As a voice expert, Laura Baxter has been working with speakers on the development of their voice for over 30 years. She has served on the voice faculty at Duke University in the USA, and the Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen, Germany, since 1999. In addition, as classical singer and speaker, she is constantly looking for ways to improve vocal training which will lead to faster and healthier results for her clients and students.
Laura’s speaker journey began in graduate school while she worked on her master’s degree. She had a teaching assistantship for which she taught Music History to classes of roughly 120 students and voice and body language to singers. So, speaking and training has been a part of her life for a very long time.
Her official speaking career, however, began in the mid 2000s when she was asked to give a talk on leadership, during which she used musical theatre to underscore examples of excellent leadership. Using this format, she then created her own lecture series to explore other leadership topics–like trust, motivation, and persuasion–in more detail, underscoring each example with songs out of musical theatre and opera.
A lot of people have inspired her journey with speaking, including those who asked her to do her very first performances. She believes that one of the most important aspects of being a speaker is being unique. Unlike with seminars or coachings, where it is common to get repeat contracts from the organiser, in the speaking world, organisers often don’t ask a speaker back for several years after giving a keynote. Therefore, it is important to have a strong network of speakers whom you can recommend and who can recommend you. International speaking associations are wonderful for this type of networking.
Since she joined the German Speaker’s Association in 2011, she says she has had the opportunity to take part in many international conferences. These offer excellent opportunities to network. She says that being involved in professional networks is so important in creating community and connecting with fellow speakers, clients, and fans.
Like all performers and speakers, the pandemic turned the live performance landscaped on its head. With live events off the table, she naturally had to let go of a lot of contracts, and the real obvious change for her was to move online. It was a only a matter of time until her customers welcomed and felt comfortable with his new online medium. Laura says it’s been a creative and fun year and she will continue to grow her seminars. She is currently recording her new podcast with C-Suite Radio, which will be about helping leaders find their voice–both figuratively and literally.
Although Covid changed a lot, she believes the connections and networking opportunities we have today are stronger as we can all benefit from banding together. Her tips for speakers today from are: ‘It’s about the audience – not about you’ – you must focus on them. Secondly, she encourages all speakers to have humility, and be mindful that you are not imposing yourself on others – be a good listener and you will learn a lot more.
At this year’s Innovation in Speaking (Un)Conference Laura will be showing us how modern technology can help us to improve our skills as speakers. You will learn which programs are available on the market and how they can help you improve all aspects of your speech in the fastest, most effective way possible.
In addition to mastering your skills she says we should be connecting to any and everyone who may be an asset to our work.
You don’t want to miss voice expert Laura Baxter in action. Get ready to learn about the future of AI in voice production and speaking with technology to become a better speaker and improve your business results.