Ph.D. Louise Mahler says you have to analyze your audience and adapt accordingly if you want to communicate properly.
Do you sometimes feel you can’t express yourself? Pressure is probably suppressing your voice.
Dr. Louise Mahler used to be an opera singer. Now she is an executive coach who teaches people to express themselves in hostile situations. Owner of many diplomas awarded to outstanding candidates, Louise believes in the energy you release if you are passionate and you inspire others.
Her job is not easy, but that doesn’t diminish her drive. ‘What I do is a passion! It’s not a career. It’s a calling!’ No obstacle should bring you down if you feel you are meant to do something.
Tough circumstances often have a hidden psychological impact, even for leaders. Dr. Louise supports people in finding the right tone of voice. You have communicate fearlessly to be taken seriously and to get your message across. This particularly applies to people who need to take charge in their organization, family or group.
Did you lose your drive? Get back on track! Share the knowledge with your friends and spread the passion.
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Moustafa: Hello everyone and welcome back to Passion Sundays – the best way to end a week and start another! Our guest today was an opera singer and converted into a specialist that helps people be heard in hostile situations – Louise Mahler! How are you?
Louise: Good morning! Thank you!
Moustafa: It’s very exciting to have you here today. You have a very interesting twist on what you do in life and everything. So tell me more about how you went from an opera singer to hostile situation speaker.
Louise: As an opera singer, what happens is you end up coming on stage and you get paid to make sound in front of people. And if you don’t make sound, you don’t go on in the second act. What I’ve found when I came into business is that people were sitting around in board rooms, doing presentations, talking with clients and unable to make sound, though that is something that you should get away with. But no, it’s not. It’s completely curable. And very worthwhile working on.
Moustafa: I love that. So tell me more. Why did you choose helping people finding their voice in hostile situations? You could have said ‘just find your voice’.
Moustafa: Why did you go to the other extreme? From the most beautiful settings of opera into the most challenging as in hostile types of conversations.
Louise: The things is when you sing opera you come in and you make sound. But you’re making sound because you are paid to make sound. Where i was, at the Vienna State Opera, no one else wants you to be successful at that. They all want to go in and take your role. And people go ‘you’d better be brilliant, be beautiful. You’d better be all these things’. So this is just tremendous pressure and the expertise is to make sound, don’t just make sound, but make it under pressure. And to understand what causes us to devoice when the pressure rises. That’s my specialty. I see executives that don’t understand the psychology that they are under. They don’t understand the physical impact. And they don’t understand the psychological impact of not being able to get that sound out.
Moustafa: Wow, I love it! And all of this sounds so beautiful now that you’ve succeeded at it but I’m sure the journey was tough, especially when you were facing this hostile environment. Where do you find passion in those times?
Louise: Oh, how fascinating – the journey! You know, what I do is a passion! It’s not a career. It’s a calling! Who would do this if you wouldn’t wake up every day going ‘I am passionate’? You know, if I didn’t get paid for this, I would pull people off the street and I would wait for them. I am just passionate about people being devoiced, about people not being able to give themselves, and especially people as leaders, people in leadership positions, who have to lead others. I hear them doing things like vocal fry. They talk like this where there is no air coming out of their body or they do the voice of depression or they just do funny vocal tones and I just think ‘What are you thinking?’ because voice is a choice. And if voice is a choice, why would you choose that one? Not only for the impact that it has on other people, but for the impact it has on yourself. What does it do to yourself to not have air coming out of your body?
Moustafa: I see. I love that. The question is though how would you handle situations where let’s say, I face that sometimes, I’m going a little overpassionate about the surroundings that I’m in. Let’s say I’m going in a banking environment. Being so loud and so vocal and so expressive might actually cause a counter-effect. How do you coach on things like this?
Louise: Oh, there’s the issue, that the voice is a choice so once you have your voice out, then you choose how to use it. so just like in opera. You know, you choose quietness, you choose slow, you choose whatever it is that it’s the style. So it’s about analyzing your audience, being aware and then altering accordingly. Having said that, I think that often there is a great opportunity to take people higher. You know, why do we come down to the level of mediocrity? There is so many people doing it in their face-to-face communication. People say to me ‘You just can’t gesture in business’. Really? Really? Should we stop gesturing, which is an ancient form and helps get the air out. You know, when people sing, they say ‘I love you!’, they don’t go ‘I love you.’. You know, it’s ridiculous, we have to open our month, open our gesture so we have to lead people to some extent without frightening them to death.
Moustafa: I like that. Actually one of the questions that I ask on my passion discovery process is which topics make you expressive because that means there’s an overflow of energy. Your body needs to move so you can’t just hold it here, you need to be explosive with your body language. I mean for me it’s passion. When I’m talking about passion, that’s the biggest thing that I’ve got. So if you were not doing this, how would you have discovered that you’re meant to do this. Because you obviously started with singing and then ended up doing this. Do you believe you could have got to this without going through the singing route?
Louise: I have no question that if I hadn’t been going to the singing route, I would have been doing exactly what I’m doing today. It’s somehow, it seems to be a calling. And I would have done other things that would have led me to the same place because I would have been driven by it. And, you know, the word ‘inspire’ is from the verb ‘spirare’ and that’s ‘breathe’ and to inspire is to breathe it. In-spire. It’s not ‘I’m taking in myself’, no. You give it to other people. You inspire them by getting air out of your body. So I’m all for people getting their diaphragm released, their mouth open, their arms open, their bodies moving and to work against people standing still, with no energy. It drives me nuts.
Moustafa: I love that. Amazing! Louise, thank you very much for this inspiration, breath of fresh air and passion
Louise: Thank you!
Moustafa: Stay passionate!
Moustafa and Louise: Passion!
Moustafa: What do you think? I would really love to know your opinion. If you found this interview as operatic and as inspiring as I did, do share your comments on the blog below and do share it with your friends. And if you’d like more tools, tips, techniques and exclusive interviews that I only share on my website – go to Moustafa.com. Until next episode – live passionately!