Principal at Deloitte
Q. What in your life brought you to the realization that you wanted to improve your voice?
A. For me it was a bit of a panic reaction. I was in the admittance process to become a partner with Deloitte. I was in the final stages and had to make a presentation to some very senior level executives. The feedback I got from my advisors was that I had a phenomenal story, but they didn’t think I could tell it well enough from a delivery standpoint to succeed in the final presentation. I had done and was thinking about all the right things. I simply couldn’t convey the message in a way that was convincing.
To help me improve, two of my now partners recorded my presentation so I could see what I was doing. I played the video back and it was just shocking—especially considering that I had completed our firm’s internal presentation classes and regularly interact with client executives. I went to the partner I’m closest with, the one who is really my sponsor, and I just asked him what to do, “I’ve tried everything. I’ve been working on this. This is the feedback I got. I don’t know what to do next.” He said, “There’s this guy, Arthur. I’ve used him in the past. It was really cool. Give him a call and see what he tells you.” I gave Arthur a call on his cell phone. He picked up and we had maybe a one-minute conversation where I outlined the problem. Arthur’s response: “This is what people are saying about you. This is the feedback you’ve been getting in your presentations. This is what’s probably been in your performance reviews for the last ten years.” It was like he had read the book already. My instant reaction to him was “Can you fix it? And when can we start?” He said, “I can start tomorrow and I can fix it in about 10 hours.”
Q. Do you recall a moment when you felt a shift or even a breakthrough because of your Work with Arthur and/or Vocal Awareness?
A. Most definitely. Arthur and I had pretty regular sessions and I improved quite a bit. I then went off on my own to practice the skills and, right before my last big presentation, went back for a run-through with Arthur. It just wasn’t quite right and I just knew it wasn’t quite right and it was probably one of the most frustrating sessions that I’ve ever had. One-on-one work sessions with Arthur are quite intense. I left kind of a wreck and he sensed what was going on. He helped me to re-focus and stripped it back down to the basics, went through some of the beginning parts of the Work. The next morning I presented again in front of a video camera. It was night and day from how I was presenting the day before. In the session by myself in the videotape you can see the complete difference between when I just used the skills that he taught me and the feeling of terror from the day before when I was just off. That was the big moment in my basement remembering that I actually had to work at this. It was something I actually had to use instead of something that was simply there.
Q. What has been the biggest benefit thus far from your practice of Vocal Awareness?
A. Besides getting the job of my life, my dream job? That was a pretty big accomplishment! It’s really changed the way people view me and helped me make that pivot from doer to leader. A big part of that was how my now peers and my team actually view me as a leader that can communicate and articulate my ideas versus someone that just has the capability to roll up his sleeves and get things done. You have to make a very subtle shift in how you communicate to make that pivot from doer to leader and communication is a huge part of that.