in some amazing stuff in three months but that muscle memory you can flip it in 30 days because it's literally just like changing a habit or like going to the gym for 30 days. You go to the gym for 30 days; your muscles are going to be different. This is the same thing.
Laura: Do you think it's really important for helping the person get confidence in their ability to change things? Is that part of the reasoning behind why you want to focus on some strategies that do deliver quick results or is it easier to build on those early results? It's so interesting to hear that because it makes a lot of sense. I definitely think if you are on a diet or something similar and you see early results that are good, it's a lot easier to stick with the schedule and I imagine there's some psychological component with that for your clients as well.
Tracy: Oh, absolutely! And it's the confidence piece. Because we can sit and say, "Okay you should be confident, you should really be confident" and that's great but when that client goes out and delivers in a voice that they don't feel confident with, that they know is potentially not interesting or flat lining or not flowing out, they're going to get a certain reaction. It's probably not going to be that positive. If I can start shifting what they're putting out so that they get something more positive back, oh my gosh! It becomes transformational. They just call me and email me, "oh my gosh! you just won't even believe. It just went so well." So, that's what's building their confidence is that different reception back.
Laura: Wow! I love that and it's such a repeatable process that you can build on as you're incorporating new habits as well. Do you think that more people are aware of voice coaching and those types of issues now especially that we're seeing a lot of content come in the form of Facebook lives and YouTube videos and webinars and these sort of new marketing channels that are sort of capitalizing on where public speaking in front of a live audience would have been the old normal and now we're seeing so many different digital ways that you need to express yourself verbally?
Tracy: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I would say that for every person that contacts me, they bring up video, they tape their voice on video, they don't like what they're doing on video, they are not even getting on video, yet they are smart enough to know that they have to but they absolutely literally fall flat, become stiff, check into their head. They just can't bear it. So, I do, I really have seen - I don't know that I've seen an increase, maybe I have. Probably I have and I think I definitely will more just because everybody is coming to me saying I need to redo my audio on my webinar, I need to redo my audio on my video course, I really have to start doing Facebook live and I cannot stand the way I sound on video. So, I do, Laura. I really think that's going to be a huge part of it.
Laura: So, when you're building a business like this, you're obviously seeing great results with your clients, you're probably getting positive testimonials from them but one of the biggest challenges for anyone who's starting a business like yours is avoiding the feast or famine cycle. So, sometimes you'll have a lot of clients, you'll be almost overbooked, and then other times things tend to slow down quite a bit which can induce panic and concern about finances for a lot of people. Have you seen that pattern in your business? Are there steps that you've taken to avoid it successfully?
Tracy: Oh, yes, oh yes I have and you know, it's really interesting because I'm really blessed, for years people just found me. Before internet, they found me - I don't know how they found me. I guess they found me in the Yellow Pages. I don't know but even in the early stages of the internet, people found me. It's only been in the last few years that I've really tried to tackle this online thing and I think it's crucial. I think it's really crucial and I actually saw a bit of a decrease when the online world really started blowing up because all of a sudden people could find other options easier, if that makes sense? So, I think for me, this year, in 2017, I dabbled with it in 2016 but in 2017 I'm really focusing on upping my training. Because bottom line: I'm in an age bracket, I didn't have my first computer until I was in graduate school at the age of 30. This online stuff blows my mind. And I don't think of myself really as a business person. That's been a challenge for me. I love what I do and I think I'm really good at helping people with their voice but business has really been a mind bender for me. So, in order to create more consistency for me, I'm diving into more training. Granting, I'm going to be really be solid on this: marketing; really be solid on this. Funnel: that to me was something that you find in your kitchen. I've got to learn, learning how to do this and not just pushing it aside, "oh I like Twitter but I'll deal with it later". No. learning how to use it because it's kind of - it's interesting. It's all there but if you don't know how to use it, you're going to still have those lulls, I feel like, because everybody else is doing it. So, they've got to be able - you've got to be visible. So, I've got to know how to be visible to create that consistency and continue to grow, continue to reach that goal and becoming the go-to voice person.
Laura: And a lot of the advice out there about feast or famine focuses really specifically about landing more clients but I like what you're talking about so much more because a lot of people assume, oh I know what I am doing, I have got this, I just, I am not doing enough of it; where you are talking about the actual truth, which is technology and software platforms and social media, is evolving at such a rapid rate that we have to constantly be educating ourselves, because it’s important for the delivery that you are giving to the current clients, but also for determining how you are going to reach future clients. So, I see so many people stuck in this rut and they are trying to do rinse and repeat and that's not going to work forever because of the way of the marketplace. Now you have to evolve, you have to be thinking about how you are going to reach your customers and all of the different strategies that are going to help you to accomplish your goals.
Tracy: Oh, for sure. And I have been stuck in that cycle before. I would say when I really started making the transition and I was trying to figure out all this was webinars were first coming out - just mind blowing. And so, I was very much stuck in that rut. I would say, even at times last year I was stuck in that rut. Well, I am just going to wait and let - they'll find me, knowing that okay I got to learn this stuff. But for many people who are terrified of using their voice, what terrifies me is technology. But I can’t just not learn it. For me it’s all about the learning and okay where are my people. I have got to figure this out and what do they need. Do they need a podcast? Do they need a video? How can I serve them? Where are they? Who are they? How can I serve them? And I got to learn all of that. So, I have done the rinse and repeat and it didn’t work out all that great for me. I want to build a business and I just feel like, I am just a knowledge girl. I just love learning and education even if it scares me that I know at the end of the day that's my key to success. It was my key to success in voice. I had learned all of the things that are the core of my program when I was 20 and didn’t even realize what I had in my hands until I started really teaching voice. So, education, I just think it's power and knowledge is power. There is something to do that.
Laura: It is power and it seems like some of the most successful business people that I can think of, they are not happy to just reach a place where they can coast. They are interested in learning and expanding and serving clients and customers more effectively and being really aware of the marketplace and the opportunities that are available to them as opposed to them saying, oh well I have got this figured out, let me just hang out here and do the same thing over and over. Well, it sounds like you are extremely busy. You’ve got a lot of different balls in the air. You've a lot of different responsibilities, managing a lot of your business by yourself; what are some of your favorite time management tips that help you stay really productive and still deliver amazing results to your client?
Tracy: Well, I definitely need more of them. I definitely need more of them and that is certainly - you touched a button there. I am classic need to let things go, need to let things go and that's another goal of 2017 is just turning stuff over. You know, I was recently reflecting back on some of the most successful times of my career and it’s when I had an amazing assistant. And I headed into 2017 without an amazing assistant, without an assistant at all. So, for time management, for me, having an assistant is crucial. I don’t have 40 hours a week, but I have got to have someone who is an expert in things like scheduling social media and things like that I can do, but I am very very slow at, things that are - that I am doing, things that I am using; there is a new - and I don’t know may be its not new or not - but I do all of my scheduling on Post Planner. I love that program. It’s very very unique, but you know I think that's really - it’s interesting that you ask me that because that's something I have really been reflecting on the last couple of days, is what do you need to put in place to make this run better, faster to reduce your hours. And that answer is I've got to go back having an assistant because I think - I just think we have to take a look at where do we need to be. Where do I need to be? Can somebody else teach my clients, work with my clients? No. Can they do some of the other things like the scheduling? Yes. So, I don’t know that may have been a roundabout way to answer your question, but I think that's my best answer. My answer is turning those things over that do become laborious on time for me to someone that can knock them out quickly for me and do a better job than me.
Laura: And it’s such a great strategy for taking things off your plate and taking stress off your plate and a lot of people struggle with that, but ultimately once they get into a system and a work flow that really makes things easier for them, it’s much more simple to stick with outsourcing things when it’s just taking you a tremendous amount of time.
Tracy: And I think that we, may be not everybody, but I know that this was always my hang up before I had my first assistant and this might be the hang up with training as well, that investment: "Oh can’t afford it." You can’t afford not to, Tracy. So, I don’t know, I think it is getting in that flow and getting into our zone of genius, as I call it. Is doing Facebook ads my zone of genius? No. Are there a lot of people that it is? Absolutely. And I need those people. And you just have to embrace that, "okay you know what, we can’t do it all ourselves." I am a single mother too. So, it’s like we just have to get in reality about this. We cannot do it all ourselves.
Laura: That's certainly true. What do you think has been the most important thing that you bring to the table when you work with your clients? I think a lot of times when you are running a business, you have to think about how you differentiate yourself from others. So, what is it that you do that makes you the go-to voice coach for people?
Tracy: Well, I think - and I love that question - and I think the biggest piece is that I roll in what I call the psychology of the voice. I go straight to when did this get laid in? We can do exercises and we can - I can give you homework and I can tell you to do these bits before you speak. I want to flip it for good. Now, we don’t have to dive back into the psychology of your narcissistic mother. I am going to say it's relevant. It not irrelevant because it has laid everything in. It's good information for people to know because then it kind of, it gives them a bit of peace. It gives them a bit of confidence and "oh I don’t just have a crummy voice; this came from somewhere." "I was afraid" or "I was silenced." Or whatever it is. So, definitely rolling in the psychology of the voice piece, I think absolutely sets me apart. I hear that from my clients as well. But I guess the second piece would be my taking on muscle memory with technique because it’s kind of a blend. If you talk about psychology of the voice and all of that, it’s a little organic. It’s not hardcore technology or technique, but when I go to flip muscle memory, it is literally drills. When people are on a call with me, I have them try out different things and I am able to hear what’s going to work. That is the technique that I pick and I'll say, okay, it’s like a doctor writing a prescription. You got to do this twice a day, two rounds a day, for five days and then we are going to fix that articulation problem. And when they do it, we do. So, I guess it’s a blend of looking at that psychology of the voice to help people get over the other side of the barrier, but then laying in a technique where they ultimately flip it, because I don’t believe you can turn it on and off. I don’t believe and oh just remember to breath. That's not reality because breathing is the most essential piece related to the psychology of the voice. That is the first thing we laid in in a, I am going to say the word; bad way. I don’t necessarily mean it like that. When I work with people, 99% of the time, they are either not breathing or they are not connecting to their breath. They are holding it in their body. So, there voice can’t work properly. Well, we got to flip that. We can flip that in the muscle memory. So, the combination of those two, I think is probably what sets me apart.
Laura: I think too the fact that you are doing so much research. I think it’s very smart that you are asking someone to provide you with a video clip before you work together, so that way you get the chance to see habits that the person might not even realize that they have and we are already prepared for those initial conversations with the person based on what you have looked at. So, that's just such an interesting strategy and one that has probably proven really valuable for you and kind of sets you apart because you are trying to form that connection and get to know this person as an individual from the outset of your relationship. So, to sort of wrap up, I would love to know if you had one piece of advice that you could give to someone who is thinking about starting their first business, what would it be and why?
Tracy: The piece of advice, if they are starting their first business and any kind of business?
Laura: Yeah any kind of business that could be mostly managed online.
Tracy: I would say - well this is interesting because the first thought that came into my mind is actually in direct contrast to the second thought that came into my mind. The first thought that came into my mind is something that I've heard Marie Folio say, which is, start before you're are ready. And certainly, what I mean by that is don’t wait until everything is perfect and that's something that I see a lot of people do; "when I get everything just right, then I am going to roll the website out"; "when I get everything just perfect on my video delivery, I am going to do a video." So, I think that that is one piece but then the dichotomy piece of that is do your research. Know who your people are. Do a little studying. Do a little training. Know what you are up against. Have a plan. And then start rolling it out even if it’s not perfect. Even if it’s not perfect, start because that's how you learn. That's how I have learned everything, is through my mistakes and boy, have I made plenty of them. But the things that I have learned have been invaluable. So, get your plan in place. Study up on what you need to study up on. Learn what you need to learn and then go for it.
Laura: That is such perfect advice because I agree with you that way too many people hold off on starting because they think they need to have everything lined up and the truth is, none us would have businesses if we waited until everything was perfect because there is no perfect time and your brain can always psych you out of thinking that it’s the right time to start. You can always find an excuse why you should put it off until tomorrow or next month or next year. Well, I know I have learned so much from you and I just want to thank you for coming on the show and sharing all of your valuable expertise about this subject.
Tracy: Oh, well, thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed being here.
Laura: Perfect. Well thank you listeners for tuning in and remember you can find me on iTunes and on Stitcher Radio.
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