How to Project Confidence

In this video, I interview celebrity voice coach Roger Love on how to project confidence in a case interview. Roger is the voice coach to the A-List of high profile public speakers, actors, and singers. His clients and students include:

  • Tony Robbins
  • Suze Orman
  • John Gray
  • Reese Witherspoon
  • Jeff Bridges
  • The Cast of Glee
  • Keira Knightley
  • Joaquin Phoenix
  • Mandy Moore
  • John Mayer
  • Demi Lovato
  • Tyra Banks
  • Selena Gomez

In the first 10 minutes of the video, Roger explains (at my request) what it's like to work with the super-stars and what commonalities or traits they shared. From about 11 minutes on ward, we discuss the components of voice and confidence. It was a fascinating interview as I haven't learned this much so fast in a long time.

One note: This video is a recording of a live web conference using a new technology and video editing approach I hadn't used before. As a result, you'll notice that I never make "eye contact" -- so my apologies for that.

In the video, Roger references his website which can be found at:
www.ThePerfectVoice.com

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55 comments… add one
  • Rose Oct 4, 2012, 11:07 am

    Thank you for throwing light on so many aspects of voice and how it influences ones thinking:)

  • Anastasia Oct 4, 2012, 11:21 am

    Priceless advice!! Thank you very much!

  • Ofir Goldberger Oct 4, 2012, 12:08 pm

    Thanks Victor, great video!

    I wonder what comments Roger would have about using laughter in a conversation. Laughter is an important social tool (rarely used comically in a conversation), and I find it can really make or break a conversation depending on how it is used.

    Another important point is public speaking for those who are not as fluent and may find they need to speak s-l-o-w-e-r, as many of my scientist peers do. How do you use your voice to overcome this apparent obstacle in bringing your fullest self out?

    Finally, and this may just take practice, there is a fine balance that needs to be struck between being animated, outgoing, and personable and being comical. The distinction may very well depend on the audience, and in business (and academic) settings, there is an important distinction between professional speaking and motivational speaking. The two can be combined no doubt, but the right balance must be struck. Surely that is an art as much as it is a skill.

    Thank you for all the great career resources, including this video.

    Yours,
    Ofir

    • Victor Cheng Oct 4, 2012, 12:42 pm

      Ofir,

      In more formal situations like an interview, I refrain from deliberately making jokes. But sometimes there’s just something funny in the moment that I’ll comment on (especially if it is “safe” humor and would in no way offend a potential client).

      For non-native language speakers, pay attention to what Roger says about using pauses, using voice infection going up or down depending on where you are in the sentence, and “connecting your words”. Of the non-English speakers I’ve spoken with recently, other than accent or pronunciation which is difficult to improve overnight, the biggest problem that had was “not connecting” their words, so they spoke two words at a time, rather than in complete sentences or thoughts.

      The unusual pausing pattern is a “tell” that the speaker isn’t fluent (even though his pronunciation and accent were excellent for a non-native speaker). There is an example of this in the video recordings in my consulting resume toolkit http://www.caseinterview.com/consulting-resume-video2 — I think it is the recording of the resume rewrite for engineer from Purdue or Cornell (I forget which one).

      -Victor

      • Ofir Goldberger Oct 4, 2012, 1:06 pm

        Thank you for the reply Victor,
        Laughter is very important in a conversation. It shows you relate to the person on the other end. In these settings, laughter is seldom a result of a comic remarks, but more a social tool.
        If you watch your video interview, you will note that both you and Roger laugh a lot, although not a single joke is used.

        Thanks again for making this video available to us.

        Best,
        Ofir

        • Victor Cheng Oct 4, 2012, 3:53 pm

          Ofir – Yes, there is a lot of laughter but not from jokes… you are very observant.

          I find that’s more natural that trying to intentionally “tell jokes”. The outcome of a tell a joke approach has high variance. 50% of the time it works great, 50% you’re totally dead — not worth the risk.

          -Victor

  • Catherine Oct 4, 2012, 12:09 pm

    Thank you so much for this awesome and downright delightful video!

  • Daria Oct 4, 2012, 1:22 pm

    This is a wonderful video! I watched it twice and I am going to watch it again.
    I am planning to use my Toastmasters club speeches to practice these skills.

    Thank you, Victor, for this matchless material.

  • Anna Oct 4, 2012, 1:24 pm

    Simple and great voice manual! That’s a priceless gift, thank you!!

  • Shannon Oct 4, 2012, 1:26 pm

    Very insightful! As a musician I’ve always been aware of the how these concepts work. It was making the connection to speaking in a dynamic way that was amazing! I like how he uses different tones and word lengths to intrigue and capture the audience.

    I might very well buy his training pack. Thank you very much for sharing!

    • Victor Cheng Oct 4, 2012, 4:00 pm

      You’re quite welcome.

      The training pack has two pieces to it. One is a 2 – 3 CD’s which covers concepts and examples. This overlaps a bit with what we covered in the interview. These CD’s explain more thoroughly how the voice works and why it is worth improving it.

      The other component is the training exercise CD. That doesn’t overlap at all with the video and very much focuses on HOW to improve. The practice routine is basically a 12 – 15 minutes. I basically play it while driving my car when my kids aren’t in the car.

      I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now, I have noticed an improvement. There are certain pitches that I just could not hit before, that I can do comfortably now. In addition to the training, I try to practice in real world settings. In particular, I try to use the techniques when reading a bed time story to my kids.

      They’ve noticed that my story telling is SO much more INTERESTING… Will the little bear get wet yes or no? Even though they know the story, they’re much more engaged. My rule is whatever works for 5 year old kids often works for Fortune 500 CEO’s (there’s more truth in that statement than one might realize!)

      Anyways, Roger’s website has a bunch of stuff on it so it is sometimes hard to find what you’re looking for. Here’s the direct link to his training CD set:

      https://voiceplace.infusionsoft.com/cart/?product_id=1

      -Victor

  • Bob Regnerus Oct 4, 2012, 2:04 pm

    Awesome, Victor. I’ve been focusing on improving my speaking for many applications. Roger explained the voice in so much detail here. I’ve listened through once, and I will be listening again with a notepad and pen. It’s such a great “right angle” you’ve provided the case interview crowd. While everyone focuses on mechanics, you are equipping us to not only give the right answers, you are adding an element of production and performance that will turbo-charge our ability to stand out in a competitive crowd.

  • Siddharth Menon Oct 4, 2012, 2:04 pm

    Victor,

    Thank you for sharing this video with us! This was a very insightful and illustrative conversation. It was also unique in that I was fully engaged in the video for it’s entire duration, and that is something that doesn’t happen very often. Usually, one’s attention wanes around the 20-25 minute mark but Roger’s points about observing and mastering the nuances of melody, pace and connectedness of one’s speech were very interesting.

  • Sai Charan Tej Oct 4, 2012, 2:06 pm

    Fabulous!! Thanks a lot Victor and Roger for showcasing the subtleties of our voice. I can relate myself to every thing mentioned in the video. Thanks again!!

  • Daniele Oct 4, 2012, 3:48 pm

    This is a true eye opener! I am actually a singer in my spare time and people always comment on the fact that when I sing I sound like a different person. I never realised that talking can be made much more effective by using the same principles that work in music.

    • Victor Cheng Oct 4, 2012, 4:01 pm

      Daniele,

      I’m the reverse of you. I’m a speaker who never realized that I’m actually singing when I speak — only with shorter notes and no vibrato.

      -Victor

  • Roman Oct 4, 2012, 4:51 pm

    Fantastically relevant to me.
    Many thanks Victor!

  • Raj Oct 4, 2012, 5:16 pm

    This is fantastic, loved it. This should be part of a regular MBA course.

  • C. Andrew Randolph Oct 4, 2012, 6:10 pm

    Victor,
    Thanks so much for this video. It is very helpful. I’ll start practicing right away.

  • Alexandra Oct 4, 2012, 6:26 pm

    I should say thank you Victor for the video. Great one!
    I am singing in a choir in my leisure time and never thought that it can be useful for public speeches as well.
    I thought that having concerts are useful only for the practice (more practice => more confidence in public events). Good to know other side of the medal!

    • Victor Cheng Oct 4, 2012, 6:57 pm

      Alexandra – One thing that Roger suggested, that I did following the interview, was to listen to old recordings of Martin Luther King Jr and other great “orators”. And what I noticed was Roger is totally right… one certain words they universally H-O-L-D the “note” (or word) for a longer duration than the other words.

      I have a dream…. etc..

      The other thing I noticed is the role of breathing correctly. I realized the reason I speak quickly, use filler words, isn’t because I don’t know better. It’s because I breath incorrectly (or sub-optimally) and it’s just not possible to speak in the best way with incorrect breathing.

      Glad you found Roger as interesting as I did.

      Best wishes,
      -Victor

  • Jevgeni Oct 4, 2012, 7:28 pm

    Absolutely invaluable video. Thanks very much Victor!
    Now that the black box of tips is open, I would find it hard not to use them while judging the speaking abilities of people around me. I have to admit, this is completely new measurement scale.

  • Dennis Barton Oct 4, 2012, 8:07 pm

    Victor,
    Nothing short of amazing–and who would have expected less from you? Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • Leonardo Oct 4, 2012, 11:53 pm

    Victor,

    I used to be a very shy person at high school. I remember that, no matter how much I prepared I couldn’t make myself confident when talking about something, not only in speeches but also in social conversations. All in all, I was not a bit close to a social guy. This used to happen until I started singing (while playing guitar) in front of groups of people.

    I started to notice that, whenever I improved my performance with ups and downs and words intonation, people started looking at me differently. This changed my life hugely because my social relationships had a dramatic improve. But had I noticed this would apply to public speaking, things would be much easier with less hart times struggling to get people’s attention and to pass confidence.

    I was not aware of the technical aspects of my improvement because I couldn’t break it into its component parts like Roger did in this demonstration.

    Thank you for this video! It’s really priceless!

  • Dustin Oct 5, 2012, 2:13 am

    Victor,

    One big question I have is how this translates to other languages. For myself, I’ll be interviewing in China as a non-native speaker. I would love to know if the exercises and examples he gives re applicable to speaking in Mandarin and other languages.

    • Victor Cheng Oct 5, 2012, 7:52 am

      Dustin,

      Short Answer: Yes

      I speak Mandarin and I suspect Roger does not. Let’s start first with principles and concepts. What is the best way to give a speech in Mandarin and bore the audience to death — speak in a single note monotone. Boring is universal.

      If you watch television in a language you don’t understand and close your eyes while doing it, it is pretty easy to tell who is interesting and engaging. And with the bad habit I have, saying ummm…. Errrr… That’s universal too. It adds absolutely no value to the audience in any language.

      Now as for the vocal exercises, the exercises involve phonemes. Phonemes are fragments of sounds commonly used in a specific language. I’m not sure why Roger picked the specific phonemes that he did, all I knows that some of them are much harder for me to say than others.

      To me, it very much feels like some of the phonemes are designed to strengthen the vocals cords so that they can hold a very specific position needed to make certain classes of sounds.

      So I’m fairly certain the exercises will help for a Mandarin speaker — melody, proper breathing that makes melody and pace possible — are universal. However, there are some phonemes that are language specific.

      As you know for the mandarin phoneme “ma”, there are four intonations that can be used to pronounce that phoneme. If you get it wrong, you end up calling someone’s mother a horse and vice versa. This is what makes mandarin difficult for native English speakers. In my opinion, Roger’s exercises will not address this issue. Even after the exercises, whatever one finds difficult about the mandarin language will continue to be difficult.

      But, whatever portion of the language you do know, I’m certain you will sound better with this kind of practice.

      The one comment Roger made in my interview that may not apply is the upward inflection before a comma. Because the construct of a comma is prevalent, but not in mandarin I don’t think that point applies very well in mandarin. What does apply is melody, pitch variation, pace of speech, breathing.

      For example, whe I read my girls bed time stories at night (aka vocal practice for melody), I apply the phoneme based training to English words with a real audience. When I imagine translating the story into mandarin, the words would change, but as I think about it the melodic variation of the story doesn’t.

      The specific melody would probably change based around expressing a question.

      When asking a question in English, “Will the bear get wet?” the question mark I think is expressed with an upward inflection. As you know in mandarin, when one asks a question in mandarin in many cases the phoneme “ma” is used to express an inquiry, but this “ma” is expressed with more of a flat intonation.

      So the specific intonation based on grammar rules will vary across language classes, but the fact there must be melodic variation to create engagement and convey speaker confidence, I think is true across every language that I can think of.

      Here are links to Roger’s website
      http://www.ThePerfectVoice.com

      For the training exercises program, the direct link to that is at the top of his website as well as here:
      https://voiceplace.infusionsoft.com/cart/?product_id=1

      Victor

      • Dustin Oct 14, 2012, 11:38 pm

        Thank you for your detailed reply Victor! I find the advice you gave exactly along the lines of what I was thinking. For the past few days while I was visiting my wife’s relatives here in China, I’ve been trying to practice speaking Mandarin with melody, proper breathing, and pace. Though I’m not that proficient yet, it has helped a lot!

        On a side note, I’m working on my MBA homework right now and every time I look at one of my writing prompts I think “answer the question, answer the question, answer the question!”. Thank you for that!

        Dustin

  • Gloria Oct 5, 2012, 3:58 am

    Thanks Victor. This interview is a real eye opener to me

  • Alex Oct 5, 2012, 10:06 am

    Victor,

    As an american living and working in Brazil, I find it difficult to express myself in Portuguese (I am a very fluent speaker) in the same way I would in English. The biggest issue is that people loose patience or perceive you to be less intelligent than you are. Hopefully, using some of the rules Roger mentioned (pauses, tonation, etc.) I can reduce the language barrier.

    Thank you very much for making this public.

    Abs,

    Alex

  • Pascal Gekko Oct 5, 2012, 1:38 pm

    Amazing Victor! Thank you very much for this video. I learn so much about how to improve my speaking technique. I have never thought of speaking with so much melody like that. I knew that I should incorporate some tone into my words, but now I know that it is actually crucial!

    I find it interesting about the relation of character and voice improvement. But I find it very true. When we try to improve the way we speak, many things about us are changing as well. Unconsciously, this is changing our characters inside and without ourselves knowing, we are becoming more confident and happier.

    Thank you very much! I would have never received such useful knowledge if I do not know you! 🙂

    Pascal Gekko

  • Rob Oct 6, 2012, 11:19 am

    Looooove_thisss. Learrrrnnnninnnng_sooo_muuuucch. Thanks for doing and sharing this.

  • Tseli Oct 6, 2012, 5:39 pm

    This video was helpful to me as a new project manager that struggles with projecting confidence and managing feeling intimated by figures of authority in business as they are typically much older than I.

    I view the lessons shared by Roger and yourself on speaking using melody, volume, connectedness, happy and grateful as invaluable investments that will have a greater positive impact on my interpersonal and communication skills than any amount of learning my subject matter and hoping for the best.

    I am keen to learn more.

    Thank you,
    Matseliso

  • Lee Oct 6, 2012, 9:37 pm

    Hey Victor! Thanks so much for your great sharing! The problem is that because youtube is blocked in China and sadly I am in China now, I can’t watch this video as well as other great videos of you. So could you possibly put the videos on a Chinese video website like youku or tudou? Then thousands of your admirer in China would be able to learn more. That would be a really big favor! Thanks again!

    • Victor Cheng Oct 15, 2012, 1:50 pm

      Lee,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I never considered this before and will keep it in mind going forward.

      -Victor

  • Daria Oct 7, 2012, 4:33 pm

    Thank you very much for this useful advices=)

  • Israel Oct 9, 2012, 4:34 pm

    Victor –

    Thanks for putting this online, I (we) really appreciate the transparency as we all look for our stronger voice.

    One technique I picked up a while ago (which Roger used A LOT but he never actually verbalized) is filling space with repetition! When I was trying to conquer “ums”, I observed that a lot of great speakers repeat their previous words as a substitute filler. This can be verrrry powerful, and it’s an easy technique to adopt. A sentence which might have gone:

    “There seems to be a …. ummm.. cost opportunity in this business”

    Instead sounds like:

    “There seems to be… to be a cost opportunity in this business”

    It is SO hard to remove “umms” from your vocabulary, repetition “fillers” are much easier to learn. And they also give you that half-second to plan your words a bit — which we all need sometimes! It’s not perfect, but at least offers a bridge to more impactful communication.

    This video is especially helpful to me, because I have been focusing soooo hard on the technical accuracy of my communication, I’ve lost some of the (softer) credibility of delivery. Thanks for the refresher course!

    And thanks also for all the CI material – with your help I landed me a GREAT job, and I continue to read/watch faithfully for more tips to improve my skill!

    Best,
    Israel

    • Victor Cheng Oct 9, 2012, 5:05 pm

      Israel,

      Great suggestion and you’re quite welcome.

      -Victor

  • Lindsay Oct 9, 2012, 11:04 pm

    Hi Victor,

    Thanks for the video – it’s really helpful. I just have one question. A lot of the times, I tend to speak loud, partially because it’s the natural way I speak, and partially because of the reason mentioned in the video. But sometimes, others would tell me that I talk too loud and should keep it quiet; other times, it’s just the location that prevents me from really projecting my voice, like in the office where everyone is working quietly at their desk. So I was wondering if you have any thoughts on this.

    Thanks,
    Lindsay

    • Victor Cheng Oct 9, 2012, 11:29 pm

      Lindsay,

      If I were to read between the lines, I’d say that when someone is described as too loud what it really means is they only have ONE volume level — or too few volume levels. I would suggest say reading a magazine article outloud and try deliberately changing your volume — stepping it up a few levels, then down a few levels.

      Is best to have a range of volumes you can use for each environment and also for dramatic effect.

      Victor

  • G Raja Oct 12, 2012, 9:52 am

    Hi Victor,

    Very nice video and quite interesting. There are very few sessions that grab your attention 100% and not allow you to deviate even a single moment and this is one of them.

    Thanks again.
    G Raja

  • Haroun Oct 12, 2012, 10:43 am

    A potentially life-changing video. Thank you for finding a way to make this public!

  • GIANLUCA Oct 14, 2012, 9:05 am

    Dear Victor,

    1000 Cheers for these unique 51 minutes of pleasure!

    While listening through the video I jotted down few notes and came up with this:
    1. Melody
    2. Volume
    3. Grateful
    4. Keep words connected like in a song
    1+2+3+4=effective and confident communication of your content to your listening audience!

    The takeaway of this video is a lesson for my life.
    I am not an english native speaker and the field I work in requires extensive skills in the art of public speaking.

    Then after this video, although I often get compliments for my speaking abilities by my peers, superiors and clients, I realized I usually speak with only 1+2 and pretty much miss out 3+4 … which is a big part :-/

    Outstanding lesson! Now I am going to listen to Martin Luther King recording.

    All the best,
    Gianluca

  • NancyM Nov 21, 2012, 9:44 am

    Excellent!!!

  • Helen Xiao Nov 28, 2012, 5:17 am

    Hi Victor,

    I listened to this video because I have a presentation soon to senior people at work.

    It is interesting to consider that it is not entirely WHAT you say but HOW you say it that is most likely to determines the successful relay of your message.

    I wonder when you present with aids like PowerPoint and if having a great voice like Roger, would that message be diminished by other things that might be around you when you present e.g. Audience distracted by bulletpoints or pictures on the PowerPoint.

    If so, would you recommend minimizing the use of slides?

    Thanks in advance,

    Helen Xiao

    • Victor Cheng Nov 28, 2012, 10:44 am

      Helen

      Most people over use PowerPoint and when they do use it, they often use it incorrectly.

      Things like PowerPoint can be useful as a visual AID to make a specific point. Way too many people use it as speaker notes where they just read the slide out loud. This is a completely pointless way to present.

      When someone just reads the slide out loud, the audience gets really bored, really fastbecause they too can read the slide…. And they can read three times faster than the presenter can speak.

      The better approach is to make YOU the presentation, and use slides to ASSIST in making a point that is too complicated to explain verbally, and EASIER to see visually…. THAT’s when you use slide.

      I have given 4 hour presentations off of 10 slides before… Because 10 was all that was needed to get then job done. I have given 1 hour presentations that needed 100 slides, because in that case thats what it took to get the job done.

      Consulting presentations tend to be very data heavy, and as a result the legitimately do warrant the use of slides to help visualize data so the audience can SEE your point.

      Whatever you do, don’t just read the slide word for word when presenting to a live audience.

      Victor

  • Tyrone Jan 15, 2013, 11:58 am

    This stuff really works! Victor you are so much easier to listen to in this video compared with LOMS! Sounds like you are adopting this advice. As helpful as LOMS is you can be hard to listen to in it.

    • Victor Cheng Jan 15, 2013, 12:35 pm

      Tyrone – thanks for the feedback on both the video and LOMS. Like I suggest to you and others, always be improving right?
      Victor

  • VIJAYASENA P Mar 6, 2013, 8:20 pm

    The video was good which may come long way in moulding myself(57 years) and my son (10 years) in public speaking. I am not aware that My son’s talents in vocal and instrument(keyboard) can be useful for him to mould himself as a good public speaker
    Vijayasenan P, Senior Manager, Indian Overseas Bank
    Senior Vice President
    Indian Overseas Bank Officers’ Assocation

  • Xiaofei Mar 27, 2013, 10:36 pm

    Hi Victor- From your description and the audience’s comments , it sounds like this is a terrific video. However, the video couldn’t be loaded; I suspect it’s because it’s a youtube video and youtube is blocked where I am.. Is it possible for you to re-post this video on your website for those who live or travel to where youtube is not available? Thanks much!

  • Iskander May 7, 2013, 5:00 pm

    Thank you so much!
    So, have you finished with Your “As” and “AMMMs” spaces? 🙂

    • Victor Cheng May 9, 2013, 1:11 am

      Iskander

      I’m much better, but not yet 100% perfect. So I keep working on it.

      -Victor

  • Samir Jul 30, 2013, 5:43 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this video. It is very relevant to me. When I speak, I’m concious about my soft monotone voice and I don’t like it. Thanks to this video I’m confident that I can change this in a way that it will not stop me from reaching my full potential.

    I can’t thank you enough, Victor and Roger, for opening my eyes to ways to improving my speaking performance.

    – Samir

  • Ryan Aug 26, 2015, 2:00 am

    I think your voice is great Victor and your email writing is Awesome.

    If anything sometimes you talk too fast probably because you are so smart and get things so quickly.

    Look at the video and this guy Roger speaks well because he is always very calm and keeps that ‘sing songy’ quality.

    I think Victor when you get this down your next step should be a consulting version of shark tank.

  • Jean R. Apr 17, 2016, 6:44 am

    Thank you for sharing with me this amazing video! You’ve given much to think about !

  • Veronika May 8, 2017, 11:15 am

    Many thanks to you and Roger for that great video and all ideas how we could simply apply arts (music, storytelling, acting) in business!
    It would be also great to connect with breathing as a base, which supports the melody.

    Good luck in all you do!

    Sincerely yours,
    Veronika

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