World of Speakers E.62: Arthur Joseph | Cultivating a powerful voice


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World of Speakers E.62 Arthur Joseph

Ryan Foland speaks with Arthur Samuel Joseph, the founder and chairman of the Vocal Awareness Institute. Arthur is widely-recognized as one of the world’s foremost communication strategists and authorities on the human voice. He teaches communication mastery through a disciplined regimen of highly-specific techniques designed to cultivate an embodied and enhanced leadership presence, as well as personal presence, through body language techniques, vocal warm-ups, and storytelling skills.

Ryan and Arthur discuss how speakers can be their most authentic selves on stage, how to increase their credibility, and how to make an impact on audiences through their most powerful tool — their voice.

Listen to this podcast to find out: 

  1. Why you need to stop thinking about your talk as a presentation, and start thinking of it as a performance. 
  2. How to center yourself and your breath to access your most powerful voice.
  3. Why it is essential to use pauses to create space in your speech for maximum effectiveness.
  4. What “Vocal Awareness” is and how to cultivate it.
  5. A simple and powerful exercise that will help you speak with authenticity and resonance.

In the interview, Arthur mentions resources available to World of Speakers listeners. You can find those resources here.



If you enjoy this interview we’d be honoured if you reviewed us on iTunes. Just follow this link.


ASJ: Hello, my name is Arthur Samuel Joseph, the creator of The Vocal Awareness method.

I've just spent an extraordinary time — a very original time — with Ryan, speaking about vocal awareness.

Voice is power. When you own your voice, you own your power. 

Enjoy the journey.

Ryan Foland: Ahoy everybody, we are back with another World of Speakers episode. 

This time we have somebody who has two first names to complete his full name which means he is two times as cool as anybody with just one first name. 

His name is Arthur Joseph and he is not only a communications strategist, but specifically, he teaches empowerment through voice. 

He is somebody who I want to get to know better, and somebody who you will get to know better in the next 45 minutes. 

Mr. Arthur, how are you, sir?

ASJ: I'm fine and I'm even cooler than that because I have three first names.

Ryan Foland: Tell me your middle name. 

ASJ: Arthur Samuel Joseph. 

Ryan Foland: Aha, and I just realized I called you Mr. Arthur — could be confusing because that sounds like that's your last name. 

But I love this. I'm kind of jealous, to be honest. 

Now, as you grew up, were you able to pick and choose which name you used, or has there been any difference?

ASJ: Arthur is what it is. The only thing in high school they used to call me “Art,” but I disallowed that because it rhymes with a word that is more pejorative. And so...

Ryan Foland: Yeah, that's good. I'm glad that you were aware of the impact of vocality and similar-sounding words at such an early age. 

To kick off the show, instead of reading your long list, your cool bio, I ask you to imagine that your entire life has been recorded. You have a secret recording module that's somewhere in, I don't know, in your left temple, and everything from when you were a baby to now, even right now, has been recorded. 

I want you to mentally search back through that long recording and pull a situation, a piece of that recording that was part of your life, that is in the form of a story, that if that was the only recording that I could send to somebody and be like, 

"You have to check out Arthur, he's — just listen to this episode from his life." 

What would that be?

ASJ: What a thoughtful question. 

Ryan Foland: Good fun, yeah. 

ASJ: I knew when I was four that music was my life, when my mother dragged me into an accordion studio with her hand upon my wrist. I was totally resistant. 

The moment they placed this ¾ -size accordion in my lap, I was morphed into music. 

And at four, I knew that music was my life.

Ryan Foland: Wow! 

ASJ: It's part of a larger swath of the snapshots.

Ryan Foland: Swath away, my friend.

ASJ: So in the sixth grade I auditioned for choir and they wouldn't let me in the choir because I couldn't sing “America the Beautiful” on pitch. 

Seventh grade I auditioned for Mrs.Grill and her high-tones and she let me in her choir. 

So now music has morphed into singing, and at 12 I knew that singing was going to be my musical direction. 

At 15 I meet my first voice teacher Mrs.Julia Kinsell, to whom my first book "The Sound of the Soul"  was dedicated about 30 years ago.

Mrs. Kinsell was about 75 and I'm 15. 

In the middle of my lessons, I manically clammed my hands on my ears like this, Ryan, and said, "Stop! No, I don't want to do it like that. I hear it this way". 

And she allowed this bizarre behaviour from this 15-year-old punk. 

Because she knew something about me I didn't yet know. 

When I hear a voice, I hear who you are. I call it "perfect pitch". I can't any longer really recognize D from D flat, but when I hear a voice it's a complete imprint. 

And her lack of dogma allowed me to carve out a fundamentally new way in understanding voice and communication, which today is trademarked and copyrighted around the world. 

But it all began way back then. Then just to cap it all off, I took a master's in voice. I'm a classical singer by training, which will come into play when we speak about visceral language in a bit, perhaps. 

And that's my snapshot.

Ryan Foland: Well, I think that those snippets of your audio recorded life, it almost seems like I'm thinking of the audio pitches up and down of what you would classically see as a recording.

You have these sort of peaks and valleys, you have these gaps in between, but you're on the same timeline and it has created what essentially has shaped the song of your entire life. 

ASJ: Are you a musician, Ryan?

Ryan Foland: No, actually — maybe. For me, I think of things in terms of other things, so if you say music and I start to think in musical terms, I start to relate in musical terms, so we're probably going to be talking about some relatable music stuff today.

ASJ: So then let's not use the term "gaps" yet let's use the concept of "space". 

Space has value. 

A song without a rest is not the same piece of music. 

In public speaking, for example, I teach us how not to pause: I teach us how to create space. 

When we pause, we hold our breath. When we create space we actually inhale, and it creates a bonding opportunity subliminally with our audience. 

Ryan Foland with Arthur Samuel Joseph - Quote on creating bonding opportunity - World of Speakers Podcast (Navy)_Powered by SpeakerHub

Ryan Foland: Interesting. 

My fourth TEDx Talk was on this concept of pause, and you've made me pause to think about a little bit. 

I'm curious if you're familiar with a recent international study. It was a linguistic study that was trying to pinpoint and measure and create data around this, we're not going to call it the gap, but the space between when I finish talking and you start talking. 

ASJ: In vocal awareness, Ryan, I am inside a storyline. So if I say, Ryan, "Sit at attention, please?"

Ryan Foland: Yes, sir. 

ASJ: And you notice you hold your breath.

Ryan Foland: Yes.

ASJ: Now, relax. 

And from three inches below your navel, literally with your hand, slowly and gracefully, pull a thread, slowly and gracefully, right up to the top of your head and embody a man of stature, feeling extraordinary about yourself. 

Ryan Foland: Why, yes, sir. 

ASJ: Just do it again, slowly and gracefully.

Ryan Foland: Now a question for you as I'm following, which direction am I pulling the string?

ASJ: From three inches below your navel right up to the middle of the top of your skull. 

Ryan Foland: Okay, so I'm aligning everything up along those lines, okay. 

ASJ: But the trigger is embodying a man of stature.

Ryan Foland: Okay, I will tell you: I looked up to the left a little bit, my shoulders dropped back slightly and for some reason I felt like my feet became more relaxed.

ASJ: But did you notice the very first thing your body did? 

Ryan Foland: Breathe. 

ASJ: That's right. 

Ryan Foland: I feel like I did take a breath, as I was taking an intake I was almost taking an inventory.

ASJ: That's right. Exactly, nicely put, Ryan, thank you. 

And so when we stand in front of people, we are being subliminally judged. As we present, we hold our breath. 

When we claim ourselves as individuals of stature, and the body's first impulse is to inhale. Then if I say to you, Ryan, take a nice deep breath. And exhale. 

And now, Ryan, please allow a slow, silent, loving breath that will take 5 seconds. Allow it slowly and lovingly. Deeper, deeper, deeper. And exhale. 

And the first time you noticed your chest rose, what also happened was your larynx and tongue constricted. 

The second time you noticed your intercostals, your rib cage expanded, is that correct?

Ryan Foland: Yes, the slow, loving breath did expand my chest.

ASJ: And conversely your larynx and tongue released tension. Now, what's really important here, I changed the words from ''take'' to ''allow''. ''Take'' to ''love'' and I return you to your primal breath. 

So by allowing a loving breath, it awakens us to the connection that that impulse never left my body. I simply do not use it. 

If people experienced vocal awareness, this is going to change the bell curve. 

Because it's going to change the way we communicate on every level in every language. I'm going to be in Hong Kong and in Beijing in a week and a half. 

And when I am teaching in Beijing, I'm still teaching Vocal Awareness and my simultaneous translation is in Mandarin, but because of the way I gesture with my body language and everything, it is going to slow the entire process down for everyone. 

Ryan Foland: It's going to create space which creates value, which brings us to awareness of could we call it our “Breath Inventory System”?

ASJ: Very nice. It makes us better listeners. 

We learn to pay attention on the outside, and listen deeply on the inside, and to both our inner voice and our outer voice.

We all tend rather to be self-conscious. 

But in vocal awareness, I am teaching us how to become “conscious of Self”. Capital S. 

We look up the root of the word spirit, "spiritus" in Latin means to breathe. 

Hebrew word "neshama" means both soul and breath. 

I don't want to motivate people, I want to inspire them, “Inspirare”, breathe into them. 

Ryan Foland with Arthur Samuel Joseph - Quote on being self-conscious - World of Speakers Podcast (Grey)_Powered by SpeakerHub 

Ryan Foland: So my question then is where might one start? 

Where might one go? 

And how can you convince them of what that they already don't know? 

So the first part of the question is where might one start, from a tactical basis of beginning to build a “breath inventory management system” to become more aware of their breath? That's the first. 

ASJ: That's what we did already today. 

That is first and foremost, claiming who we are.

Ryan Foland: Okay. 

ASJ: And you notice when you put yourself in stature, Ryan, and you allow the conscious, loving breath, your spaces internally and externally were instantly quieter. Is that correct?

Ryan Foland: Yes, and my feet got relaxed, too. Okay, so the second part of the question is what do we do with that?

ASJ: Let me answer that one, then I’ll put them together. 

And the second part is we write "stature" on a post-it, by the computer. 

We think about it before we walk in the meeting because the axiom is the meeting begins before we walk in the room. 

I'm teaching communication mastery, Ryan. 

To be in mastery, one has rituals, and those rituals always have a spiritual component. 

The performer waiting in the wings isn't just visiting with the stage manager, they're focused and centred-in on themselves. 

Ryan Foland with Arthur Samuel Joseph - Quote on being focused and centred-in - World of Speakers Podcast (Navy)_Powered by SpeakerHub

That athlete in competition isn't wondering if the coach or their teammates approve. They are in their work, but it's all set up with their understanding of mastery. 

So stature is preparation. It attunes us out of the white noise and centers us in what I call the deeper self. 

Ryan Foland: Question on that — I wrote down the word, well first of all I wrote down "stature" and I always have a post-it, so it's officially on my computer now. 

But you talked about this kind of awareness, and for me, I wrote down “meditation”, so some of the words that you're saying I almost think I could be totally parallel to creating that same space and awareness inside of your brain, but you're sort of bringing that down to your lung capacity. 

Is that correct?

ASJ: I have a deep spiritual practice. I haven't missed a day of meditation for over 50 years.

And my point is whether we study yoga or we meditate, we do whatever our own spiritual process is, then we go about our day. 

And we go to church or temple or synagogue and then we go out, we get in the car and we honk and we flip somebody off. 

Ryan Foland: Right, tapping into the overall pain body of the world.

ASJ: But in vocal awareness there is no “off switch”. 

So my breath, when we do vocal warm-ups [long yawning sound] for example, I just did that gnarly sound with two finger tips barely under my tongue, driving a nasal sound on the sound of ha, right through the edge an arc of sound.

I have my conscious living breath - CLB, and then I'd find the hub of my voice which is a modest version of that yawn-sigh sound and I do and [long “moo” sound] with my lips gently together very nasally, expelling a little bit of air up my nostrils first with my finger nail right on the edge of my top lip as a focal point like a dancer’s spot when they do turns and then I'm ready to walk in the room. 

So what I'm sharing with you, Ryan, is we take what is normally locked in our spiritual process, at whatever time we do it and whenever and wherever we do it. 

But in vocal awareness, we learned to integrate this conscious awareness in everything we do.

In that conversation, in that powerpoint, in that keynote, in that conference call, on the date! 

Because it's all designed to help me, not present myself, but embody the seventh ritual of vocal awareness which I'd like you to write down for me please, Ryan — “Be myself”. 

Tell me when you've written it, please?

Ryan Foland: Done, sir. 

ASJ: Now you wrote two words, “be myself”. 

Write it as it's intended to be written, three words, the third word begins with a capital S.

Ryan Foland: It's funny because as I was initially writing it, and I was writing it fast, I had this inclination of, "Wait, is myself, yes, it's technically one word," so there's something weird that was going on in that transaction for you to then be like, "No, you are fine, your instincts of something fishy going on here it is sort of, yes." 

And I talk about being yourself and the value of that. Actually I have a book that I've written called "Ditch the Act, Reveal the Surprising Power of The Real You For Greater Success" and there's nothing more you than your voice

I think it's so under-utilized and I want to just jump quickly to the third part of that question before I lose it, because this is where I see it as value, how many people don't know that this is something they have the power to do? 

How do you get them to see it or to believe it? 

ASJ: The mastery lies in the subtlety, so earlier when I said I'm inside the conversation, people will say, "Take a deep breath, relax." Horse pucky. 

I used to train Tony Robbins many years ago, and Tony would be further my seven rituals as pattern interrupts and he would say, "To create a new pattern you have to exaggerate behavior to break an old one." 

Tony Robbins quote

Well speech is habit. We never think about any of the arcane things that I drove down on. 

Sociologists have shared this bogus bit of knowledge for decades, being that the greatest fear in society is public speaking — nonsense!

The greatest fears in society are two fears — fear of abandonment and ownership of my power. 

We abandon ourselves when we wonder what others are thinking about us. 

I don't stand on that stage as a performer hoping you like me, that's disingenuous. 

I'm there to sing my art. 

Ryan Foland with Arthur Samuel Joseph - Quote on the greatest fear in society - World of Speakers Podcast (Grey)_Powered by SpeakerHub

The human being wants to be loved and stroked, there is no question. 

But the power of this work, Ryan, is the hubristic nature of it. 

When we own our voice we own our power. You notice that the seventh ritual does not say ''Present myself,'' it says, "Be my Self." 

Ryan Foland: Yes, and it is interesting how some of the best and most valuable information that we seek, I say we collectively, just those who are trying to perfect their craft or better connect or have a more successful career, I think a lot of times we look for shortcuts, we look for hacks, we look for things that are essentially a bridge to get across this moat that we can't seem to cross and this seems like my favorite type of advice and insight because it is hiding in plain sight, actually closer than plain sight, it's actually in your gut. 

So, from the practicality standpoint, do you believe that all people who essentially are not as conscious of their vocalization, do they all have the same set of tools to become aware and to leverage that?

ASJ: Absolutely.

And that's the point, I don't know if you've been to my website or not, but you see a lot of elite names on the website and recognize a lot of names, and from all walks of life. 

This is my 54th year since I created “Vocal Awareness”. 

And one of the things I love so much about my work is that whether you're the chairman of a corporation, an athlete, a Holocaust survivor, an octogenarian, I've literally taught deaf people to sing, wherever you come from whatever your walk of life, we all process this work the same. 

Because it is part of the human condition. And it doesn't matter what part of the world I'm in, it all processes the same. 

Ryan Foland: Which is a fascinating piece of technology that we have that we're just not aware of, or we're looking somewhere else for it.

And I think that it's that much more powerful because of it. 

I'm a big fan of simplicity and I really believe that successful people are not doing things that others cannot do; successful people are doing what everyone can do but not everyone does. 

And creating a ritual, I want to say “awareness + ritual” in like a combo like rit-bitual or something. 

ASJ: That's cool.

Ryan Foland: But it's like, there are so many people that if they could just, I'm a believer that if you can focus on leveling up your communication, then your world will change because so much of your interaction is with that. 

Let's say that somebody listening is like, "I get it, I've got this inherent technology to do it. Good,. I can understand the process and the mechanics and go through these rituals, and I'm going to share with everybody towards the end, we've got a special offer for people to have that technology. 

But my question then is, I still know people that have the technology, they understand how to use it but they don't necessarily know how it applies to move the needle. 

So from a business speaking perspective, understanding that mastering communication has to be part of your craft, do you see this mastery in consciousness of the way you vocalize as a channel to create a frequency so people see you who for who you are and that you are there?

ASJ: Absolutely. 

We're used to the concept of “presentation”, we've been told that every public encounter is a presentation. It's not. 

It is performance. Because someone is watching or listening. We look up the root of the word present in the back in the glossary in my last book, and it says, "To introduce formally, to bring before the public". We look up the root of the word "perform" it means to carry out, fulfill, to do. 

The simple point is that a performance helps us embody who we are, a presentation is disingenuous because we're presenting subliminally for approval. 

Ryan Foland with Arthur Samuel Joseph - Quote on owning your voice - World of Speakers Podcast (Blue)_Powered by SpeakerHub  

I want us to own our voice. Own our power. But every great performer—from an athlete to a musician to a singer, a dancer—rehearses. They practice. So my clients practice. 

How much work it takes to be ourselves while others watch is the axiom for the day. 

We don't just show up and throw some slides up on the screen, we've practiced this, we're ready for it. Because I want to embody the best me possible.

Ryan Foland: And that me was underlined. 

So if you underline or are listening to this, in the show notes you will find the affiliate link, and this is, I believe, one of the, I'm going to say treasure map. Treasure map, because I'm somewhat of a pirate. I sail the 7 seas when I'm not speaking.

It, for me, it's something that has been around since the history of time, it's got burnt edges on it and it's rolled in a scroll and you can see these dotted lines to find the X. 

And a treasure map only works if you follow it. And it's funny because people have maps in their gut that they just are not taking advantage of. 

This is so refreshing, as you notice I'm taking more time to consciously think about the words that I'm underlining, that people are looking for how to build their speaking business. 

People are looking for tips to become a better speaker. 

Well, if you've listened for the last 45 minutes on the dot, you have all of that technology, you have the treasure map, all you have to do is find it, learn how to translate it, and then actually follow it. 

Wow, I like it.

ASJ: That was eloquent, thank you. I know we are a minute over your schedule. 

Ryan Foland: No, but we are right on the button right there, I'd like to be conscious of time and in the same way that I think it's important to be viscerally conscious about what you are spreeking. 

I think that it's important from a timing perspective to know when to stop so you create the space for the next step. 

And really the next step for somebody who's listening is to actually sit down and find their stature, to write down on a post-it note like I have here, to think of the words you write as a score for music just missing the notes. 

And I love above all else to be my Self (with a capital S underlined), putting the emphasis where it should be, because I think the quicker we are to realize who we are, and the more comfortable we are with that, the less we're concerned with what others are thinking, therefore, it creates a better flow of information of what you're trying to actually communicate. 

We're going all meta here, look at us. 

ASJ: Thank you for today. I hope you had a meaningful time, Ryan. 

Ryan Foland: Well thank you for being such a pleasant guest on the show. 

And I for one know that I will take you up on this offer, and I'm curious to work through it, because I do feel like in my gut I have what I need, I just need somebody to help me transcribe and understand that treasure map. 

So mister—

ASJ: I am going to interrupt you one second, if you listen back to that 45 seconds, Ryan, it shows you were listening internally the entire time. 

And that's the beginnings of conscious awareness. Pay attention, deeper listening. 

Ryan Foland: Can we make the analogy like it's the little earplugs that a singer has so they can hear themselves as a feedback to make sure that they're on point?

ASJ: Why not? That's a monitor. 

Ryan Foland: Alright. So Arthur Joseph who is the monitor for your gut and your life, this has been fun. 

So definitely check out, especially if you are somebody that this resonated with then share it, like it, retweet it, comment on it, Facebook it, Instagram it, whatever you do with it.


Arthur, this has been a total pleasure. If you did have a place to point people, aside from the link, where would you like to have them connect with you online?

ASJ: They go to my website, and if they choose to want to reach out to me, my team forwards every email and I personally answer every email. 

There's a lot of wonderful, free content on the website, articles and some videos etc. My vision is to change the world through voice. 

And so I enlist, you're not into the human potential movement, I enlist everybody because I'm not a big believer in potential, I enlist everyone into the human achievement. 

I want us all to achieve to the best of our ability, whatever it is we set out to do. 

Ryan Foland: Period, circle around the period. Hard stop. 

Sir, this has been so much fun. All right, everybody out there, leave a review on this, share this, I'm telling you this is the kind of thing that will help you tap into and will help you master communication. 

Thanks, buddy, this has been great. We'll talk to you soon.

ASJ: God bless, thank you, Ryan.

Ryan Foland:  Alright, take care, buddy. 


A bit about World of Speakers

World of Speakers is  a bi-monthly podcast that helps people find their own voice, and teaches them how to use their voice to develop a speaking business. 

We cover topics like: what works versus what doesn't, ideas on how to give memorable presentations, speaking tips, and ideas on how to build a speaking business.

Connect with Arthur Samuel Joseph:

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