The voice is our most powerful communication tool, but one that many people are afraid to use to it's full potential. It is Sally Prosser's mission empower people to take control and crack the confidence code using their voice.
Sally is a voice and public speaking coach with 12 years of experience in media, including TV and radio news reporting for channels 7,10, and the ABC, and PR – acting as spokesperson for one of Australia's largest water companies. She helps professionals and business owners speak with confidence - from stepping on stage to speaking on podcasts to showing up online and in the boardroom. As a Master NLP and Hypnosis Practitioner, Spiritual Life Coach, and Speech and Drama Teacher, Sally takes a holistic approach to voice – as an energetic channel affected by our physical, mental and emotional well-being.
She is also a TEDx Speaker coach helping thought leaders present their big idea with impact. In 2020 she was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year for PR & Media in Queensland and has a TikTok following of more than 340K.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about the path that led you to become a speaking coach?
I'm one of those perhaps unusual people who's always loved public speaking. Apparently, as a kid I spent my weekends practising speeches in front of the mirror using my hair brush as a microphone – if you follow me on TikTok (@sallyprosservoice) you'll see not much has changed! I was good at speech and drama, debating, public speaking comps and even spruiked outside shops (though selling $20 cardigans wasn't my forte!)
With my love of the microphone it's no surprise I went on to become a TV and Radio News Journalist - reporting for Australia's biggest networks including Ten, Seven and the ABC. In my late 20's I crossed to the other side of the media mic and acted as spokesperson for a major water company (yes, I was the glamour girl for things you should and shouldn't flush).
On the side, I always coached kids and other journalists on how to use their voice and speak with confidence. And in 2018 decided to leave my PR job to take this expertise full time. What started as a couple of students in the entrance way of my apartment (my current office was the AirBnB room and half-naked European men would often walk out mid-session – people really got more value than they paid for) has evolved into a transformational, heart-centred business that I'm incredibly proud of. Every day I have the privilege of helping people create impact in the world by finding their voice and speaking with confidence.
What was your time as a reporter like, and what made you decide to leave that behind and become a coach full-time?
I've always been a pretty curious person, so I loved telling stories as a journalist. It was a job that allowed you to meet such a variety of people and witness incredible things. You could spend the morning on a massive military aircraft and the afternoon looking at a woman's impressive tea pot collection! I really enjoyed the mentoring side of the job – helping other reporters shine – especially when I was in a producer role. And with my background in voice, I helped a lot of colleagues with their broadcast news voice, which became an official side-hustle (the beginnings of my business!)
Life events in 2014 prompted the move out of reporting. I was freelancing when my dad suddenly died. While I was taking time off, my shifts dried up – understandably (there are absolutely no hard feelings towards the network). With expensive rent and a grieving heart I took the opportunity for a consistent role in Public Relations. It was only ever meant to be a stop-gap until I got back on my feet and went back to news. However, I ended up loving my PR job – and that gave me the extra skills and confidence for me to take my business full time in 2018.
You have been a viral sensation on Tik Tok! How did that happen?
OMG, going viral on TikTok was a wild experience. On a Thursday night in February 2022 I posted a quick video about how to sound confident, competent and credible in one take – hoping a few of my 40 followers would see it.
I checked my phone an hour or so later and .. let's just say, I know what they mean about your phone blowing up. I didn't know whether to keep staring at it or throw it out the window. I called my boyfriend and was like 'babe, something's HAPPPENED!' He thought there'd been some kind of medical emergency, until I explained, 'the TikTok, it's going crazy.'
That one TikTok (which at last check was up to 1.9M views) made it to mainstream media, produced hundreds of enquiries into the business and kickstarted my big following.
The main lessons I took from this experience –
· You can't predict what will go viral, so just keep posting content.
· The more viral you go, the meaner the comments get. Learning to not care about the opinion of strangers on the internet is liberating.
· It's ok to change your mind. While that video helped a lot at the time, it's quite negative and I've evolved since then so wouldn't post it again today.
You take a holistic approach to voice work. Could you tell us a bit more about what that means?
Our voice is a complex energetic channel affected by our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The inner voice and physical voice can't be separated. When clients come to me to overcome their fear of speaking, the speaking itself is never the issue. Public speaking situations create a pressure point for existing traumas and beliefs to play out. So getting to the root cause of the belief and clearing that stuck emotion is needed.
The voice is also a great signaller for communication blockages across our life. For example, I had a client who was struggling with the volume of her voice and crafting the words for a corporate presentation. We dug deeper and she was feeling silenced in her marriage – that's where the work needed to be done. Another client hated her job and was lacking purpose and clarity – the content she was speaking about was never going to be engaging, because she was so disengaged from her own life. So our focus was finding her dharma, her purpose. This was the real work.
Taking a holistic approach ensures I see each client as a whole person and we get to the heart of what's going on to create lasting change. The modalities I use include NLP, Hypnosis, Cognitive Reframing, a whole lot of Frameworks and of course physical voice production exercises.
You speak about how true confidence comes from within and that speaking from your soul will create confidence. What do you mean by this?
"The human voice is the organ of the soul" – this quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow rings true.
If we are not in touch with our voice, we are not in touch with the organ of our soul. Building this relationship means clearing communication blocks, practicing boundary setting, speaking the truth and loving the sound of your voice – yep, not cringing when you hear it played back! Strengthening this relationship creates trust – trust with our soul voice. And the word confidence originates from the Latin – 'confidere', which means 'to have full trust.' So having confidence in yourself means trusting yourself. Nervous speakers often have their diaphragm locked up, and the voice isn't well supported by air. The diaphragm is the key breathing muscle and sits right in the solar plexus chakra – the seat of our self-esteem. So reconnecting with the diaphragm, for example, is one way to heal limiting beliefs around self-worth and speak from the soul.
We go through many more practical ways to do this in my course Speak from your Soul.
What is the most challenging part of being a speaking coach?
They say you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. I see so many people who want to live fuller lives, where they confidently express themselves and use their voice to share their message – whether that be to promote their business, be heard around a meeting table or just deliver a great wedding speech. Yet some people aren't ready to change. They're not willing to invest the effort, time and money into transforming their lives. Knowing you have the solution yet people aren't saying yes to the invitation can be challenging.
An Australian palliative care nurse who counselled many people in their dying days put together a book – The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. And the third top regret was I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. She wrote -"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. They settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
That breaks a speaking coach's heart!
What tips would you give to women using their voices in the workplace?
My top three voice tips for women in the workplace are –
1. Don't talk yourself out of talking!
Have you ever thought – should I or shouldn't I say something? And then by the time you've made up your mind, the moment has passed or someone has jumped in and said what you were thinking?! Use your voice! Share your opinion, your ideas, your LIGHT! And have the impact and influence you're meant to have. It's no good walking the walk, if you can't also talk the talk.
2. Speak from the Heart
Our voice can creep up into the high-pitched region of our head when we're trying to be friendly or feeling nervous. We want our voice to be connected to our power – our heart-space – so people don't just hear our voice, they feel it! So breathe low and deep and feel the vocal vibrations behind the walls of your chest. Speak from the heart – literally!
3. Finish your Phrases Strong
The rising inflection or upspeak at the end of complete phrases is a bad habit, as it signals to the listener that you're looking for a yes or no response. I like to call it the inflection of validation. So if you're sharing an opinion or idea where you don't want a 'yes/no' response from the audience, imagine the last word shoots out like a dart rather than slides up like a skate ramp!
How can we overcome our fear of public speaking to become to face of our business?
This is so important. In business you can have a killer strategy and a great offer, but if you lack the confidence to get out there and SPEAK about it, you are missing a golden opportunity to create trust, connection and loyalty with your community. A fear of public speaking is an invitation to address a deeper underlying fear – usually fears around being seen or heard or judged. Working with a coach to heal the root cause is most effective.
This is a lifelong process, so if you wait to not be scared, you'll never do anything! So feel the fear and do it anyway! Taking action is the best antidote to fear – as it's an emotion that breeds in indecision and procrastination. Just START. Post that TikTok, record that podcast, say YES to that panel event. The more familiar you become with speaking, the easier it gets, and the more 'fears' that come true the faster you can uplevel.
I remember having a TikTok go viral for all the wrong reasons. The comments were hateful and I spent a few sessions crying on my therapist's couch. I'm so glad it happened and I got the chance to work through it, because now I am even more free on social media and have released the shackles of worrying about what strangers on the internet think! The advice that got me through was to live life in a disco ball. You get to decide who comes to your party and who's attitude reflects right back at them. In the meantime, you keep on shining and keep on dancing!
You've been able to manifest your dream life using your voice. How could others do that?
Manifestation is about vibrating at the frequency of what you want – and your vocal vibrations can help get you there. We speak our reality into existence, so using your voice daily to literally call in what you want will change your life!
Try these four steps.
1. Write your manifestation like a story, rather than a list.
a. Use present tense (I AM not I want) and positive language (what you DO want not what you don't.)
2. Record it with vocal expression.
a. Immerse yourself in the feelings of the story and record it to your phone or computer.
3. Play it back often
a. Every morning and night.
4. Perform it like you mean it
a. Memorise the story and perform it around the house like a Shakespearean drama!
I've used this step process to call amazing things into my life including my dream relationship, multi-six figure income in the business and a new apartment.
What events or online workshops of yours should people attend in order to become a more confident speaker?
I'd love to help you become a more confident speaker! I offer self-paced online courses, group programs, in-person training, team workshops and private coaching, so please get in touch so I can recommend what's best for you.
A great starting point is my Pep Talks in Your Pocket, which are short audio tracks which talk you through calming your nerves, warming up your voice and ditching the self doubt before speaking. It's a free download you can access here - https://sallyprosser.mykajabi.com/pep-talks-in-your-pocket
How can people use their voices to create more buzz on their social media?
VIDEO! To stand out on social media and compete with posts written by AI, you need to get your face and voice on camera consistently. If you're worried about how you look or sound, find someone to help you work through these blocks, because it is worth it! One of my clients, Katie, was so self-conscious to show up on video. We worked through the mindset blocks and mapped out the content. In the 12 months since working together she has gone from 0 to 143 THOUSAND on Instagram. Her business blew up and she credits the success to showing up on camera! (@katiekaarsphotography). I'd also recommend voice noting in the DM's. It's more personal and creates better connection.
Where can people find you if they want to learn more tips on how to speak more confidently?
Catch me on TikTok, Facebook and Instagram @sallyprosservoice.
Connect with me on LinkedIn Or head to my website www.sallyprosser.com.au