Today we welcome back Dr Wendy LeBorgne in part II of her amazing interview, in which Wendy shares with us her nerve racking Ted Talk experience, when she spoke on the topic of “Vocal Branding and How Your Voice Shapes Your Communication Image”. In this episode, Wendy describes the elements of the voice which impact authentic and engaged communication. She believes that our voice is our most important communication asset which is unique to us and all our life experiences create our vocal story. By understanding and maximizing our communication strengths, this can lead us to successful and inspiring communication outcomes in all areas of our lives. Wendy describes how she helps others including politicians, Fortune 100 CEO’s, presenters on network television, podcasters, and film actors discover and empower their authentic voices. We also have a little fun with my voice as Wendy breaks down the five key elements of voice that come together to create our personal voice brand.

Listen to Dr Wendy LeBorgne’s Ted Talk

In this episode:

00:58 – Introduction

02:44 – Wendy’s TED Talk

12:11 – Quality & clarity of voices

19:29 – Changes in pitch over time

28:04 – Voice vulnerability exercises

36:37 – Trying new things with your voice

43:10 – What’s in the pipeline for Wendy?

Find Dr Wendy LeBorgne online:

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:10

Hey, it’s Dr. Marisa Lee Naismith here and I’m so honoured to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you, listen and you will be inspired by amazing healthcare practitioners, voice teachers, and music industry professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialised fields to help you live your best life every day. As singers, our whole body is our instrument and our instrument echoes how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally. So don’t wait any longer, take charge and optimise your instrument now. Remember that to sing is more than just learning about how to use the voice. It’s about a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:08

Today we welcome back Dr. Wendy LeBorgne in part two of her amazing interview in which Wendy shares with us her nerve wracking TED Talk experience when she spoke on the topic of vocal branding and how your voice shapes your communication image. In this episode, Wendy describes the element of the voice which impact authentic and engaged communication. She believes that our voice is our most important communication asset which is unique to us and all our life experiences create our vocal story, by understanding and maximising our communication strengths. This can lead us to successful and inspiring communication outcomes in all areas of our lives. Wendy describes how she helps others, including politicians, fortune 100, CEOs, presenters on network television, podcasters, and film actors discover and empower their authentic voices. We also have a little fun with my voice as Wendy breaks down the five key elements of voice that come together to create our personal voice brand. Without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  02:43

So I see that you have your glass of wine there, and it’s fine, because we’re going to get to a fun part of this interview. Now I have a coffee, and you have your Wine. 

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  02:55

I mean, I have a big glass of water to!

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  02:58

I have a bottle of water. So we’ve let everyone see what we’re up to. I’d really like to talk about your TED Talk. Because when I was looking into your background and doing a little bit of stalking on Wendy LeBorgne, I came across your TED talk, and I went ahead and watched it. I loved it, what you had to say was really interesting. And I just thought it was it was fantastic. So the topic of the TED talk was vocal branding beyond words, how your voice shapes your communication image. So I would love to know, and I’m sure our listeners would have heard this come about how did you become a TED talker?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  03:54

Um, it was a bucket list item. No, I, for me, it truly was and it was something that as I embark on this next phase of my career, where I take voice to the next level, or what I hope to take to the next level and and give back to people is empowering their voice so that they can be heard. And so taking the art and the science of voice is what I wanted to talk about. And so voice brand, you know, what people people talk about personal branding and all that. And what I think people for me, which seems so basic, I guess I’ll say yes, yes, what your voice is the single most important aspect of communication. From my perspective. You can put on all the makeup in the world, you can do your hair, you can have the best clothes, but if you open your mouth to speak and you can have the best speech written, but if you open your mouth to speak and it is not congruent with everything else, people will See through you in a moment. So finding and empowering that authentic voice. And from a science standpoint, what do we know what draws us to some voices? What makes us turn off some voices. And so I decided, I’m gonna apply to do a TED talk. And I applied and I was accepted. And those might have been the most 12 terrifying minutes of my life.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  05:27

I was to say, were you terrified?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  05:31

So, you know, I’ve performed all over the world, and I am not I love getting up and talking in front of people. I love presenting and singing and all of those things. I will say the TED stage is a little lonely. It’s you in a spotlight, and you have no no, you know, I’m very used to talking. Yeah, there was, there was probably, I don’t know, maybe five or 600 people in the audience at the time. And then there’s there’s cameras, right? Because they’re filming this. And there’s a big, big clock, which counts down like 12, 11. Like you have time. And so there’s that staring at you, and you don’t have any notes. So the challenge for me, and when I and I’ve worked with TED speakers since then, like coaching them on their presentations and their voice how cool you know, I think it is, and it’s been a joy, that you need to sound like it’s the first time you’ve spoken those words, right? It needs to sound conversational, but it’s completely completely rehearsed. Because you know, you have to get from point A to point B, in 12 minutes, that whole arc. So that was challenging. But for me, I knew what those five elements of voice brand were. And that’s what I wanted to talk about. So yeah, it’s, it’s been pretty amazing. I, I haven’t, I don’t go back and watch it. But I know that it’s had some good traction.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  07:05

So how is the voice the single most unique thing about us? What is it about the voice in rather than, say facial expressions? Or body language? Or the words themselves? Why is it the voice? Do you feel?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  07:25

Well we see this also across species, it’s not just, it’s not it’s not unique to humans, right? Any of us, you and I even go back to a mother and babies cry. You can hear five babies cry if you’re a mom. None of those babies cries bother you except your own. And you can you identify with a cry, right? So yeah, the initial sound of voice, you know, if an animal is in pain, yet by hearing it cry, yeah, you know what I mean? Sometimes you could tell when animals are mating by the fact you right? So it is voice that we hear it is its sound that we hear, right? And so as humans. The there also then the neurobiology of voice, the hardwiring from the brain, the emotional centre of the brain to the voice, the laryngeal muscles, impact tightness. So if all of us, most of us, at least have had the experience, where you get angry, or you get upset, and you are trying really hard, like you, you have to say something hard, or you’re having a fight with your spouse, whatever it might be. And that you get that burning knot in your throat, and there’s your voice, people can tell you’re going to cry before you ever cry, even though you’re trying your darndest not to because it’s hardwired. So there’s this emotional connection. So this is immediate empathy. And we have these mirror neurons in our brain where they like to mirror what we see what we hear. So if I smile, oftentimes you’ll smile right back, right. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  09:06

I just did!

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  09:13

So when when we hear if we hear a happy voice, we heard a sad voice. Even if we don’t sound that way back. We actually empathise with what we’re hearing. Yes. Um, and we hear this in music too, right? Like, loud, loud, makes us feel one way. Soft. makes us feel high pitches, low pitches, fast rhythms, slow rhythms. So for me, as a musician, as as somebody who, who has spent my whole life immersed in music, it is the musicality. We know. We all have our own aesthetics, right? Yes. And we You and I were talking about this. Yeah. It’s kind of our Pre interview it’s like, yes, you know, I love and Australian accents, I think it’s, you know, I wish I had that and, and there are there are vocal turn ons of what we are we tune into, and things that are really detractors. And so when you develop your voice brand, when you think about your voice brand, those things play into it. Also, I think what’s uniquely human is that all of the experience of our lives fold into our vocal story, how tall we are, how short we are. That your tongue, your tongue takes I mean, all of those things, create your authentic vocal story. Wow, what an even though I always ask clients that I’m working with, who do they like listening to? Who are their kind of vocal role models from speaking or singing standpoint? I don’t like people to imitate voices. Because that is not uniquely authentic to them. Yeah, right. Yes. So it’s about you being the best voice you can be. And we can all be better at what we do. Because this is a system like anything else. Yeah, it also takes practice to get to that point. I think great speakers don’t they’re not just born great speakers. They, we learn more by our failures and our successes, oftentimes, absolutely. Yes. And it’s hard to get up and speak and use your voice.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:36

Yes, I’m hearing you, girlfriend. All of those things, right? Yeah, yeah. Now, there were five key elements that you spoke about in your TED Talk. And they’re really interesting. Would you be able to break those down for us and give us examples of how they influence or don’t influence or the perceptions around some of those things?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  12:03

Sure. So they are quality? And so I’ll I’ll do those individually, because it’s probably Yeah, so quality quality is what I like to think of is the hoarseness or the clarity of the voice that actually comes from the vocal fold level. So, you know, we talked about a pathologic voice versus a healthy voice or not, you know, a normal voice. We’re drawn to interesting. We talked about this earlier, too. Yeah. Yeah. So, so many very famous voices have just a little bit of coarseness or a little bit of an edge to them or something that’s unique about them. Think about the voices. You love to listen to. Right? Yeah. Male or female?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:47

Yes. Yes. 

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  12:48

So it’s, it’s the inherent quality. And sometimes that can’t be changed. From you know, I don’t necessarily want to take a clear voice and make it hoarse. Let’s just say, similar. Similarly, I don’t always want to take a hoarse voice and make it clear because sometimes it gets people jobs, because they have an interest in quality. From an physiologic standpoint, hoarseness, especially in women and men and not just one, but think about it from a minimum. How do people get hoarse voices usually? Are they over? You know, are you are you a girl? Are you a good girl? Are you a bad girl?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:37

Oh, oh, Well, I don’t know sometimes good girls can think and talk like this too.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  13:48

But that’s, but that’s a pitch. That’s pitch. Right? Like, if you’re talking horse. Yeah, we sometimes think like smoking, drinking, partying, oh, they’re high on people. Right? Right. And it’s an unconscious thing sometimes. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:06

So the people that make the phone calls,

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  14:09

They are sometimes they are, you know, we know biologically that women when they are when they’re ovulating, they oftentimes have a change in voice quality. And men don’t necessarily recognise that but as species like they do like it, it has to do with how procreation, you know, like how it happened, because you get a little edoema on your vocal folds, you sound a little huskier when that happens as well literally happening at the level of your vocal cords. So anyway, that’s a little bit of the quality, show intense intensity of voice loud and soft, right. So intensity is something we can measure in decibels. loudness is the perceptual correlate of intensity. So and then Based a lot on our biases, right? So I come from a large Italian family. And we talk loud over people all the time. When I moved to the middle of the country, people are quieter. And so I that loudness gets seen oftentimes as aggressive, right? Because of biases. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  15:21

Yes. or people think that you’re really outgoing. And out there, that’s what I get, because I come from the Italian family background too. And yet people think, Wow, she’s really full on.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  15:38

Absolutely. And then you go the opposite direction. And if people talk really softly, like this all the time, then we get the impression that they don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re not confident, but they might just be quiet people. Sure. But that’s the perception. So these things all together, and I parse them out into five components. But it’s really the interplay between the five that we get the that voice brand. So it’s it’s quality partnered with intensity, partnered with, let’s take rate of speech next. That’s how fast or how slow you talk. And people are often told, well, slow down, you’re talking too fast. But if all of a sudden, I slow down my rate of speech with you, it starts to feel condescending, right, that I am talking down to you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:37

Yes, it does. And it also sounds like it’s very boring to listen to as well. You think this person lacks energy? Or generally?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  16:50

Yes. So yeah, we can absolutely get that. And when we combine that with lack of frequency variability, I need you to get this done today. Like that’s very slow. It’s also pretty monotone. There’s a frequency and we’ll jump to in a second.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:10

Yeah. And you know, what my response would be if someone asked me to do that, in that way, I would say you have no hope.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  17:24

And conversely, if somebody talks really fast all the time like this, it makes them sound like again, they’re not. They’re almost over excited. It’s the intensity is really, a girl can be aggressive. So if you partner the fast speech with loud, I need you to get this done today. Like, it’s like, oh, my God, like, okay, whoa, get back, right? Like the house is on fire. Those are the, those are the exact same words, if a one’s fast one, so some we think about, again, voice brand, if I talk slowly, but I batch it up here. I need you to get this done today. Like that’s a very different feel than changing it all up. So it’s, it’s a variability. For rate. It’s the fast and the slow combined. Yes, that makes an interesting speaker, right? Yes. Yes, I need you to get this done today. So it’s slow. And then fast, right? That is so cool. So we combine these things, but it’s just like music. It’s just like music, right? If I go with the rhythm, that’s not exciting. If I’m doing this, it makes it feel a little bit more energised. But what’s exciting to our ears, yeah, is this. It’s that variability and rate and roll that we that’s interesting. Absolutely. The fourth thing is frequency, which is the overall overarching pitch of your voice. I separate this out from intonation, because I think of intonation is the melodic line, that’s the fifth element. But pitch is generally how you’re generally low. So if I’m talking to you up here, like this, depending on where you are in the world, and in the country, that’s gonna feel very different than if I talk to you down here like this. And, you know, it’s simply changing laurendeau height, it’s changing my pitch, but your perception of me?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:26

Yes, absolutely. And can I just butt in for for a second, because what you shared on the TED Talk, was the fact that after the 1960s, women’s overall pitch lowered, as the women’s rights movement started to amp up, and women’s started to fight for their rights. They didn’t want to feel as vulnerable and so the pitch lowered for women.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  19:59

I think you’re was partly that, and also for the first time and again, I’m not a sociology professor of any stretch. But when you look at this and we look at what is happening in the culture for the first time, women were coming to the table and sitting with men, we know that men who have lower pitched voices. Make make Well, here’s the thing. They make more money they father more children, they hold positions of higher leadership.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:30

I need to ask one question. If they father more children with the look, the lower the pitch, I want to know how many children Barry White has?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  20:40

I don’t know!

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:42

It must be a lot.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  20:46

Yeah. But you know, they, evolutionary wise, they, they, they made it more frequently. So women came to the table, and we’re like, they consciously or unconsciously recognise this. But if you’re talking up here like this, it wasn’t being perceived as being taken seriously. And so unconsciously, it probably drifted. In general, at least in the United States, in the southern part, southern part of the country. women’s voices are still like, well bless your heart like, Oh, yeah, a bit higher. Yes. A northern. Yes. Yes. You’re so righteous. Fascinating.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:22

That is so fascinating. And yeah, that that speaks for itself there. But if if I think to the people that inspire me in terms of women that I listened to, you can’t go past Oprah. And and also Brene Brown, their pin bit their pitches is quite low.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  21:47

Right? Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. But what I will tell you, is that they also have what I would consider vocal variability. Right. So that goes to intonation. So depending on what you want, if it is, if it is huge emphasis, we might drop the pitch. Yeah, I need you to get this done. today. Right. So then I hopped back up, so I temper that with a higher pitch, right? Yes, um, but you know, that I’m serious. Because, or it could go the opposite. I need you to get this done today. Like, it has a very different feeling, right? And so, you know, if we just talk pitch, so these are women that, you know, you talked about two women, Bernie brown and Oprah, who have this amazing command of their voices, they, um, they do and whether it’s conscious or unconscious, I would, you know, obviously, Bernie Browns work is all around vulnerability. And, and so we see that I see that when I listened to her when I listened to her work. I do not know her personally, I’ll know someday. But but but what we hear when she talks about vulnerability, we hear vulnerability in her voice, we do write that we hear authenticity, and what she’s saying, I don’t ever feel when I’ve listened to her on her podcasts or her books. I don’t ever feel that the voice is affected. Same thing with Oprah right? And so, but Oprah also has some acting training and, you know, she, we see her, you know, you watch her and like, the colour, probably we see this voice. She She is, I would suspect has some different voice training that maybe somebody like Bernie Brown, I don’t know, but I would suspect. I but I do think going back to the vocal authenticity. We just can’t copy somebody else and you can’t go, okay. I want to emphasise that word. Like it sounds completely ridiculous, right? Like, you’ve got to find what that authentic voice to you is. Yes. And I believe you, you know, your voice is because it is so tied to emotion. Mm hmm. hugely, hugely vulnerable. And is not that men don’t have vulnerability. It’s different. And certainly in this year of COVID, we’ve seen empathy all over the place. Yes, we do. But when when women get excited about a topic at work, or their kids, whatever it might be, their voice often gives them away. Because how do you become passionate and how do you become passionate about something and not start to get a little sometimes clever or women can’t always maintain that stability, some that we hear it with men too. But women tend to be seen as more vocally vulnerable sometimes. And how do you temper? You know, one of the things that I work on with my clients, I have a lot of women executives and women clients that want to empower their voices. Yeah. How do you convey passion without being overly emotional? And how? Because you, you know, a true to self. Number one, you got to know why, and how, and what you’re saying, Be, you need to practice it, but not to the point that it is void of emotion. Yeah, but there are, there are things that we can control, we can control breath, we can control heart rates, to a certain degree. So we know those things are going to amp up or whatever, when we’re put in high pressure situations. So anyway, but that’s slightly off topic of what we were talking about. But no, it is the interesting, it’s, it’s the authenticity that we have to find that I that I work to find with individuals and clients, whether they’re singers or speakers, or CEOs, or you know, pastors pastors are huge. Your goal is to connect with your congregation, right? And it’s not just the words, but where do you inflect? What words are most important? How do you modify that? Yes,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:33

It is a fine line. Like to be perfectly honest, when it comes to this podcast, for example, and I do my solo round episodes. Like I listen back, because I like to do my first initial edit myself before it goes on to my assistant. And I die. Sometimes I listen to my voice. And I think Do I really sound like this? I mean, we all don’t like our own voices. And then we do have those biases. Because the people that I listened to were generally Americans, a lot of the the Americans, the ones that the amazing thought leaders that are out there that I love listening to. And I think, Well, you know, I just want to sound like those. I sound silly with an Australian accent. And yet you shared with me that you’d love the Australian accent and the British accent because we sound more intelligent. And yet, as an Australian, I feel sometimes I sound ridiculous. So it makes it really hard to find that authentic self, when you are judging yourself to put a product out there. So how do we how do I measure that? What would be your advice to me? If you’re listening to my voice? What would you advise me to do?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  27:59

So first of all, we’re always our own worst critics. Right.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:03


Dr Wendy LeBorgne  28:04

One of the exercises that I take my clients through is some voice vulnerability, right? How many of us also like to stand naked in front of the mirror? We are really good at pointing out all the flaws, right? Yeah. So listening back to yourself is like standing naked in front of the mirror, but from a voice perspective. And so you cue into all of those things that you that you hate about your voice, we are so self critical. Instead, what I like to do is help people get a 360 degree view of their voice. So I say to you play your voice for five people that don’t know you. And I want them to rate your voice. And then you write your voice on that same segment. Right. So when we, when I work with clients, that’s what we do, right? I have external people. And the things that my clients here are generally not at all, you know, you can we have, you know, ratings, is this person intelligent or dumb, right? They just have a slider skill and you and you would raise your voice. Now I’m just making this up. But you might say, you might slide towards like, I don’t feel like I sound intelligence. And everybody else is like at 75, and you’re at 25. And so why are you perceiving yourself that way? When nobody else does? Yes. So those types of things, because I think it’s important to be self aware, but not self, not overly self critical. Because there are some inherent things that we can’t change. But some of those things that people that are unique to you are the things that you should enhance. Yeah, because yes, that’s what continues to make you unique. Yes, we can’t, we can’t control other people’s biases, right, like minds in American bias. Yours is an Australian bias. Yeah, you know, so that’s where I go. Okay. What do you like about your voice? What have people told you from a positive standpoint about your voice? That I have a lot of energy when I speak? Mm hmm. I sound passionate when I speak. Okay. That I speak well, all right, whatever we take, right. So if I were to analyse that, you know that you’re energetic when you speak, you have a moderate to fast rate of speech, you can slow down if you need to. And if I slowed that conversation down, we can do that. You You mirror. Yeah, right. So yeah. So but the energy comes from rate of speech, right? The emotional connection, I think, if just because I know you a little bit and know some of your musical background, you’ve got great intonation patterns, right? So people, people connect with that emotionally. Because when you get excited, your voice goes up a little bit. And if you want to talk about Sirius, it goes down. So that’s inherent to you probably because of your musicality

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:30

The italian culture, would you say? 

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  31:35

Say that one more time? 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:36

The Italian culture as well?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  31:40

Yeah, absolutely. And, and then the third thing, you Oh, that you You didn’t say articulate. But I will say that you are, we don’t hear. There’s not mumbling in what you say. There’s not a lot of ifs, ands or buts. Haha. So people perceive that as being coherence, easy to understand, versus all of a sudden somebody signing on here like this, you really can’t really understand what the saying is. Right? And so we don’t hear that. And yet, so if so if those are the three things that work really well for you, let’s work on enhancing those to the next level, right? As opposed to going, I hate the pitch of my voice, or I listen to myself and I sound Uber nasal, whatever it is that you are critical of. So if I were to say to you, what are you most critical of in your voice? When you listen to it? What do you not like about your own voice?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:40

Well, maybe the pitch. Sometimes I don’t like the pitch. 

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  32:46

Do you think it’s too high or too low?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:48

Well, sometimes I think it’s too high. And then sometimes I think it’s too low. And it’s trying to find that place where you think, okay, sitting there, I don’t sound unintelligent. And then sitting down here, I don’t sound too authoritarian or boring, either. It’s trying to find that place. And it’s when I don’t worry about it. That’s when it’s fine. Mm hmm. Yeah. And the other thing is, when I say words, I have I’ve found since recording myself a lot, is, if I have words that have a lot of L’s, or a lot of N’s, I found that I get I find I get stuck on those words. So I think there must be like, a little bit of something going on somewhere that whether it’s the tongue or the something’s going on, where I’m getting stuck.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  33:48

And so those L’s and the N’s are something that you can absolutely work on, you know, we if we work together, I would load sentences with ns, ns and else, no one knew Norman’s nickname, like we…

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:02

I’m stuck already.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  34:04

Yeah, that’s something from an articulatory standpoint that we go, okay. This is now going to the vocal branding gym, right? We say okay, these are the things you do really well. Let’s maximise those with some exercises. These are the things where you struggle, let’s work on decreasing the detractors. I don’t think that we ever eliminate our detractors. But you know, Spanx were made for a reason. It’s to decrease the detractors, right. I need a speck on my voice. Right now. Right. I know that there are things that we can do to minimise our detractors in what we do. Yeah. So but we want to eliminate them. And that’s, again, that is part of our vocal story, right? That is part of who we are. And that is okay.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  35:01

And how far can we go by trying to change and without controlling, losing our authenticity, and also where we could run into voice pathologies, because we get so caught up and uptight about all these things.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  35:23

And that’s what I really, really, really try to shy away from because we went is you you said this already, you’ve already answered your own question when your voice is the best is when you’re not thinking about it. Yes. Right. And so when I work with any speaker, it is about, your voices is your best when you’re talking to your best friend, when you’re having a conversation about, Oh, my gosh, did you hear what happened today? You are engaged, you’re passionate about the topic. It is authentic to you as the challenge comes when the stakes are high, right? You need to get venture capital from somebody, you need something from someone else. And so your voice becomes the medium for you to do that. And so becomes inauthentic because we have all of these other layers. So not that you can talk to your venture capital firms like you talk to your best friend, but you want to have some, but you want to have some of that in there. Yes. Because absolutely what we want to do business with people. We don’t want to do we do right, so yeah, he’s got to be approachable. Yes, yes. So that’s really important.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:36


Dr Wendy LeBorgne  36:37

So when people get all tied up in their voice, it is terrible. So it is about the conversation. There is no perfect voice, there is no right voice. It is not one size fits all. And I kind of say this laughingly. But if you have a St. Bernard, and he wants to look like a greyhound, you can put the St Bernard on the diet all you want, but he’s only ever going to look like a skinny St. Bernard, he’s never gonna look like a greyhound. That’s so he can be the best beat St. Bernard, he could be right. And so when we talk about vocal authenticity, and talk about our voice brand, those elements remain true. Regardless of the brand, the voice brand. It becomes about maximising the great things. Yeah, minimising your detractors, and being authentic to who you are. And you have, in order to do that, you have to be vulnerable. Because you have to try things with your voice. We’ve all had the experience when we know things vocally go really badly. I’m coming out of a meeting. Yeah, you’re like, Oh, my God, my voice just totally cracked. That did not go the way that I planned. My job then becomes ago, okay, why did that not work for you? what went well, what went wrong? How do we fix that for next time? You can’t. And it’s like performance anxiety for a singer. Once that happens, you there is a process to get back out on stage again. Because we know that performance anxiety exists. And so to work through that you actually there’s a process to work through it. And similarly, when a when a meeting goes badly when a speech goes badly, when a conversation goes badly. We need to learn from the experience not be panicked, that it’s going to happen again.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  38:37

Yes, my biggest takeaway from what you’ve said, is about being true to yourself, in all situations, isn’t it like being your authentic self, and that’s something that I’ve worked really hard at, for a number of years now. And, and having that courage to turn up as the person that I truly am in any situation. And I know sometimes we’ll go into a meeting my husband and I have to go to see a bank manager or accountant or a legal person. And he can’t believe some of the things that I say. I say yet, but you know what? I’m being true to me. And this is how I I feel that I need to say them. And I think that’s something that we as we mature and it’s through life experiences. Isn’t that something that we do start to find our authentic voice and our uniqueness by love a cup and be true to yourself every day? And in every situation that you’re in?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  39:48

Yeah, so two things that I think about that as we as we’re sort of thinking about wrapping our conversation up you is one your authentic self has changed. Oh, Time, because you’ve had more life experiences, yes. So that we our voices change over time reflective of that. So if you’re trying to embody what you were at 20 vocally, I want to sound vocally youthful. That’s not gonna fly at 40. Right? So we have to think about that. Um, the other thing is that people, most people inherently know this, or we learn this. But some people don’t know this, there are communication rules. So, okay, you, you need to know when you should use language in this way, or what are the rules of communication in a social situation, versus in a boardroom? versus in the bedroom? Like, those are all different communication rules that are fairly well established in the literature, like, not new, and we generally learn them from babies moving forward. But if you don’t know the rules of the game you’re playing. It’s very hard to win at the game, right? It’s not about winning or losing.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  41:10

but it is a game. It can be a game, and there are situations yeah.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  41:17

Oh, yeah, absolutely. So we think about that. So it is a lot of multifactorial things going into how we use our voice to communicate. Yeah. And the factors that go into it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  41:29

No, that was that was so interesting. But in wrapping up the TED Talk, can you do the sexy voice for us? 

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  41:43

Sure, i might need to think, you know, I think it was “I need you to get this done today” I think that’s what I said. So, sexy voice was. So you lower your pitch, you get slightly so so. So the frequency is lower? Yeah, the the talk is the the speed the rate is slower. It is highly intimated or have high inflection. From a quality standpoint, it’s not totally clear, it’s slightly breathy. And the intensity, the loudness is usually soft. So it’s becomes I need you to get this done today. Right. So it’s low pitch slightly breathy, highly intimated. Right. Versus I need you to get this done today. That feels totally different. Right? same word. Yeah. same person.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:37

Well, that was “I need to get this done today”. Is that right?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  42:44

Yeah. Cool. That’s it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:45

I’m getting close.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  42:47

You’re getting close?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:48

I think if I said that to my husband, I don’t know. He probably run them. He thinks an alien has stolen me and replace me with somebody. Okay, so Wendy, what do you up to moving into the future?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  43:07

Oh, gosh, I’m so private consulting, you know, with clients, corporations. So that’s the corporate side of what I do. I also am doing the vocal athlete side where I am working on getting on my artists and keeping them healthy and well on stage for the longevity of their careers. And then being a mom and being your wife, I am working on a another book and some some workshop series that people can work on their voice brand. So I’m working on all of those things a little bit at a time. incred. So feel free, feel free to reach out to me if this is something that interests you. Absolutely find me. Well,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:53

we’re going to share all this information in the show notes. You, I will receive all the links from you that people can go to if they wish to find you or learn more about your work or listen to your TED Talk. Because we need to get that up to a million views. So everybody hates to go and watch the TED talk and ask five of their friends to go and listen to it as well. So we need you.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  44:23

Thank you thank that

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:24

up to a million views. So what happens when we get to that? Because we’re about 400,000 at the moment.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  44:31

I think somewhere around there. No. So my understanding is that to get to get to the big Ted stage, you need at least a million views. On your Ted Talk.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:41

Let’s do it. Let’s do it. Yeah,

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  44:43

please spread the word. Thank you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:46

Just wrapping this up the final couple of questions that I like short answers like one word answers usually, but not always. Okay. So who has been your greatest role model

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  45:01

My parents beautiful. Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:06

Can I ask why? What? What was outstanding about your parents and their parenting?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  45:13

Oh my gosh, I think just how they work together. Both they as as parents and also running a business together. I think that takes a lot. The older I’ve gotten, the more I respect that yes, I’m their belief in me to be my own person, even when I know I tested them. limits and what I did. Yeah. And just constant I think, just constant love, like love is love is love is love. So yeah, beautiful.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:42

And what is the book that you’re reading right now?

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  45:47

Um, I am finishing one of Rene brown books, that I think the power of vulnerability is what I’m reading. I have several on my shelf and then I just finished one of john Maxwell’s books, actually. Great. That was an audio book. Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:06

Okay. So we would recommend people go and listen to Bernie Brown. If they haven’t discovered her work so far. It’s It is truly amazing. Well, I’m going to say thank you so much for today. It’s been an incredible experience interviewing you. It’s always a joy meeting with you. We wish you all the very best and thank you so much for being a part of the podcast and looking forward to great things from from Wendy Lamborn.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  46:37

Thank you very much for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak and I can’t wait to see you again. In person. Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:46

Yes. And possibly not jet lagged.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  46:50

Possibly not jet but it was actually at a TGI Fridays, or Ruby Tuesday’s right there on the corner is where Yes, I know. I do know that number setting there. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  47:02

Okay, we’ll take care, Wendy. 

Dr Wendy LeBorgne  47:05

Okay, thank you so much. Have a good day. Bye. Bye.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  47:22

Hey, I hope you enjoyed this episode of a voice and beyond. Now is an important time for all of us to spread positivity and empowerment in our singing voice community. It’s time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. use every day is an opportunity to learn and to grow. So you can show up for your students feeling energised, empowered, and ready to deliver your best. Be the best role model and mentor you can possibly be and watch your students thrive as you do. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please make sure to share it with a friend or a colleague who you think will be inspired by this, copy and paste the link and share it with the people you think will enjoy listening to this show. Please share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. If you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would love to know what it is you enjoyed the most about this episode? And what was the biggest takeaway for you? I promise you there are many episodes to follow as I’m committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one. I’d like to finish up with my final thoughts. Remember that to sing is more than just learning how to use the voice. as singers. Our whole body is the instrument and our bodies echo what we feel physically mentally and emotionally. So singing is not just about the voice. It’s about a voice and beyond. Please take care of yourself and I look forward to your company next time.