"Everybody has it within them to do amazing things and it comes down to how we communicate" - Deva Neely
For over two decades Deva Neely has been a Voice Specialist. Deva has worked her magic with people of all skill levels in the entertainment and corporate worlds. She is a former teacher turned Empowerment Coach. Deva gives back to the community through working with youth on leadership skills. When it comes to youth, Deva promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
Whether you're a child or business professional, Deva has created a platform for people to tell their stories and take back their power. Deva gives you the tools and opportunity to grow and learn in both your personal and professional life.
This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth. Are you thinking about selling your business? You have once chance to get it right and you better make it count. Learn how the Deep Wealth Experience helps you maximize enterprise value before selling. Master the same exit strategies we used to increase our company value 10X with our 9-figure exit.
Enjoy the interview!
SELECTED LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE
Deep Wealth LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE
Did you enjoy this episode of The Sell My Business Podcast?
Please leave a review. Reviews help me reach new listeners, grow the show, and continue to create content that you'll enjoy.
This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth.
Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count.
But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.
Our founders said "no" to a 7-figure offer and "yes" to a 9-figure offer less than two years later.
Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event.
After all, how can you master something you've never done before?
Are you leaving millions on the table?
Learn how the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our 9-step roadmap helps you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.
Enjoy the interview!
Steve Wells: [00:00:00] This is Steve Wells.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:00:01] And I'm Jeffrey Feldberg. Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast.
Steve Wells: [00:00:06] This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth. Are you a business owner who is wondering how to either grow your business, sell it, or both?
Or maybe in today's environment, you're wondering how to make your business pandemic proof. Visit deepwealth.com to find out how you can master the strategies to grow and extract the deep wealth from your business. Visit www.deepwealth.com.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:00:27] Welcome to episode 22 of The Sell My Business Podcast. For over two decades, Deva Neely has been a voice specialist. Deva has worked her magic with people of all skill levels in the entertainment and corporate worlds. She is a former teacher, turned empowerment coach. Deva also works with youth on leadership skills and promotes a mental health awareness.
Deva has created a platform for people to tell their stories and take back their power. Through her mastery of presentation. Deva has created a platform for people to tell their stories and take back their power. Through her mastery of presentation, deva gives you the tools and opportunity to grow and learn in both your personal and professional life.
Deva welcome. It's a pleasure to have you on the podcast. Now I have to give our listeners a full disclosure. I've known Deva for many, many years because Deva, when I first met her, started out with my two young daughters at that time as their piano teacher and later on as their vocal coach.
And we've had a wonderful professional relationship over the years. And so, you may be wondering what the heck is a piano teacher and vocal coach doing on The Sell My Business Podcast. And Deva I know you and I had a good chuckle when I approached you to come on to the podcast.
The reality is for business owners, when you go to sell your business, you have one chance to get it right. And as I like to say, you better make account, but here's the thing when it comes to your buyer, they're making a first impression on you within the first few seconds.
I don't care how good of a business that you think you may have or what kind of service you have or your customers. The buyer is buying into you as the business owner. And if you don't know how to present, both yourself and the company, how you talk with your, your voice and your expression and your tonality is not quite right for the buyer, unfortunately, your valuation is at the best case scenario, you're going to be penalized and worst case scenario you may not have a deal that even happens. Enter Deva, who is a voice specialist and that youth empowerment coach.
And we're going to talk about that today, but this is Deva's life. And the takeaway here as we go through the interview is to listen in on how you can properly talk and present and tell the world how great you are in a way that resonates with everyone. But Deva, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Let's take a step back. And why don't you tell our listeners about you and your background and how you got to where you are today?
Deva Neely: [00:03:01] Yeah, absolutely. well, I'm a voice specialist and I have been in the business for decades. And I went to school to be a performer. I went to university and specialized at a theater school. And so, I learned all the tricks of the trade that I needed to become a performer and life has taken me on some interesting journeys and much of my degree has been in how the voice works.
And not just in performance, because there's a lot that we can learn from how we use our voice in everyday life. It's how we communicate. It's great to know for business. It's great to know for relationships. And so, I have found myself in many different facets using what I know for things outside of the performance field.
And it translates so, well. Never have I been more excited to have my degree in acting. but I went through doing all the things when I got out of university to, stay afloat and I ended becoming a teacher because I love working with kids. That's where my voice specialty really came into play.
I've always been a singer and I was able to train and coach others to do the same. And it's just grown from there and so, many facets. So, I work with vocal health for companies and I help them be proactive in those kinds of companies that speaking is part of what they do to make sure that there's maintenance and wellbeing.
So, people can keep doing what they're doing, like teachers, for instance, they're high up there in vocal damage. And so, I work many different areas where the voice is concerned, which is why it's just easier to call myself a voice specialist.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:04:50] Well, Deva, I think that's brilliant. And if memory serves, I think it was William Shakespeare that said all the world's a stage. And from that perspective, whether it's business or personal or anything else in between people judge us, not only by how we look by how we sound. And I remember I was reading this study that was saying It's how you say those words and how they come across to people. So, I'm wondering from life stage to the acting stage that you've been on to everything else in between, how has that changed for you now that you've mastered what I like to say, the art and science of using your voice and presentation skills properly.
Deva Neely: [00:05:27] Well, really everybody has it within them to do amazing things and it comes down to how we communicate. And when people understand that they just need to trust their instincts and with some techniques and some skills to learn that they can go out and achieve almost anything. I can't tell you the number of times I have laughed because people would say, what are you getting a degree in acting for?
What's that going to give you? Let me tell you it works in life. Everything I have ever done; I have been grateful for the background in what I do.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:06:04] That's wonderful. Since we're not seeing each other in person, I would imagine that we're paying even closer attention to how we sound and how we're presenting ourselves online in the live sessions that everyone's in. So, why don't we start at the beginning? Imagine you're a business owner, you know, you're going to be selling your company. You're going to be having these high-powered meetings with buyers in what's the most important decision that you'll make in your professional career. To sell your company.
So, there's a lot at stake, a lot of money on the line. Where would somebody begin Deva, in terms of training themselves to begin that process of sounding like a pro?
Deva Neely: [00:06:42] Absolutely. There's so, many things that can translate on video and some things you have to work a little harder at because in person we take social cues and that's harder to connect with on video. So, there's a lot of things that one can do to create that connection when it's done over a screen.
So, the one thing I always tell people is when we're on video, we tend not to look at the camera. We look at the person we're talking to. What I do when I'm wanting people to feel that connection is I put a picture or a little sticker up where my camera is and that's who I have to look at to talk to.
So, then I'm actually physically seeing something on my screen that is reminding me who my audience is. So, that can look like a sticker or that can actually be a picture of the person because when you look directly into the camera, it's like making eye contact.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:07:43] That is brilliant. So, you're taking a picture maybe printing out a picture of the person. And if I understand you correctly, you're taping it to the camera and it's so, true. I've caught myself looking at my monitor instead of at the camera itself. So, the picture there is the mental cue for you, hey, look at me over here. Not over there. So, in your experience, Deva, as an actor and working in the corporate world, , what does eye contact do for you?
What's been your experience and some of the research if you have that behind it?
Deva Neely: [00:08:13] When you make eye contact with someone you're talking to, they feel validated. They feel like they are important to you because you were making the effort to connect with them. We always feel uncomfortable when someone doesn't make eye contact with us. So, whenever I'm talking to people, in any kind of business where they have clients, customers, it's always important to look them in the eye and make that connection because everybody wears an invisible sign that says, make me feel special.
So, when you, you make that effort to make that connection and really look at somebody, then you're acknowledging that invisible sign and they will automatically feel that they need to be engaged because you are looking directly at them or they feel that you are.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:09:03] Makes a lot of sense. And while we're on the topic in terms of looking at the camera, which is as much a visual cue as anything else, let's stay on that for just a moment. And so, in this new era of these video meetings that everyone is having, many people are just applauding because it's casual dress and maybe casual dress is an understatement with what we see some people wearing, but this is still a presentation.
I've been in some situations where people are wearing everything from a shirt and tie to a suit to tracksuit. And I pick up some discomfort at either extreme from people when they're seeing someone who's too dressed up or someone who's underdressed.
So, what do you recommend now for our business owner perhaps who are going to be speaking to an investment banker, or even with some potential buyers, what's the proper kind of attire to be wearing?
Deva Neely: [00:09:56] I would say anything that you would wear face to face with the person. Because you are creating the image, you are the image of your company. So, how you want it to be viewed should be how you are dressing. So, are you going to wear pajamas to meet with potential clients? Unlikely. Are you going to dress in a tuxedo to meet with potential clients?
Not likely. So, you want it something that's going to make you feel confident because that is going to be portrayed in your voice. If you feel schlumpy, let's say then that's also going to come across and it's going to come across like, it really doesn't matter to you and that you don't care and who's going to want to buy your business if you don't care about it?
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:10:41] Makes a lot of sense. For our listeners, you can't see my screen because this is an audio podcast, but Deva, as I look at you in the video, I'm seeing you straight on. I have a terrific camera angle of you, and it's done professionally, which unfortunately is not the case with most people. So, tell us, as we round out this one part of visually presenting yourself in a way that's going need to impress and have people build trust and confidence in you.
What should someone be doing in terms of the camera set up, their environment, the room of what that's going to look like for the other party at the other end?
Deva Neely: [00:11:18] That's a great point. You need to find somewhere in your home that looks inviting. So, for some people, maybe that's your bathroom. Nobody's going to know, but if the background behind your screen looks nice and frames you nicely, then that's all that matters. So, you want to keep it simple. You don't want clutter. You want to make it look as professional as you can, even when you are in your home.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:11:43] Fair enough. So, you've talked about the environment itself. So, what about the actual viewpoint from the camera? I've seen so, many people out there where it's on a notebook computer that's on a desk that's much lower than theirs and you're looking up at their nose or it's just so, dark.
You can't see them. What should we be doing in terms of getting that picture-perfect view of us when we're in a video meeting and looking at the camera to the rest of the world?
Deva Neely: [00:12:09] Well, first I highly recommend some sort of lighting because you can't always guarantee natural light to light you up the way you want. And one day may be sunny another day may not. And you could be in shadow on that cloudy day. So, it's very easy to get a ring light and it's not very expensive. Easy enough to set up on your desk and to have that available, that just lights up your face so, that it can look warm and welcoming.
You can actually change the shades to cool or warm lighting. And it really does make a difference when you're on video, because if you're in shadow, it's a little disconcerting for people. It feels ominous. Whereas if you're lit up, it looks very friendly, warming, welcoming, and inviting.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:12:56] Business owners take note. And we talk a lot about this in the Deep Wealth Experience. A large part of selling your business is trust. In the world of mergers and acquisitions, the currency isn't money, it's trust and its trust with you and your investment banker and his trust with you and your future buyer.
So, listen up to what Deva is saying, if you don't have the right lighting on your face, something as simple as that, a potential buyer may walk away saying, you know what? I don't know if I can trust that person. Just something about that person. I can't put my finger on, but it, it didn't seem right. And it could just be a simple lighting fix.
Deva Neely: [00:13:32] Absolutely. I'd also recommend sitting forward or standing when you're talking with somebody because when we are sitting comfortably and sitting back in a chair our energy depletes. Whereas when you sit forward on a chair or you're standing, you're energized, and the disadvantage of having a video is we can't feel somebody's energy as much as we do in person.
You want to come across with this great energy on video and the best way to do that is to be a little over the top.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:14:08] Another great tip. All these tips are terrific in terms of how we present ourselves and we've covered off the basics. Let's now dive into your specialty in terms of how we talk with our voice, how we present and the overall emotion that we put into that. So, picture again, that you're speaking to a business owner, they're going to be going through a process of speaking to many, many people now remotely through a camera at this point, and maybe down the road, when things get a little closer to a business being sold, you'll meet people in person.
And hopefully the pandemic by then is a lot quieter than where we are at today. Where does someone start, Deva, as a business owner? What does that look like for me to be preparing myself?
Deva Neely: [00:14:49] First and foremost is trust. There has to be a relationship of trust. If somebody is wanting to purchase your business, they want to know that they're making the right decision. And so, in order to do that as a business owner, you want to be authentic, you want to be genuine and you want to be passionate about what your company is because most people will buy based on an emotional connection versus on logic.
And so, when we can create something very natural and we can create those relationships with who we're having conversations with then you are more likely to increase your value to increase the perception of your company by the energy and the passion that you're putting into it. So, in how you do that is how you speak.
tell people you want to be rehearsed, but not rehearsed, which I know sounds like an oxymoron. You want to know enough of what you're selling but to be natural coming from you. So, if we were to sit here talk like you're reading it off a cue card and that this is great because all of a sudden, there's this monotonous vocal sound. Whereas people getting engaged because we want to create what I call the ocean voice. It's that ebb and flow of that tide coming in. You want it something to be so, exciting and then you pull it back and create some intensity or something that makes them go, Ooh, this must be important. And, you feel your audience moving closer and wanting to know more and those aha. Oh yes. Okay. I get that and sitting back and understanding. So, that's why I call it the ebb and flow. So, it's all in how you inflect your voice in your presentation.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:16:49] Deva, that's amazing. And for our listeners, I don't know about you, but as Deva was doing that, I found myself moving closer towards the camera. Yeah. Even though you're not even in front of me. And when you were just going a little bit quieter and you change your tonality. Now my ears are perking up and Oh, what is she going to say?
And I'm listening and waiting off of every word that you saying. Can we clone you and just put you out there for all of our business owners and help them on their exit? That is amazing.
Deva Neely: [00:17:16] You know what, its little things people don't think about. And that's what makes the difference.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:17:20] You didn't learn that overnight. And I imagine somebody who is listening to you and saying, yes, I'm going to be just like Deva and go out there and try and do that. It may not happen on the first try. So, outside of having you as a coach, what can someone does right now after listening to this podcast?
I'm a big believer that when you have an idea, you have to take immediate action before you leave the scene. So, someone's leaving this podcast. Yes. I'm going to be like Deva. I'm going to be able to present and talk like her. And it's going to do amazing things for myself. My business, my valuation. What does someone do to start getting that tonality and the ability to draw people in?
Deva Neely: [00:17:59] Play with your voice and it sounds silly, but sometimes I'll stand in front of the mirror and I'll try things and I'll look at what do I look like while I'm doing this? And does it look authentic? Am I sounding and being authentic? And that's what actors do when they're doing their lines.
Yes. I will go to the grocery store. Yes. I’ll, go to the grocery store. And we play with these inflections to see what is our subtext, what are we trying to say without saying? So, the more you play around with it, you start feeling out the versatility of your voice. And then start doing it as a test, a challenge, pick up a banana and see if you can get somebody to eat the banana because there's nothing else in the world that is better than that banana at that time.
And see if you can convince somebody else to take that banana because you've made a convincing argument about it.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:19:00] One of the things that we say, and we are also share in the Deep Wealth Experience is that selling a business is as much art as it is science and Deva, everything that we're talking about right now is definitely on the art side. It's not necessarily intuitive, but it's so, critical to the process. Now you said something earlier that is obviously true in your world, but it's also true in the mergers and acquisitions world.
And that is that we make a decision not based on logic, but based on emotion. And at Deep Wealth. I know on my own exit, I personally experienced that when the exit was done and the valuations were put in, it was amazing because the value for the business that we ultimately ended up getting, it exceeded all the expectations that the investment bankers had, because I know from my own experience, people also buy on emotions and then justify it with logic later.
And so, if we tie this together with what you were saying, that people buy on emotion and they do it with logic later, and that you have to get people to trust you. I imagine it's a situation where if you get somebody excited about what you you're doing in your business, through your voice, you have somebody who trusts you both in the, how you look when you're presenting yourself virtually and how you sound and how you come across.
You now have hit the sweet spot where the trust kicks in with the emotion. And a business owner can get the valuation to an even higher level than before. So, here's the question. So, when the valuation gets higher and you've put all these things into practice, Deva, that's terrific. But I know our listeners are saying, okay, I can stand in front of the mirror and make fun of myself and look crazy and say all these things, but there's got to be more to it.
So, how do you start? Where would you go for something like this to begin that process of essentially retraining yourself?
Deva Neely: [00:20:57] You can do it yourself. Most certainly. But the best thing I always say is get a coach. We find coaches and mentors and people in anything that we do, because if we want to get better at something, we need the help of somebody else who can look at it from an outside perspective.
When you have somebody watching what you're doing and listening to your presentation and they can call you on stuff that you don't see, because you've said it 800 times, or, it's just normal practice for you. But from an outside perspective, they're saying, Hmm, You sounded a little condescending in this, or, you sound arrogant, you might want to pull that back.
I'm just pulling those out as an example. but sometimes we need that outside ear or presence to be able to say, let's dial it back and let's think about whatever needs attention. Do they have a clear idea of who that person is that's going to buy their business because those are the people you want to talk to?
Then you are going to cater to that kind of vocabulary, that kind of cadence. Whereas if somebody is more corporate structured and by the book, everything that you choose in your presentation is going to look different.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:22:15] Some terrific points there. And I absolutely agree that as business owners, we have more things to do than time itself. And I suppose anybody can go and do some research on how to do this, but you're going to be spending countless hours trying to do it on your own. Whereas somebody like yourself, Deva, you've spent your entire life honing in on these skills, to hire somebody like yourself as a coach to help take things to the next level. To me that that's a no brainer. And I hope for our listeners it's something that you're going to consider because Deva you're absolutely right over time. As we internalize some of the mistakes that we're making, that we don't even know that they're mistakes, ignorance is not bliss and ignorance is not bliss, especially when selling your company.
So, Deva, you mentioned a word, a few moments back cadence. And I know in my own experience that the best of the best presenters when they're doing it well, they get the audience into an almost trance state, or maybe it's even a trans and is done through the cadence. So, for our listeners out there who aren't familiar with this concept, or even what it is, walk us through step by step number one, what is cadence, and how does it have that effect on us? And then how do we develop that skill? Because it is a skill that we can do the same for ourselves, with whomever we're speaking to.
Deva Neely: [00:23:38] Absolutely. Well, we've all heard speakers in many varied ways and some speak very quickly. And we have to listen really hard because we're catching maybe every third word, because they're going so, quickly. And then there's others who are so, slow and monotonous. That you're trying to stay awake, listening to them.
So, cadence is something that you want to hone in on because you want to be somewhere in there middle of that. So, it's about your speed. It's about your diction. It's about your projection, it's all of those things encompassing. And one thing I always do tell all my students is that there is power in a pause.
Because when we pause, people are waiting for what's coming next. And sometimes you have to create those pauses because a little bit of discomfort, it's a build, it's a rise of excitement and then boom, you've come back and you've landed something in front of them. So, some true magic in what you can do with your cadence and how you are speaking by adding in pauses, by adding in inflection, by adding all those things.
So, your cadence is the rhythm in which you're speaking.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:25:05] I love that pause that you did there. You just, once again, I was just being drawn in saying, okay, what's coming next. And you feel a little bit of that tension. And as it's rising, boom, you just you're right back in there continuing very, very effective. And you're teaching me along the way, which is terrific.
We live in a multicultural world and now more than ever with technology, all of us are having the ability of interacting with people from different countries. And I imagine that there's some business owners who are saying, well, you know, Deva, all of this sounds great, but. I come from a different country and I have a heavy accent when it comes to English, no matter what I do, I'm not going to be good. Why bother trying? it's not, ever been a strength for me of speaking in English or having people follow what I say like that. I should just give up before I begin.
So, what do you say to someone who's in that situation or at least thinking that?
Deva Neely: [00:26:00] I say that's malarkey because we all have the ability to do this. Whether it's in our life’s language or not. Right. And I'd come from experience because I lived in Italy and I was asked to do a presentation in Italian only having lived there three weeks. And I did my presentation in Italian and I treated them it the same way I treat anything that I do. And I made the effort. I worked hard. Yes. I had to work harder than I did if I had to do a presentation in English, but it's not impossible. And so, what I do with people who have accents, who feel a low self-esteem in terms of speaking in front of people is I do some exercises to strengthen the jaw and the muscular makeup around your mouth so, that your diction can get better. I do something with a cork actually. A bottle of wine has to die in order for this exercise to work. And so, I use the cork. And in doing the exercise, you put the cork in your mouth, in between your teeth. And of course, I don't have a cork, but, and then you cry too, speak clearly with this in your mouth.
And I do it with anybody that I work with, whether English is a problem or not, but it's a great way to learn annunciation and to really be precise and clear. So, when you're working with somebody with an accent, then you're reworking the muscles so, that their English is a lot clearer when they are having to deliver in a language that is unfamiliar to them.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:27:49] And for our listeners who don't have the benefit like I do of seeing the picture of Deva, what you heard before was diva was putting something like a cork in her Melton talking and pretty darn well you were talking. It sounded great. So, what you're saying is we can exercise certain muscles that will make it easier for us to talk in a way that becomes clearer, whether you have an accent, or not.
I was one speaking to a presenter, and I want to say that he was Swiss and he definitely had a heavy accent. And he said, you know what, Jeffrey, the advantage of my accent is that you have to listen even harder to me than you would your fellow countrymen.
So, you're going to be paying closer attention to me. So, you know, with an, every perceived downside, there's also a definite upside.
Deva Neely: [00:28:36] I love that. Absolutely.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:28:37] So, diva for many people, the biggest fear in life is the fear of public speaking. And it's certainly in the genre of what we've been talking about, not necessarily what we've been specifically addressing, but you must come across people who come to you and say, Hey, I do want to be a terrific public speaker, but I feel scared or I don't have the confidence in myself to do this. How do you work with someone like that? And what advice do you have?
Deva Neely: [00:29:05] Well, again, I say it is never impossible and I know this because I've worked with people who said it wasn't possible and now, they do it for a living. So, it's about shifting your mindset. It's about taking something that causes you fear and reworking it into something that you can be passionate about.
But some the techniques that I teach people is we fear this broad audience. We fear all these people in a room listening to just us. But when you break it down, don't think about it as many people, think of it as one audience so, that it doesn't seem as overwhelming as saying 500 people or were 10,000 people.
You do baby steps but it takes practice. You can't go out there first time and expect to be Tony Robbins. It takes time to build up that rapport and build up that courage. So, the more that they can get out and do it, the better. So, you start off by hosting something with a few people and talking on a topic. And then you start building it to bigger audiences. When you do get into a place where you are in a venue and speaking live in front of an audience, there are tricks that you can do there too. Most times there's lights on you when you're speaking. So, it's very difficult to see the audience and people don't know that.
You don't have to be afraid. You can't see the majority of the audience. So, all you can see is the first couple of rows. And then that seems like nothing. And then other tricks you can look to the back of the room. What I used to do when I used to get scared or nervous before a singing competition, I would look at the tops of people's heads so, that I was looking just at the top of their forehead with enough distance. They can't tell, they think you're looking at them, but it was enough that I didn't have to make eye contact, but they felt like I was making eye contact or what I tell some of my students, find spots on the walls, around the room. And keep going to those spots so, that it looks like you're working the room, but you're looking for the exit sign, the clock, the door. And you're using those as pivot spots.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:31:25] That's some great advice on the preparation. Let's continue with that thought for just a moment. So, before you have a big presentation, I imagine you would want to prepare. Just like an athlete wouldn't go on the field for the first time, without warming up into a big game, a business owner is not going to walk into a presentation, a big presentation, when buyers are in the room and everything is on the line.
So, what can a business person do, a business owner specifically in terms of preparing. Before they go and they speak at an important event or in a venue or some important meeting?
Deva Neely: [00:31:58] Well, I always teach my students warmups and I am an advocate on vocal health. So, anytime you're doing any kind of speaking, you should be doing a warm up ahead of time. It can be very simple. You have to wake up the muscles in your face and you've got to get your breathing in check, and you've got to get all these things working for you.
So, I always attributed you wouldn't just go out the door and run a marathon. You stretch, you work up to it. You eat certain things the night before to prepare. It's the same thing when you're doing any kind of presentation, is that thought the process of, okay, I'm speaking in the morning. So, I'm going to cut out dairy tonight because I don't want to have the phlegm and the sticky mouth in the morning.
And you get up in the morning and you start warming up your voice in the shower because steam is best way to get your voice working. Also, it takes your voice four hours to actually wake up from the time you get up. So, if you wake up at 6:30 in the morning, don’t go and speak at an event at 7:00 AM because your voice just won't be there to support you.
You want to make sure that you give ample time to get it warmed up. I treat it like an instrument.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:33:18] Well, that's amazing. So, four hours for your voice to warm up. That's fascinating. So, if it takes four hours for your voice to warm up, let's go backwards now. So, let's imagine that let's just pick a random time. Let's say it's going to be 1:00 PM.
You have an important talk or meeting that you're presenting at. What are you doing the night before the morning of, and then going into that talk so, that your voice and your mindset is at the optimal peak performance level?
Deva Neely: [00:33:48] Absolutely. That's a great question. So, what I normally do is the night before I'll practice, I'll do whatever I want to do to make sure that I feel confident in whatever it is, my topic that I'm preparing, but I have a cutoff time.
Deva Neely: [00:34:04] So, at 8:00 PM, I put everything down and that's when I would rest my voice. So, I limit any talking I do, and then I prepare for bed. Try to get a good night's sleep because one thing that can really affect your voice is not sleeping well.
There are many things environmentally and it can pose a problem as well. So, get a good night's sleep. Wake up in the morning, do your routine. I always start to warm up in the shower because like I said, steam is really great for your voice.
So, I start doing vocal sizing. I make noises. I make all kinds of sounds. People would think I'm crazy. Everybody thinks I sing in the shower. I don't sing in the shower but, I do all kinds of lip rolls and things to get my muscles moving and my face. And then I go about, have my breakfast.
And then I do a proper vocal warmup before I go to whatever venue or online, if it's online. That vocal warmup is what will prepare me. I drink a, some kind of non-caffeinated tea or hot water with lemon and honey.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:35:11] Terrific. So, it's like the Olympics for voice. And so, now we have the inside track from the expert herself the Deva of diva for your voice, for how to warm up. So, Deva, as we start to wrap things up here, you spoken about the preparation, both in terms of how you present yourself, how you talk, what you have to do for your voice to have a warmed up. Let's circle back to you now.
So, you coach business people, and I also know offline you're sharing how you also coach young children, which is amazing in terms of the self-esteem that you can give them. Talk to us as a business person, if I'm interested to work with, what does that look like for you? And what kinds of things would you have me do?
Deva Neely: [00:35:52] If you're working one on one with me, then we would work on whatever it is that you are presenting. I would give you feedback. I would teach you the techniques and the skills that you would need to know to be in top form to do whatever it is your goal is. I also offer workshops or webinars where I work with people in small groups who are doing a presentation or are working towards something. And it's over a three-day period. So, the first day is a class where I give all the rundown of the things that they should know, the things that they need to think about implementing. I give them two days and they come back with whatever they're presentation is having worked on all the things we had worked on day one and day two is about presentation.
And as a group, then we are able to give feedback of what works, what doesn't. It's kind of like a mastermind in that everybody is going in with the same goal, let's say. And so, we're all offering feedback as to what works, what doesn't, and to make sure that somebody is totally prepared for whatever presentation it is they're going to give. And then the third day is wrapping up with questions or anything that people want to talk about in terms of moving forward in their speaking careers.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:37:08] Deva that's wonderful. In the Deep Wealth Experience, we highly leveraged. The mastermind for business owners to learn from each other about selling a business. I really like what I'm hearing, where you've put together a mastermind for the voice for presentation. And it's a masterclass where you lead people through that both individually and as a group which is terrific.
So, you can be literally anywhere in the world and have the opportunity to work with you.
Deva Neely: [00:37:36] Yes.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:37:37] And as we round things out, what would be some of the top three to five faux pas that people make when they're talking or presenting, because knowledge is power.
If you don't know what to look for, how do you know you're making that mistake? So, what would be some of the more common things that you see people do that hurt them when they're talking that they should be aware of and stop doing?
Deva Neely: [00:37:58] Speaking too quickly is usually number one because when nerves get involved, we tend to go out and want to get it over with as quickly as possible. And that's on a subconscious level. That's not even consciously. And so, everybody has done that at some point.
And it's something that when you are cognizant of it and you are aware that it’s there, you take a step back, make sure to breathe, make sure to do all the things that won't speed you up. Also, breath connection. And not a lot of people think about connecting breath and voice, but the irony is your voice doesn't work without breath.
So, when we don't have that connection made, which is why breathing exercises are part of my warmup, you can lose steam essentially in what you're doing. So, to really focus on your breath and your voice working together. And another is projection. People think that they're being loud enough, but they're not filling the space.
And so, one thing I always say to people is the people in the back spent the same amount of money as the people at the front. They want to hear what you have to say as well. We've got to speak to the whole room, not just those sitting close.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:39:13] Makes a lot of sense. So, let me ask you this, and I know Deva, offline, you'll send me all the links and the resources of how we can get to you and your website. I know you have a terrific video podcasts that you have going. But for our listeners out there who are on the go right now, where can someone find you online?
What's the best place?
Deva Neely: [00:39:34] I'm very present on Facebook and Instagram under my name, Deva Neely, and somebody could message me on either of those platforms for sure. And. my podcast is called Raise Your Voice. And it's on all the podcasts platforms as well as on YouTube. I do video and they can reach out to me on any of those platforms as well.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:39:57] That's terrific. And again, we'll put all of that for our listeners in the show notes. So, Deva, as we wrap things up here, I like to ask you the one question I ask every single guest on the podcast, and it's an answer that you can apply in the personal sense in the business sense, a little bit of both.
It's really whatever works for you because you've become a subject matter expert. You've mastered your art and we want to learn from that. So, looking at where you are today, with all the things that you've learned along your journey, if you could go back to your younger self and tell yourself one or two things, what would that be?
Deva Neely: [00:40:35] Don't give up on your dream because somebody tells you, you, you can't do it. And I find, and this is something I work with youth on is as adults, we plant these seeds of doubt in kids. We put posters up everywhere that say, you can do it. You can be anything, but the minute they say that they want to be an astronaut or they want to be an artist.
We say, you can't do that. Or you can't make a living doing that. Nobody makes money doing that. And we squish them and push them down. And we, plant these things that later blossom into these limiting beliefs. So, I would go back and tell myself, don't believe what they're telling you. Believe what's in your heart.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:41:20] Wow. That's powerful. And for our listeners, as you were saying that with your passion and all your vocal techniques, I was right there with you. I felt like I was right next to you. It just goes to show that we should be talking about things that we're passionate about and things that drive us. Well, Deva, this has been an absolute pleasure.
I know you're incredibly busy and truly appreciate your time. Thank you so, much for sharing your gems of wisdom for our business owners who can now go out and conquer the business world. I had the world with their voice. Thank you so, much
Deva Neely: [00:41:51] Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.