045: Unleash Your Presence: Stepping Into the Power of Your Voice with Lauri Smith

Lauri Smith

Discover how you can unleash your presence and step into the power of your voice in this lively conversation on The Sensitive CEO Show with my guest this week, Lauri Smith.

Lauri is an intuitive public speaking and leadership coach. She helps visionaries on a soul-driven mission to stand in their power, speak their truth and Lead. Lauri is the CVO (Caring Visionary Officer) of Voice Matters and the author of Your Voice Matters: A Guide to Speaking Soulfully When It Counts. Her mission is to call forth more open-hearted leaders so they can do their part to change the world with authenticity, creativity and courage. She envisions a world in which everyone shares the vibration of their soul’s purpose with the world through their voices and together, we reach global harmony.

💝 Key Takeaways

  • The essential qualities or “must-haves” for visionary leadership.
  • How HSPs can embrace and harness our unique qualities to cultivate a powerful presence and confidently express ourselves through our voice.
  • Some tips and strategies that HSPs can use to develop our presence and communicate effectively.
  • How to navigate the challenges of public speaking and wearing protective masks yet still remain authentic.

🔗 Where You Can Find Lauri

Website: https://voice-matters.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/voice_matters_llc/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/voicemattersllc

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/everyvoicematters

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauri-smith-voice-matters/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh91RFKkYB7WF83p4_DG9Ug

🌹 Rose’s Resources

📖 (Imperfect) Transcript

We use Descript to provide this transcript which isn’t always perfect but wonderful all the same. (affiliate link 😃)

Rose: Hey, it’s Rose and welcome to another episode of the Sensitive CEO Show. And in this week’s episode, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Lauri Smith. Lauri is an intuitive public speaking and leadership coach, so welcome Lauri. Wonderful to talk with you today.

Lauri: Thank you so much for having me, Rose.

Rose: Before we dive in, I’d love you to share a little bit about what you do. I love your title that you mentioned in your bio, if you can share that with everyone.

Lauri: Absolutely. I use CVO – Caring Visionary Officer, in part inspired by when I did some branding and in part inspired by seeing Simon Sinek saying, we need visionary officers, not executive officers.

Rose: I love that. Love it. And who do you work with? What sort of people do you mainly coach and help with their speaking?

Lauri: I love to work with sensitive visionaries, ambitious empaths, and loving rebels. generally at a point in their life where they’re feeling called to share a message or share their magic in a bigger way in the world, and might have not, not been at the podium, so to speak, but now all of a sudden there’s a soul driven mission that’s calling them to speak more.

Rose: Perfect. Well, I think my audience is very aligned with what you’ve got to share with us today, so it’s perfect. So, I would love to ask you, what do you consider to be the essential qualities or must haves for visionary leadership?

Lauri: I feel like visionary leaders need to have a vision. They need to have an idea of what will make the world or their world or their company even better. So they’ve got a vision for that. Then they need to be able to move creatively from the present moment toward that vision and that’s different than just being resistant. There’s sort of an acceptance of what’s here in this present moment and being deeply present and connected with the world around us while also moving forward creatively toward the vision.

And then the final thing is they need to be able to communicate that vision in a way that inspires other people to join them on the quest toward making it a reality.

Rose: How can sensitives embrace and harness their unique qualities to cultivate a powerful presence and to confidently express themselves through their voice?

Lauri: Yeah, I am an empath and a highly sensitive person, and at this stage in my life, I feel like we are magicians who can access our charisma. As leaders and speakers in some ways more easily. Once we learn how to harness those superpowers, then someone who isn’t as sensitive, so if part of what we want is to lead is to transform a crowd when we speak, that’s much easier to do when we can feel where the crowd is.

We can feel the emotions of one person or many people when we’re meeting with them. We can feel the energy in the space, the vibe in the room, and part of it is. Embracing it as a superpower. Part of it is not letting our own inner critics tell us that there’s something wrong with us because our, our hands are getting sweaty when we’re about to speak, or we feel a lot of energy coming at us from the crowd instead of trying to shut down and make that go away and pretend to be fine or all pull pulled together.

It’s about breathing through all of that sensation and almost becoming like an air conditioner that’s changing the energy in the room by expanding it outward instead of trying to suppress it and, and be fine.

Rose: Wow, I love that analogy of being an air conditioner. I can actually really envision that and just feel that power.

That’s a great, that’s a really great analogy. Can you share some practical strategies or exercises that HSPs can use to develop their presence and communicate effectively?

Lauri: Yeah, I’d love to share three words. It’s kind of my approach and, and each of the words, I’ll break down. And then people out there who are listening to this can then say the words in their mind when they’re getting ready to go speak, and it becomes like a mantra for people.

The three words are, intend, align, invite, and intend is about setting an intention for the emotion or the energy that we hope to create in the audience. And why that’s so powerful is if we don’t do that, it’s like the inner critics come in and take the wheel of us, and they’re focusing on what they don’t want to have happen.

Which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, where if we are focused on, I don’t wanna upset anybody, I don’t wanna bore anybody, I hope I don’t forget what I’m saying, then those things actually are what our attention is on, and it seems like they’re happening more. And then eventually they do happen more.

So if we’re focusing on, I want to create a feeling of hope in the room. Or I want a sense of awakening or people coming to life. Then we’re looking for that. And I’m gonna, I said intend, align, invite. I’m gonna talk about invite, like a bookend to intend. Once we’ve set the intention, then we start looking there, looking out at the faces and feeling the vibe in the room for signs of the shift from wherever they started toward.

More of that vibe happening moment by moment, word by word, breath by breath. That’s really helpful for the sensitive, the introverts, the highly sensitive people, because there’s a world of information out there that is for most of my clients, once they start looking for it, they see, oh, people sort of came in, shut down, and maybe even a little resistant.

And as soon as I started talking, they started shifting toward hope, awake, alive, and they see it and feel it, and then it becomes like a conversation. So even when we’re the one at the podium, we can also listen to the nonverbal half of the conversation happening out there.


And then the align is aligning our body, our breath, and our energy with our most expressive self. And, that’s where a lot of the physical changing the habits work is when I work with people. And the reason for that is that most of us have been raised in a world, especially if we’re sensitive in some way, where we were given messages consciously or unconsciously.

Like, don’t be too big. Don’t be too much. Don’t take up too much space or don’t be too emotional. So we end up with habits in our body that are habits of suppression when speaking instead of habits of expression. And we were all born crying where people could feel the hairs on their arms stand up on the other side of the house.

So it’s about relearning the kind of organic expression that we came in with as babies. And then connecting that to the intentions so that it feels safe and easier for us to do that than it did potentially in, in high school when somebody said, you’re too emotional.

Rose: Yeah. I love that. And I love, I love going back to being a baby because they have no inhibitions and how can you, Well, what are some say, physical exercises people can do to get back into that?

I guess that self, that authentic little baby.

Lauri: Yeah. I’ll do, I’ll share a warmup. This is from a friend of mine who’s a singing instructor that I stole from her because it was fun and simple. It’s called harmonica breathing. We imagine that we have a harmonica in our hand, and then the three fingers become like the teeth of the harmonica.

And we inhale.

We place the hand in between our upper and lower lip and inhale through the fingers, and then remove the hand and exhale on an s sound. the mic may not pick this up very well, but like a hissing snake.

Starting with an S and then moving to a Z sound like a buzzing bee, Z, and then get rid of the harmonica and start inhaling through the mouth and doing the Z sound. And then maybe moving to an M sound from yoga. And then eventually talking. And what that does is it helps remind the body of all the space that we can take in the air by slowing it down with the hand harmonica, and then eventually, once we’re reminded of everywhere that the air can go, we’ve got the rhythm of take air in.

And then send sound back instead of take air in, suppress and try to muscle the sound over there. It’s mostly for the breath and in yoga, the s sound. Is the, the pranayama, the breath and sound that you make to connect to the root chakra. . So in the middle of, oh, I’m gonna go on stage and there’s gonna be my stuff and my nerves, and everybody else’s stuff, it’s a simple way to get the air flowing, and it’s also connecting to the root chakra so that it’s grounding physically at the same time.

Rose: Wow, powerful. I’m gonna have to replay this and listen to all this again cause I love that exercise. And how, how regularly would you recommend people do it Lauri?

Lauri: When people are first getting started, I usually ask them to do it for two minutes a day. So the S the Z, the Z without the hand, and then the om two minutes every day for seven days to kind of feel what it does.

Then when, when you’ve kind of gotten the rhythm of it. It’s anytime you’re gonna speak something that matters to you. So well, my one-on-one clients matter to me, and I’ll be honest, I don’t do that before my one-on-one clients, unless I’m gonna have a day back to back to back if I’m gonna go on a stage and speak, if I’m gonna record a podcast, if I’m gonna deliver a talk.

Even on Zoom, I do it kind of before those events that are heightened. Where I’m holding more people. I don’t always do it every day myself at this point. If I’ve got like three, one-on-one clients, I might not do it if I have five in a day. I might do it either at the beginning or if I’m noticing by lunchtime, I feel like my energy’s a little off.

I’ll do two minutes myself at that point, because it, it really is grounding and it also, I’m told the Z, this isn’t connected to yoga that I’m aware of, but clients all started saying that the S feels like they’re grounding and then the Z feels like the energy is act actually expanding outward. From that grounded place.

So I play with that in the middle of the day if I’m feeling like I need a little extra something, even with my one-on-one clients.

Rose: Love that exercise. Do you also practice some presencing exercises on top of that?

Lauri: I do. And I, I, when I’m working with clients in groups, I’ll do a grounding moment that’s, Kind of like a meditation, getting present feeling, feeling roots underneath our feet and our tailbone going down into the center of the earth, drawing nutrients up that support our expression, opening the heart.

So the body alignment is opening the heart more, and at first it’s kind of eyes closed and very internal when I lead people through it, and then eventually opening the eyes, making some sound, getting the breath going, and then expanding the energy out as if we’re hugging the room. . With an energetic set of arms so that everything is starting from presence and then the speaking comes from that place.

Rose: Beautiful. I love starting my, coaching sessions, whether they’re group or one-on-one with presencing. I think it just, it grounds everybody and just gets everyone away from the busyness of where they were before they came into the session as well.

Lauri: Yeah, yeah. Another one that I’d love to share cuz sensitive people may love this one once they get used to it, is to make a sound. Like, what? What are you feeling as you’re coming in today? Ah, or Woo, whatever the sound is, is a way of honoring what we’re coming in with. Without going into 10 minutes of story of what we’re coming in with, and it has a way of kind of moving through it and dropping in and getting present really quickly.

And it’s also warming up the voice when we do it. So it’s one of my favorite ways when I work in groups, we usually have to move a little bit toward it. Before people are comfortable making sounds first thing in a group, with what’s a word, a sound or a short phrase. And yet they’ll do it at home and then eventually they’ll start checking in with a sound is just trying to take everything that I’m bringing in and give you one word is a lot harder than, ah, okay, now I’m present.

Rose: And that’s such a nice succinct way of arriving as well, isn’t it? Rather than coming with lots of baggage or whatever.

Lauri: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rose: I really wanna talk about masks. I know that you’ve got a wonderful quiz on your web website, which I’ve taken, and it’s all about masks. So I know a lot of HSPs, or probably not just HSPs, struggle with wearing protective masks or putting on a facade in public speaking.

How can people navigate this challenge and still remain authentic?

Lauri: In a lot of ways setting an intention and then having the body, the breath and the energy aligned helps to release the mask. . and sometimes it’s, it’s easier if you, if you know you’ve got a mask and now you know you wanna release it.

So I’ll, I’ll talk about the one that is, my top mask at this time. it’s the one with everybody’s least favorite name and I can use it because I can, I kept the name because it started as mine. The name of the mask is the Deranged Mannequin. you know, I’ll do a little bit of it for you. It’s like my passion.

Plus an old story of I’m not enough. So I better work a million times as hard for this thing that I’m so passionate about, kind of come together. And then it’s as if my body hardens and everything in my body in, in the deranged mannequin. It’s like every single muscle in the body is working when I find myself trapped in it or when I see it on other clients.

And all that effort isn’t actually needed. And knowing, okay, it’s not the effort that’s engaging, it’s you, you are engaging, your passion is even engaging, and can you release some of the effort? And for a deranged mannequin or someone who wears the deranged mannequin mask to feel more like there’s a wave of energy that you’re riding.

Rather than like you’re working it. Finding a balance of effort and ease in the body and opening the heart. And usually when the heart opens and there’s a balance of effort and ease in the body, the deranged mannequin softens and sort of fades away. Another thing that works for almost all of the masks is if there’s something that you’re feeling in your face, or something that you’re feeling like trapped in your biceps or in your claw hands.

For my deranged mannequin, can you allow whatever that is to flow through your whole entire body? Instead of wherever it’s trapped on the face or in the biceps or in the hands. And then once it starts flowing through the whole body, it’s like the pores of the person’s face soften. And the way people look to me is that it’s like light bulbs on dimmers.

So I can always see it there. And when the mask melts away, the soul light bulb just becomes brighter and brighter and brighter to my mind when I’m looking at it.

Rose: Wow. How many masks are there in your quiz?

Lauri: There are five.

Rose: And I know what one of the other ones is because I’m, I did the quiz myself, and it’s the porcelain doll, which is what I came out as.

What are the other three?

Lauri: Yeah, there’s, I’m gonna go through the spectrum, deranged mannequin. Then the peppi pleaser is the next most effortful in the body. They often will have a protective smile and they might be spending a lot of energy being peppy, like they feel like they need to earn people’s attention and even love and affection rather than being in the place of, I deserve it and I’m kind and caring and I don’t need to put on a show to earn the affection.

So there’s often something where there was kind of a strength or a quality of the person that they got rewarded for, like being kind and caring that then got warped into peppy and smiling all the time.

The next one over is the jiving jokester.

It’s somebody who, when they’re speaking, they almost don’t feel comfortable unless the audience is laughing and. If, and for some people, if, if their highest goal is to entertain and they’re funny, that might be different. If it’s a mask, it’s somebody who actually wants to inspire or transform or teach.

And they’re stuck in always being funny, so they’re not having the full range of the impact that they could have. So it’s not about not making a joke. It’s about can you have serious deep moments? And the jokes, the whole range.

And the final one that we haven’t talked about is the heady hipster, which is, it’s the smart mask, it’s the, it’s one that I have also used. It’s not my top one, but I’ve gotten caught using it when I’m in a space where I feel like I need to be smart or I am somewhat smart and I really feel like sharing my heart is dangerous. Like there might even be someone in the room who said, you’re too emotional, or your emotions are too much.

So I can give you my intelligence instead. And keep the heart hidden behind it. And yeah, there’s, there’s gifts to every single one of them. And releasing the mask is like, bring that part of you back in and give yourself your whole range..

Rose: And I love the names that you’ve chosen for them as well.

Very inventive.

Lauri:  Thank you. Thank you.

Rose: Are there any final words? I’ve got lots of questions I wanna ask you, but I just wondered if there’s any final words you wanted to share with the audience before we start wrapping up Lauri?

Lauri: I always want for people to know, that if there are 7.9 billion different people on the planet, there are 7.9 billion different flavors of presence and flavors of charisma.

So be you, you are a unique and beautiful soul, and your voice is needed in the world.

Rose: I love that. That feels so, so aligned. Thank you. And I have one final question that I ask all of my guests. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

Lauri: Ooh. Stop and leave the room that I’m in a lot of the time, or do yoga in the room, like if I have enough time to drop and do yoga and kind of change the energy in the room with the yoga and if I catch it earlier, it might be a meditation or some of the sound.

It’s sort of, it depends on how far I have let it go. And if it’s really far where it’s like I’m stressed, my nervous system is really off, I’m in like high overwhelm, I’ve gotta do yoga or leave the space that I’m in and do a walk. It’s almost like a cleansing of my own body by shaking up the space I’m in or going to another space.

Rose: Beautiful. I love that. I love yoga. It’s my go-to as well. It’s such a powerful way, as well as walking or hiking is such, such powerful ways to, I guess, move the body and, move out of distress or overwhelm.

Lauri: Yeah. Yoga, hiking and walking are my absolute favorite forms of exercise at this state of my life.

When I was younger, I loved basketball. And my, like they’re spiritual zones and exercise zones. I have the exact same ones that you mentioned.

Rose: Yeah. Exactly like mine as well. Well, thank you so much, Lauri. It’s wonderful to talk with you today and thank you for sharing all of your wisdom. And I’m gonna pop all your links into the show notes and I, I think anyone who’s listening who’s interested in the quiz, and I really encourage you to check it out, and there’s a lot of.

Wonderful information in the report that Laurie sends as well, so I’ll pop the links below. Thank you again, Lauri. Wonderful to talk with you today.

Lauri: Thank you so much for having me.

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