I’m so glad you joined us because we have Kelly Palmer and Roger Love here. Kelly is the author of a new book. She’s the CLO at Degreed and also the former CLO at LinkedIn, former VP learning at Yahoo! and a former executive at Sun Microsystems. She’s done a lot. It’s going to be interesting. Then we’re going to talk to Roger Love who’s recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on voice. There aren’t too many stars that he hasn’t helped. The list of people he’s helped with their voice is amazing. We’re going to talk about singing and speaking.
Listen to the podcast here:
Creating A Powerful Learning Culture with Kelly Palmer
I am here with Kelly Palmer who’s on a mission to change the way the world learns. She’s a well-known thought leader in learning business and career development. She’s on the executive team of Degreed and was formerly the chief learning officer of LinkedIn. Prior to LinkedIn, she was the vice president of learning at Yahoo! and help executive positions in learning, M&A and product development at Sun Microsystems. She’s the co-author of the book, The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies Use Learning to Engage, Compete and Succeed. She’s a top speaker. You’ve seen her everywhere. I’m so excited to have you here, Kelly, welcome.
Thank you so much. It’s great to be here.
I’m interested in curiosity and drive and a lot of the things that tie into the culture. I know that right now everybody wants to help companies become more engaged, competitive and innovative. It’s just a very interesting time and this is a timely book. What led to you and David Blake writing this book?
It was a combination of forces. I haven’t always been in learning. When I moved into the corporate learning field, I noticed right away that some of the models that we’ve taken in the corporate world are antiquated from a university lecture model. When I first started in learning, I realized that we could be doing so much more with technology and understand how people learn and what motivates people. We weren’t doing that in the corporate space. That’s the angle I was coming at. It was from having run large learning organizations in some big companies. David has been an entrepreneur and has been at a couple of startup companies and co-founded Degreed, which is an education technology platform. The time is right. There’s a lot of disruption happening in the workforce right now and it needs us to think differently about how we think about learning in the workplace so we decided to write the book.
I’ve taught more than 1,000 online business courses. I was an MBA program chair for a while. What we see in online education is not necessarily getting people completely prepared when they get to the working world. A lot of the companies are not set up to handle this. I was talking to a company that’s associated with Reid Hoffman, Flerish. I’m looking at some of the stuff they’re doing with education. I’m working with another gentleman who works internationally to educate all different countries to have online education courses. All this we’ve been talking about is just right exactly what you’re talking about how education has changed. I had John Couch from Apple who talked about we need to reinvent education because it’s just not going to be the four-year degree future where everybody memorizes things and regurgitates the same old thing. What’s going to happen to these four-year degree programs? Are we going to have bits and pieces? Is it going to be a la carte or do you have any insight as to how we’re going to value education in the future?
We interviewed some interesting people for the book including a Clayton Christensen who’s at the Harvard Business School and Sal Khan who’s revolutionizing on some online learning through the Khan Academy. What we’re seeing is maybe we’re not quite yet ready to give up completely the four-year degree. It’s a great foundation, but what people don’t realize is even a four-year degree is not going to be enough for you to sustain your entire career. We know people who are working longer, living longer. With acceleration happening in the workforce, things are changing so quickly. It’s hard for people to keep up with what they need to learn. I would say there are two things. The college education is still a great foundation, but what we’ve also realized is that there are several ways to get to expertise. More and more you see companies that will say, “Universities aren’t completely preparing our students for the real world of work.” Sometimes people are finding other ways to get the expertise that they need.
Companies have decided that it’s not a requirement anymore to have a four-year degree. If people are able to learn the skills that they need that companies need for them to be successful, they’re more than happy now to start hiring those people. It’s two-fold. Even with Degreed, we’re not necessarily saying that we want to replace the four-year degree. We’re saying that even if you do have a four-year degree or your graduate degree, you’re still going to need to be learning new skills all the time because new technologies and new things are coming up all the time. People need to continuously build their skills on how do they do that. That’s the question.
Having a degree doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to be the smartest person. I had a meeting with somebody who is a VP at a big company. He said that he didn’t even finish college. He’s one of the smartest guys dealing with all this blockchain technology and serious things. I see a lot of people who have developed hard skills, but they lack soft skills. I don’t see a lot of companies that are great at helping in that area. They struggle with that. The culture doesn’t buy into the importance of that sometimes. Changing the culture from the bottom up is not quite that easy. How important is the company culture and what happens if the CEO doesn’t buy into the need for having people trained in some of these soft skills?
It is one of the biggest questions that I get from people or companies. What do we do to change our culture so that it’s more of a learning culture? You can buy all the greatest technologies and have all the greatest learning programs there. If the leaders or the managers in the company don’t believe in people learning and building their skills as part of their job and the flow of work, it’s going to be difficult for people to continuously build skills. You can approach it from a couple of ways. You can have a grassroots effort with employees. We did some research and found that people are spending their own time and their own money learning what they need to learn because they’re feeling that if they don’t, their skills will become obsolete. Companies are realizing that and saying, “We need to do something to help people learn the skills.” It’s not only in their interest, but it’s also in the interest of the companies. Companies will only succeed if their employees keep up with the skills that they need.
I love the example of what Microsoft is doing. I was up at Microsoft and Satya Nadella has completely overhauled the culture at Microsoft. He wrote a book called Hit Refresh and it’s amazing what he’s done. One of the things that he did was hire Carol Dweck who wrote Mindset. He had her help Microsoft think about the new way that they wanted to think about their culture. He’s an advocate for a learning culture. The most interesting or most impactful thing that he’s done is he talked to his leaders and his employees about saying that learn it all is not know it all. He makes himself vulnerable and he says, “I am a CEO yet I’m still learning all the time.”
It gives people permission to be vulnerable and to admit that they don’t know everything and that they can learn. That’s a powerful learning culture that companies can create. If you can do it from the top, then it’s fantastic. I was at LinkedIn for four years. Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner were incredible leaders in terms of talking about how important learning is for the success of the employees and the company. It’s fantastic if you have leaders that are doing that. If you don’t, you can start building a culture within pockets of the organization and then have people model that. It sure is easier if you have your leaders advocating for it.Companies will only succeed if their employees keep up with the skills that they need. Click To Tweet
I cited Carol Dweck in my book because I’m dealing with curiosity and she deals with the mindset and she has such great work out there. Curiosity ties into so many things. To me, it ties into motivation. If you don’t have that spark and that desire to be curious about something, you’re not going to be motivated to find out more about it. You talk about what it takes to motivate people to learn. Do you think curiosity is an important part of that? What else do you think is involved?
Curiosity is a huge part of that. People are naturally curious sometimes. Unfortunately, corporate ways of doing learning have created an environment where people don’t see learning as something that’s valuable or fun or engaging. It’s more about compliance learning. It’s more about mandatory learning. We’ve taken the curiosity and the fun out of learning in most cases. Why do people learn? They learn when they care about something. When did they care about something? They care when it applies to them. We’ve been doing some work around understanding the motivation. Usually, people at companies think about where they need to improve their performance and they tie learning to that. Dan Pink talks about autonomy, mastery, and purpose and that’s not very motivating to have people tell you what to do. People want autonomy and how they think about learning and what they want to do. How do we bring curiosity back into the workforce?
People learn when they care and they care when it impacts their career. Everybody wants to get better at the job that they have or prepare themselves for their job of the future. If you can tie learning to people’s career aspirations rather than performance, it can be powerful. The second thing I talk about is learning agility, which is tied closely to curiosity. Learning agility is the ability and the desire to continuously learn new skills all the time. If you’re a hiring manager and you want to know whether somebody has curiosity or learning agility, ask them what they learned about last week, last month, last year. If people are struggling to answer that question, they might not be very curious or an agile learner. If people understand that that’s important, they may focus more on it.
That’s what we work on. I do my training to get people to recognize those kinds of things that they don’t even recognize. Fear, assumptions, technology, and environment are the four factors that stop people from being curious. Assumptions would be the voice in your head that tells you that you’re not even interested or it’s there’s too much work or whatever. Our environment, our offices, and different things can have a huge impact as far as that goes, as our family, education and different things. It’s interesting to look at this dialogue of opening up whether somebody has learning agility. It also is a perception for me. Perception is an interesting discussion of what they think is important and how they see it tying into what they want to do with their end goals. You talk about something called skills quotient and I want to talk about that because I know we’re measuring all these things. We’re getting their curiosity quotient. We’re getting their emotional quotient. What’s the skills quotient?
The skills quotient is this idea that if you were to ask any CEO at any company, “Do your employees have the skills that they need for your company to be successful?” In most cases, the answer would be no. I don’t think we’ve ever thought about learning in terms of skills. In the corporate environment, we often think of what learning programs or training programs we need based on reactive modes. We think that we need to have all of our employees go through leadership and management training or we need all of them to go through recruiting or hiring training and this one size fits all approach. If you think about how we started the conversation and the whole premise of the expertise economy, it’s about what skills do people have and what skills do they need and how you can measure that gap and help people set learning goals based on skills.
Skills quotient is a way for CEOs to answer the question, “What skills do my employees have? What skills do we need as a company to be successful in moving forward?” You can take it down to the next level for business leaders and managers to say, “Do I know the skills that the people in my group or my organization have and what skills they need to be successful moving forward?” From an individual level, everybody should ask themselves, “What skills do I have and what skills do I need? What is that skill gap?” The skills quotient is the simple formula that says, “Here are the skills you have. Depending on whether you want to get better at your current job or prepare yourself for your next career move, you can calculate a skills gap. You can put a learning goal in place and start building the skills that you need to be successful. Imagine what you could do if you instead started thinking about what skills people have rather than whether or not people attended learning courses or training programs.
As you’re talking about skills, are you meaning competencies? Are you saying that these companies should have these competencies listed in job descriptions from the beginning and they’re not having them? Is that what I’m hearing?
I would say yes. Competencies have traditionally been a lot more complex. At every company that I’ve been at, we’ve tried putting together competency models. For any given job, there might be sixteen to 32 competencies related to a particular job. LinkedIn did some work around this where you can identify what skills people have and endorse them for it. We’re taking it a step further and saying, “If you talk about skills more, it’s more of what people think about every day.” If I’m a chief learning officer, here are the eight skills that are critical for me to be successful. It may include strategy or learning technologies or categories of things. Imagine that you could map learning to those skills and then measure what level of skills you have versus what level of skills you need. It’s like competency models, but a simplified version of it so that we can all speak the language of skills.
You talk about skills in your book and you have seven guiding principles to build the skills. Do you want to touch on some of those?
We have a chapter on combating content overload because we need to broaden the definition of how we think about learning. In the past, it’s been more online learning courses or in person learning programs and that’s it. If you think about how do people learn, people are learning in different ways all the time, yet we’re not recognizing that as learning. This show is a great way. When people listen to this show, they’re learning. Are they tracking and measuring that as part of their portfolio of how they’re learning? When they read books or watch videos or attend conferences or have experience in solving problems in the world of work or get coaching, those are all components of learning.
Yet, we hardly ever a portfolio of all those things to say, “This is how I’m building expertise and skills.” Use technology to help you curate content so that you cannot be so overwhelmed with how much content is out there and get credit for aligning those learning assets to building skills. One of the principles is learning how to broaden the definition of learning. Take advantage of all the amazing resources that are sometimes for low or no cost in addition to the amazing content that’s out there that is paid content as well. That’s one of the things we talk about.Learn-it-all is not know-it-all. Click To Tweet
I just met with Phil Komarny who works at Salesforce.com. He was here talking to ASU about using blockchain technology to keep track of all the different things you’ve learned education. The way they track it is going to be so different. It’s not necessarily going to be the way it was in the past. They’re going to be keeping track of things in unique ways to see what we’ve learned and what we know. It’s almost testing out things because you’ve learned it some other way, but you want to keep track of that. I haven’t done that. All of these things tie into how successful we’ll be in our career if you can measure things and keep track of things. Even in your book, you talk about a couple of things that I don’t hear about that often. You mentioned internal career at marketplaces in the book and that’s not something I hear often mentioned. I’m curious what you meant by that.
Internal career marketplaces are a somewhat unique idea. It is around helping people find career opportunities and project opportunities so that they can apply the skills that they’ve learned or have. Let me give you an example. A few researches said that the average employee states on the job are an average of four years. For Millennials, it’s a year and a half to two years. If you try to dig into why people don’t stay at jobs longer, oftentimes it’s because they’re feeling that they’re not learning or growing anymore at their companies. As a result of that, they go out and they start looking for other opportunities outside of the company and start interviewing rather than looking internally.
An internal career marketplace is where you can list opportunities, either new jobs or new projects. Let’s say you’re learning new skills and one of the skills you wanted to learn is around data analytics. Now there’s a project listed in your internal career marketplace. It says, “We need somebody for ten weeks to work on this project that has data analytics skills.” You encourage your employees to go apply their skills on projects or completely new jobs. What you’re doing there is helping retain your workforce and giving your employees opportunities to learn and grow within the company rather than going outside of the company. That’s the idea around internal career marketplaces. We’re seeing a lot of our clients at Degreed move in that direction because it’s a great opportunity to help retain people and help them learn and grow. That’s the idea there.
You’re just on to so many interesting things that I know I deal with since I still teach and I still do a lot of different things that tie into this thing. Every day I talk to somebody who’s worried about what’s going to happen with all the jobs with robots and AI and innovation. If we learn these skills, what can we do to make sure that people are aligned to things that are more appropriate to what they even want to do? Do you think that a lot of people are just in the wrong jobs to begin with? Do you think that this might be a good thing to shake it up a little bit and have the robots take all the bad jobs and maybe get people what they’d like to do?
I do look at it more optimistically. There is a doom and gloom scenario where people think that robots are taking all the jobs, but new jobs will be created. Mobile app developers didn’t exist ten years ago and neither did driverless car engineers or drone operators. There are so many jobs that have just been created over the last ten years. It’s exciting to think about where things will be going. For people who have kids under the age of five, 65% of those kids will have jobs that haven’t yet been invented. I see that as an exciting thing, but people should be focusing on those skills that are uniquely human.
Automation is one of the biggest trends happening in the workforce and digitization and we know that certain jobs are going to be taken over by robots. Jobs and skills that are uniquely human-like empathy, problem-solving and learning agility, those are some of the skills that are uniquely human that will help us as we move forward in the age of automation and digitization. People can focus more on soft skills or what people are calling power skills. Those are the ones that both universities and companies should be focusing on. Oftentimes, I get students that are graduating from college asking, “What should I be doing to help prepare myself for the real world of work?” Those are the things that are most critical for people to be focusing on. How well can they communicate? How well can they problem-solve? How well can they learn? Those are critical.
I wrote my dissertation on emotional intelligence. Empathy is something I’ve always followed by what people are developing and that would be difficult in robots. When I was studying curiosity, they have artificial curiosity now. They have these robots that will play Mario Bros. games to get to the next level without external reward. It’s going to be interesting to see how many of these things can accomplish in technology. You are an amazing woman in tech. You don’t get to see people who have done what you’ve done. I know they were trying to get more women like you. What do you suggest to young women to get them more interested?
The skills required to get into technology is more uniquely human skills of problem solving and empathy. Those are skills that are typically strong for women and not to be intimidated by the stem type things. We’re seeing in universities now that more and more women are not being intimidated by being the only women in those classes or those programs so that’s great. We haven’t traditionally done very well in Silicon Valley in recruiting women that have been at a lot of these large tech companies and that degree.
At Degreed, one of our goals is to have gender equity within our employee population in all functions. There’s a lot more emphasis being put on. Let’s make sure that there are opportunities for all and especially these amazing bright women who are coming up through the ranks. There’s a lot of promise there. The other thing I’ve seen for women is to talk to a lot of other women and men. There are women who have been through the process and who can help, mentor or coach other women along the way and other men who can sponsor you and your company. That’s another effective way to help get the visibility that women need in tech in Silicon Valley or across the world.
All the work you’ve done is so inspiring. I know that a lot of people are going to want to know how they can get the expertise economy, how the smartest companies use learning to engage, compete and succeed. You have a book that you co-wrote with David Blake. Can you share how people can reach you and get the book?
You can always connect with me on LinkedIn and we have a website called the ExpertiseEconomy.com where you can go and learn more about the book. The book is also available on Amazon and in a variety of formats. That’s how you can hear more about the book.People learn when they care about something, and they care about something when it applies to them. Click To Tweet
Thank you, Kelly. This has been so great to have you on the show. I appreciate it.
Thank you so much, Diane. It’s been great to talk to you.
How To Sing And Speak Better with Roger Love
I am here with Roger Love, who’s recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on voice. No other vocal coach in history has been more commercially successful in both speaking and singing fields. Roger has vocally produced more than 100 million CD sales worldwide and written four best-selling books. He coaches singers like Gwen Stefani, John Mayer, and Selena Gomez as well as speakers like Anthony Robbins, Suze Orman, Brendon Burchard and Simon Sinek. The list goes on and on. Some of these are unbelievable names and I’m anxious to talk to you. Welcome, Roger.
Thank you for having me.
I just wanted to find out if you can have a good speaking voice and still not be able to sing. Do they go together?
I believe that there’s no difference between singing and speaking because you’re using the same vocal cords and you’re controlling the air. I taught no one but singers for the first seventeen years of my life as a teacher and then speakers started coming to me. They are speakers like Tony Robbins and some of the people that you mentioned and also John Gray. I used to think it was two different things and singers could do this and speakers could do this. I had gotten quite good at helping singers make sounds that were influencing millions of people, emotional sounds that were making people get up and dance or make people cry. When I started working with speakers, I came from the same standpoint. What sounds could I help these speakers make that would be so emotional that they’d be moving their audiences? The answer to your question is you do not have to be a great singer to be a great speaker, but there’s a lot to learn from music and singing that you can put into your voice as a great speaker.
Can everybody be a good singer though? Do you have to have the genetics to pull off some of those sounds? Can you be tone deaf or is that just a myth?
A lot of people think that they’re tone deaf because they auditioned for their choir when they were in middle school and the choir teacher looked at him funny and said, “I’m sorry, but no.” They walked out of there thinking they were tone deaf but the truth is, less than 2% of the population is tone deaf. It happens from some damage to the middle ear or a high fever when you were little. I’ve been in this business for a long time and I’ve never met anyone who was tone deaf. It helps to be born with a great voice. There are people that Mother Nature favored and they just come out of the womb and they just sound better than other people. There is that nature. I’ve learned that just because you were born with a good instrument doesn’t mean that you ever become a good speaker or singer. You still have to work at it. It’s nature and nurture. I focus on the nurture part.
Is it genetics that makes you have a good singing voice? Can you still be able to sing or can we be tone deaf? Is that real?
The good news is I’ve never met anyone who was tone deaf and less than 2% of the population is tone deaf. It’s great when Mother Nature happens to give you a great voice right from birth and you already have vibrato and you sound incredible. I’ve found that the nurture part, studying it, learning, working on your voice can often overtake someone who just was born with a certain ability. They can be even better speakers and singers based on how hard they work.
We all know those who have beautiful voices. Kristin Chenoweth came to mind when you were saying coming out with these beautiful voices. You’ve helped some people prepare for movie roles from Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Jeff Bridges, Colin Farrell. Did you just help Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born?You can put a learning goal in place and start building the skills that you need to be successful. Click To Tweet
I spent six months every morning at 7:30 AM working on Bradley Cooper’s voice. He wasn’t a singer so I showed him how to be a singer. He had a great ear. That guy can do anything. He’s the hardest working person in show business. He had a great ear and an amazing work ethic. The rest was just technique. I showed him how to hit all the high notes. I showed him how to make sounds that would be better than the ones he was making. I’m so proud of him and the public loved what we did all together.
He sounded like Kristofferson to me. In his last role, he had a little bit of rasp. That’s what came to mind. I’ve seen that he speaks French. I wonder if that helped him as well. You have that ability to interpret things. Does that help at all?
Anything that helps you have a better ear of listening to things and being able to break them down into some smaller components helps. He came to me with an idea of what he wanted his speaking voice to sound like. He wanted a sound like Sam Elliott, who’s also in this film. Sam talks low and edgy. Bradley came in saying, “I want to sound like Sam Elliott.” That’s what I’m going to base the whole character on. At that point in the film, Sam wasn’t even cast in the film. It was in loving Sam’s speaking voice that Bradley decided, “Maybe I’ll ask him to be in the film. He’d make a great brother character.”
He’s good at doing different voices though. I love him in Guardians of the Galaxy. I love the voice that he does for that. As we’re talking about this, I want to talk about what it takes to be a good speaker. I’ve had a lot of hall of fame speakers on my show. I even had Doctor Willie Jolley sing to me. He’s a hall of fame speaker who sang on my show. It’s nice to have people who sing on the show. What’s the biggest mistake people make? Is it being monotone? What is the problem for people when they’re trying to learn to speak better?
The biggest mistake is that people believe that words matter the most. If they had the right words, they could move people emotionally. People would be moved by what they said and then take action on what they said. They would follow them in the battle or by their program or join this club or start this relationship. It has been proven since the ‘70s that the words are not what makes you believable, not what makes you likable, not what makes you trustworthy. The studies, including a study by Yale and Harvard, proved that the words don’t show believability because we’ve learned to lie with words. People don’t know whether you’re telling the truth just based on the words. There was a whole movement of the right physiology if your eyebrows moved when they were supposed to if you smiled when you were supposed to, if you pointed your finger to the rights and then to the left when you were supposed to.
Somehow your physiology would make people like you and love you and trust you and believe you and want to listen, but then they also proved that physiology lies. You could be the saddest person on the block. You put a smile on and you speak and you think you’re convincing people that you’re happy, but you’re not. Facial expressions and body movements lie and words lie. The only thing that’s truthful according to every study since the ‘70s ate the sound of your voice aside from the words. It’s the melodies, the pitch, the pace, the volume. The sounds of your voice are the one thing that creates emotion in the minds and hearts of the listeners. That’s the very last thing that most people who want to be great speakers know and are focusing on.
If you look at the hall of fame speakers, they’re almost all men. There are some great women speakers. I love to watch Ellen and different people who put comedy in what they say. Jane Lynch’s commencement speeches are amazing. Why do you think we don’t see more hall of fame women speakers? Do you think men make better speakers or just something else?
I just think it’s an odds game at this point and the numbers have to shift. Women are better at everything including speaking. The reason I say that is because I’ve been in this teaching position since I was sixteen and more women study. More women study voice, more women go to coaches and try to learn more than men do. Eventually, all of that learning has to overtake the men that are often lazier than women. We just need more female speakers out there in the hall of fame. Just because they’re maybe not in the hall of fame doesn’t mean that the world isn’t delighting in hearing all kinds of women speaking up and having all kinds of platforms. We’re in an era right now where the female voice is as big and important as any male that’s out there. Maybe the hall of fame and the people who pick the hall of fame are still living in the dark ages and have a big caveman stick. The world right now is hearing plenty and we need more strong women to speak up that are embracing all of their strengths and also all their femininity.
I’m thinking about somebody who’s been on my show and I’ve been on her show a couple times and she’s very much into meditation. She’s calmly speaking and she’s very quiet. She’s mesmerizing and her name is Sister Jenna. When she contacted me to have me on her show, I thought she couldn’t possibly want me on. I’m so loud. I’m not exactly the calm meditation voice. Do you need a certain kind of voice based on the type of show you do or the kind of speech you give? Is it always good to have the same type of tone?
A lot of people get pigeonholed because they think their profession forces them to have a particular voice. For example, your yoga instructor or any therapist that we might go to. You go into a therapist’s office and they’re like, “Welcome, sit down.” They have a little extra air in their voice. They’re softer. They’re like, “This is not about me. This is about you.” Tell me how you feel. They have this soft and airy voice and they think that that works all the time. The truth is, when you have one voice, it only showcases one emotion. I believe that those people are limiting their ability to take and allow the people they’re communicating with to have multiple emotions.
If I went to a psychologist, a therapist and they were all airy and weak sounding with their voice, I get that they were nice and sweet. What if I was so vulnerable and weak and I needed to feel that this doctor needed to pick me up and carry me past my troubles? Get fixed, what’s wrong with me? I need to find strength in that coach, in that therapist. If I perceive that they’re as weak as I am, I might be thinking that they’re not strong enough to help me through the big huge struggles that I’m dealing with. It’s important to be able to have a voice that showcases many emotions. When you do that, you can excel at any job you pick for yourself.Words don't show believability because we've learned to lie with words. Click To Tweet
A lot of people who read this do podcasts as well as I’ve had a lot of people do that. What advice would you give someone who’s considering doing a podcast to help them with their voice?
Here’s the first bit of advice. If you’re doing a podcast and you want to be a speaker or your occupation allows you to speak all day, your main goal is to not lose your voice so that at least you can speak. Here’s why people are losing their voices. The number one reason is that they’re breathing in through their mouth. When you breathe in through your mouth, you’ll feel the dryness at the back part of your throat. That’s because we are not supposed to breathe in through our mouth. When we were born, all babies are breathing in through our noses. There are filters in the nose that when you breathe in through your nose and air passes through those filters, it becomes moist air. When it goes to your vocal cords, it lubricates them instead of drives them.
Close your lips and take a breath in with your nose. Do you feel any dryness? Just simply closing your lips and breathing in through your nose will give you 100% more ability to speak day and night and never lose your voice. That’s the first step. You just got to relearn how to breathe in through your nose. If you’re doing a podcast, you’ve got to learn how to do it quietly because this sound doesn’t sound good on a podcast. There’s nothing super sexy or interesting about showcasing that your nose is filled with mucus. Learn how to breathe in through your nose. That’s the first thing. Most people are making people sad when they listen to them. The reason is what they’re doing with melody. We learned in school when we get to a comma or a period, we’re supposed to go down. We’re supposed to go down with volume and we’re supposed to go down in pitch. I’m speaking to you and I get to a comma and I go down.
In music, what we’ve learned is when you go down, it’s sad. When you’re going down, you sound sad and you’re making people sad when they hear you do that so I teach people the opposite. When you go up, you sound happy. The brain perceives this as happy. People like listening to happy and they’re sick and tired of listening to sad. Why tune in to a podcast that makes sad sounds? Why listen to anybody speak that has a sad sound that makes you feel sad? That’s not what you bought the ticket for. That’s not what they signed up for. Here’s what you do. Right before you get to a comma and a period, stop going down. People need to practice. They need to take out their smartphone. They need to record themselves hearing them go down at the end of every sentence, every comma. They then need to start going up or at least staying on the same note. I’m speaking to you and I have melody and then it’s the same note.
That’s also why people are getting interrupted so much in conversations. If you and I are speaking and I keep going down, you’ll think I’m done. You’ll think it’s your turn to jump in and speak because if I’m done, you don’t want dead air space. You’ll sound happy if you start going up. People will stop interrupting you. There was this crazy bad press that talked about a thing called upspeak or uptalks. If you went up when you got to a comma or a period, it would be like everything was a question. You don’t want everything to sound like a question. The answer is all of those articles, they missed the mark completely. You want to go up at ends of sentences quite often because it engages the listener. If they think maybe you’re asking them a question, they’re listening more intently to what you said because they think they may have to answer.
Do you go to organizations with this and ask them what needs they have? Are you dealing mostly with stars and speakers on major stages?
I deal with bigger stages. I have a very simple goal. I am trying to save the world. I figured that the only way I could do that was one voice at a time. I am always trying to get to as many people as possible to teach them the things I know about voice and about sound. That’s why I started writing books and that’s why I started making online programs and that’s why I do seminars. I have a podcast I’m working on with iHeartRADIO, iHeartMedia. It’s called Love, Your Voice. That’s why I’m entering in the podcast space. I go out and do big corporations. I do keynotes. I do all of those things. That’s why I’m doing this interview. I can’t save the world if I can’t be heard by one voice at a time. Thank you for giving me that forum.
The answer is yes to all of the above. I want everyone to learn what I know and then I work specifically. For example, if I go into a company, Zappos. It’s a company that I’ve worked with for a number of years. You’ll think they sell shoes online, but there’s so much more than that. They also sell clothing apparel and they’re also ranked number one in customer service of all of the companies in the world. When you call Zappos and you talk to somebody about buying a pair of shoes or some other sports apparel, you are engaged by that person and you feel that person cares about you who wants to sell you the right pair of shoes for you.
Tony Hsieh, the person that runs Zappos, brought me in. Here’s an interesting thing that I did. Zappos is a company that has core value driven. They run their company. They’re one of the first companies to talk a lot about like, “Here are our core values and this is why people want to work for us, with us and also why people want to buy from us.” Yet, they didn’t attach sounds to their core values. I call this vocal audio branding. I went in and I taught all 2,600 employees at Zappos. I’ve taught what the sounds of their core values should be so that they were not only having core values. Weird and a little wacky was one of their core values. You got just the right amount of weird and a little wacky. I can’t tell you how many companies may have all of these core values. When the public is coming in contact with them from customer service all the way up, they’re not hearing those sound. It’s almost like the company is sending out mixed messages.
As you say that it brings to mind how different settings bring out different voices. I remember sitting in the front row watching Anthony Robbins speak. When he starts getting passionate and his voice gets loud, he sounds great to me. One thing I noticed in the last election was when Hillary got louder, her voice was not as pleasing. I’ve heard women and when they get louder, their voices tend to take it on a new tone that I don’t notice as much with men. Not just Hillary, but women in general. I’ve seen it. Is there something we should do to make our voice more appealing if we have to do a more loud speech to a group?
In every major emotion, there’s a sound recipe. The sound of angry is louder volume monotone, which means there’s no pitch and faster pace. The sound of angry happens when you get louder. When you have no melody in your voice, it’s all the same note. Also when you start speaking of the words faster. When you break the emotion of angry into sound, you have to have those three variables. When someone gets louder, the mistake they make is not adding more melody. They have to be a little bit more sing songs. If I get louder and I stay on the same note, I sound angry, but if I keep that same volume and I add a little bit of melody where it goes up a little bit and it comes down a little bit, I don’t sound angry. When you get louder and you start speaking fast, people think you’re angry at them. When you’re angry, you can’t control your emotions and you’re just blurting it out because you held it in so long.It's important to be able to have a voice that showcases many emotions. When you do that, you can excel at any job you pick for yourself. Click To Tweet
I teach people to create volume but slow down when they speak and also add more melody and then they’re never perceived as being angry. Those people that you don’t like when they get loud is because they get loud, they take out all the melody and they speak faster. You do not have to be a singer or have a great ear to fix these problems. You can be a total non-singer. When it’s your birthday and you’re trying to lead Happy Birthday and you’re just lip-syncing because you’re afraid if heard you sing happy birthday, you wouldn’t get any cake. You don’t have to have a great voice or great eager to do this. All of these things are so simple. You just have to become aware that you’re doing it. You have to learn how to stop doing it by focusing one step at a time on the things that I say like going up when you get to a comma or not getting faster when you get louder.
That’s all helpful things. A lot of people who are reading this, they give a lot of talks and they’re doing podcasts and all these things. I can see this is very helpful for people. You mentioned that you have a podcast and you’re doing this writing and talking to all these companies. How can they reach you if they want to find out more?
I try every day to be a better teacher. I’ve spent years trying to figure out how I can get the most information and teach it in the shortest period of time because people are busy and they’re already out there speaking and communicating and selling and trying to be good communicators. How can I fix it for them fast? How can I make that last? How can I get the quickest results? I took all of the techniques I’ve been teaching for years to CEOs and to doctors and lawyers and husbands and wives and young people. I took it along with all of the techniques I’ve taught, all the celebrities that I work with, all of the Bradley Cooper’s and the Reese Witherspoon’s and the Jennifer Aniston and put it together in what I call the perfect voice complete collection. That’s the best way to help people go from where they are right now, to where they need to be. It’s HD video lessons. It’s on video and yet there’s also a website component as well too. You get things like my daily warm-ups.
People are like, “I want a better body, but I just can’t go to the gym. I hate weights and I hate running and I hate the shape of the tennis racket.” I’ve created these little exercises called the daily warm-up exercises. Just for six all the way up to ten minutes several times a week, you follow along with my vocal exercises and it changes the way your voice operates. It shows you how to breathe right. It shows you how to make the vocal cords create the right pitches and volumes and everything. It’s not a commitment at all. You can do it in the shower. You can do it in the car on the way to work. If you saw Anthony Robbins documentary, there was a section where he was practicing his little warm-ups. He was doing my exercises. He did it right before he jumped into the ice bath. It’s hard to do anything when you’re in the ice bath and you’re shivering. This perfect voice complete collection comes along with a special program that’s called the perfect voice for money and the workplace.
It also comes along with the perfect voice for love and relationships. I want to help people be successful in business so that they can achieve more success. I also want to help people be successful in every conversation that they’re having. They get in the elevator and they have three floors to make a new friend. That new friend may just fund the next startup you have or that new friend might just be the person you’re going to marry. I try to teach voice and how it relates to business and personal and also how it relates to self-confidence. Many people are still afraid of speaking out or they don’t like the sound of their own voice and they don’t have confidence. These exercises in the programs will take care of that. I’ve made it as a super affordable as it can be.
There’s no excuse not to realize that most people aren’t thinking about their voice. I should think about my voice. If I make even a few changes to my voice, I’m going to be so far ahead of all of my competition. People are going to think that I’m taller and smarter and that I have more degrees and that I suddenly found the right hair dupe, but all it was is a vocal makeover that they needed. The way to do that is you go to ThePerfectVoice.com. I want to make it extra tasty for your friends so I’m offering a promo code. The promo code is training and it will take $50 off. $50 off is a big chunk of what it costs because I already made it super affordable. If they go to ThePerfectVoice.com and they sign up for and they enter the promo code training, they’ll get $50 off because you’re my new best friend.
Thank you, Roger. That’s so nice of you to offer that to my audience. It was just so nice to have you on the show. This was fun.
Thank you so much. It was fun for me too.
Thank you to Kelly and to Roger for being my guests.
- Kelly Palmer
- Roger Love
- The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies Use Learning to Engage, Compete and Succeed
- John Couch – previous episode
- Hit Refresh
- Phil Komarny – previous episode
- Willie Jolley – previous episode
- Sister Jenna – previous episode
About Kelly Palmer
KELLY PALMER is on a mission to change the way the world learns. A well-known thought leader on learning, business, and career development, she is currently on the executive team of Degreed and was formerly the chief learning officer of LinkedIn. Prior to LinkedIn, Kelly was vice president of learning at Yahoo! and held executive positions in learning, M&A, and product development at Sun Microsystems. She is the co-author of the book The Expertise Economy: How the smartest companies use learning to engage, compete, and succeed. She speaks regularly at companies and business conferences around the world, has been featured in Harvard Business Review, the Financial Times, Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., Chief Learning Officer (CLO), and on Bloomberg radio. Kelly has a Bachelor of Arts in English/communications and a Master of Science in adult learning and education technology. Kelly lives in San Francisco.
About Roger Love
Roger Love is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on voice. No other vocal coach in history has been more commercially successful in both the speaking and singing fields. Roger has vocally produced more than 100 million CD sales worldwide and written four top-selling books. Roger coaches singers such as Gwen Stefani, John Mayer, and Selena Gomez, as well as speakers like Anthony Robbins, Suze Orman, Brendon Burchard, and Simon Sinek, and screen personalities including as Reese Witherspoon, Jeff Bridges, Zoe Saldana, Keira Knightly, Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, and Joaquin Phoenix. Roger is the President of Voiceplace, an interactive media company that specializes in voice-related content for educational and entertainment purposes.