Our classes pay very little attention to the mechanical, while at the same time zeroing in on feelings. I choose to consider the voice as a mechanical instrument. It has no brain. What a person feels is hopefully what they are able to truthfully convey by the use of their voice.
A person might ask for your help. Your reply is simple and to the point. “I’ll be delighted to help you” is your response. But my question is: Does your voice convey a convincing degree of genuineness? Does the listener get the idea that you really want to help, or are you merely going through the motions? What if the direction calls for you to show a little annoyance towards the guy who’s asking for the help? The words haven’t changed—just the direction. Your answer is still the same: “I’ll be delighted to help you.” Your genuine feeling of annoyance allows your voice to convey your attitude.
Take a moment or two to come up with a wide variety of attitude directions to apply towards the individual asking for your help. Here are a few general directions that can be cultivated while responding with the same words: “I’ll be delighted to help you.”
1. As a serious helper in a friend’s time of need
3. Hero to the rescue
4. Guy attempting to pick up a girl
Now a series of questions enter your mind:
The Five W’s And An H
Who am I? (The helper or the recipient?)
What will I use to provide the help?
Why do I want to help?
When will it take place? (Time of day, month, season?)
Where will it take place?
How will I, or can I, be the helper or recipient?
Certainly what I say next, will smack of know-it-all pomposity. But it will exemplify the signature that has been mine for most of the last thirty years. Not just living life to its fullest, but also taking the time to listen to all it offers me. Understanding a variety of meanings may appear to be a trick.
Character is a commodity that belongs to each of you. At Kalmenson & Kalmenson, we might point it out and attempt to help your cultivation, but usually, it’s a case of how a person was formed dictating their personality. Environment is the usual prompt for good or bad habits. So, too, it is the origin of speech patterns. Without becoming too fancy, or philosophical, social grace has to do with how a person conducts themselves within society’s accepted boundaries.
If you’re the person who is capable of being as natural a boor as the one who defeated the old lady in combat over who could enter a restaurant first, then perhaps your natural and most effective signature would be that of a tactless, ineffective, dolt. Is there a market for a voice that conveys your sort of social invective? The answer is “yes”. There are folks out there who are as creature-like as I had described earlier.
All of the above have nothing to do with what you might know as an expert or have acquired from your life’s experiences. It has to do with whether or not you’re willing to share your information, and what your attitude might be when you’re disseminating it. The need to have a grasp on social grace is your need to have a grasp and total knowledge of your signature as a person, as well as an actor.
If all of us could get an honest appraisal of what our signature truly is, we would all be well on the way toward discovering and developing meanings far greater than what we ever perceived possible. While truth is a treasure, it oftentimes becomes difficult to uncover. It is this fête of discovery, and revelation that embodies the Kalmenson Method.
How do you become enabled with the facility for recognizing and telling the truth while using another person’s words? At any given time, the content of the situation will be foreign to you. A place you have never been, a time of day that doesn’t suit you, talking to a person you have trouble identifying with—all while hailing the merits of a product that you may never have tried yourself.
Does truth ever change? I don’t think so. Things change. People change. Places change. How the truth is told (may) change. But substance rules when subjectivity is our only guide. We are in the arts. We live with the subjective form. All we have is our truthful sight of what we deem to be the gospel.
And the process continues…