I Got My Voice a Personal Trainer

I Got My Voice a Personal Trainer

I’ve never thought about getting vocal coaching for my work as a speaker and presenter….until I decided to narrate my own audiobook. As I prepared for the task, I realized that transitioning from storytelling as a writer to one as a speaker is a completely different game and would require developing new skill and, quite literally, new muscle.

As an entrepreneur, I believe it’s important to “keep in shape” for the work I’m called to do. For me, over the years this has included professional development in the form of leadership courses, assessment certifications, and coach training. When my audience began requesting that I produce an audiobook of my published print book, I thought, hmmm, I’m gonna need to work out for this one! So, I hired a vocal coach, and we got started!

Here’s what I learned:
  • How to prepare to read out loud for a long duration
  • How I say what I say is really important—like being intentional with tone, pacing, inflection, volume and varying all of that for interest and aligning mood and emotion of the content
  • Speaking well is a full-body experience
  • Proper mic etiquette
  • How critical it is to master my content so I can fully relax into my material with joy and ease, to give my listener the best experience

It was a hugely impactful experience! It made all the difference, both in being able to produce an audiobook product I’m proud of, as well as presenting speaking engagements that are compelling and effective.

And speaking of my audiobook, “Choosing Me: The Journey Home to My True Self,” you can grab your copy here on Audible or Amazon (paperback and Kindle versions also available).


Jeanie Duncan is an edge walking transformation partner helping individuals and organizations align with their values, discover their core purpose, and create meaningful impact in the world. Her avenues for doing this work are executive coaching, team coaching, keynote speaking, program facilitation, and organizational consulting. For more information, contact Jeanie here.

I Didn’t See This One Coming! —narrating an audiobook

I Didn’t See This One Coming! —narrating an audiobook

Wow! Talk about something I never thought I’d do — narrate an audiobook. But here I am, laying down final tracks turning my print version of—“Choosing Me: The Journey Home to My True Self”—into audio. It feels like such a huge accomplishment!

This project stretched me in so many ways. I mean, I thought writing a book was a huge process…but in some ways the audiobook challenged me even more. But, hey, my audience asked for it and my publisher recommended it, so I jumped in. And I’m really glad I did!

It turns out, the audience for audiobooks is greater than I initially realized. Through my own audience surveying, I learned that a lot of people like to enjoy books this way. Not being one of those myself, it was simply a new discovery. And for a memoir, it can be important for the author to be the storyteller. I began to face those things I’d have to overcome…

First, I had to believe I could do it. Until writing my book, the longest stretches of reading aloud were when I read bedtime storybooks to my young son. I was about to begin training for a new kind of marathon—it was both about going the distance and producing a top-quality result.

Then, there was getting over not liking the sound of my own voice. Can you relate? My publisher, editor, and coach helped assure me and give me confidence to step forward. It doesn’t hurt to be married your vocal coach 🙂 Thankfully, my wife Lyn brought a wealth of knowledge and experience and supported my journey.

I remember the day of our first coaching session. I told Lyn I was ready to read a section and get her feedback. She sat on a barstool in our kitchen, and I stood before her with my book on a music stand and began to read. Then, feeling so awkward, I stopped and made her turn her back to me, and started again. I made my way through a chapter and held my breath, nervously awaiting her response. I fully expected critical feedback from this pro…if graded, maybe a C. Much to my relief, she was only encouraging, giving me tips here and there and telling me to keep going. With every step, I developed this new muscle and began to think, “this is really happening!”

Next, I’m a writer—which for me also translates, I’m an introvert. My place of storytelling comfort and practice is with pen and pad, or a laptop…definitely NOT a microphone! For my whole life, when I’ve stood before a microphone, I get uncomfortable. All the years of church and school choir as a kid and public speaking as an adult have done little to calm my nerves and overcome my timidity. But I’ve kept going, nonetheless. I’ve learned that the only way to do the work, is to do the work.

For several weeks, I read my book out loud for an hour or two each day. My publisher advised that the key was to know the content so exceptionally well that I could focus on the quality of the delivery and enjoy it. The preparation paid off. In just four recording sessions plus a few revisions, I had my final audiobook product!

Of all the things I learned in this experience, nothing is more important than this: If my goal is to have an outstanding product or outcome, assembling an “A Team” is my #1 priority. I’m deeply grateful for these exceptional partners:


“Choosing Me: The Journey Home to My True Self” audiobook is available for purchase on Audible. Get your copies here!

Learning Agility and Embracing the Suck

Learning Agility and Embracing the Suck


“Embracing the suck” is part of the path to mastering anything new says social scientist, Brene Brown.

These days, my “new” is learning to write the stories of the amazing, courageous women I’ve interviewed for my book…I’m learning to be a storyteller, essentially. And it’s hard!

It’s hard because

  • I feel responsible for someone’s story. I want to write it in such a way that I honor and convey the core essence of their narrative. I want my reader to really see the women and their experience.
  • I’m so accustomed to business writing, which is all about keeping the message short, direct, and to the point. Storytelling requires me to develop a style of expounding, elaborating, and being more colorful and emotive in my writing.
  • I’m working to find the balance of staying focused and on point, yet sharing enough that my reader is drawn in, as if riding a wave beside my “character,” following the rise and fall of the story’s build, the peak, and the close.

The work is stretching and challenging me in new ways. The difficulty persists, but so do I. I show up even when I don’t feel creative. I make myself write – “just get words on the paper,” I tell myself, “and the flow will come.” I feel myself growing, not only in my ability to write the stories, but also in how I tell stories to others. I’m learning about the art and delivery.

This path, and sometimes anguish, of learning something new is what I refer to as The Learning Curve. I have the (ahem) joy of being in it right now!

The Learning Curve

Whenever we come up on a learning opportunity, we have a choice of two ways to go:

  1. We can decide to go for it, or
  2. We can choose to stay right where we are…“the comfort zone”

If we choose to go for it, we’re sure to have some new muscle building with a likely series of trying the new thing and failing. It’s like learning to ride a bike as a kid and taking the training wheels off for the first time. We’re gonna fall – probably over and over and over again. Attempting and failing is hard, it’s embarrassing, it…sucks. It makes us want to quit!

If we decide instead to stay the course of where we are, it’s easy. We’re comfortable. It feels good. In other words, we can “do it in our sleep.” But we also miss out on learning new things, opening up possibility, and even discovering something we might love or be really good at, that we had no idea of before.

Anytime I come up on something new – it could be a job opportunity, realizing I need to develop a skill, or fixing something in my house ­– I think about The Learning Curve and weigh my options: Do I really want to do this? Is it worth it? What’s the worst-case scenario?

Sometimes I decide not to take on the challenge, and I pass on the potential promotion, delegate the task, or call that plumber. That can feel really good – and necessary. But sometimes I decide to step up, stretch myself, and I go for it, I take the leap, I DIY it. And there’s a thrill in that too. Even though it brings pain with it, which it is certain to do!

What new thing are you learning these days? How’s it going?


Hi, I’m Jeanie Duncan. I work with individuals and organizations as a transformation partner to help them unlock their Truth, discover authentic value, and create meaningful impact in the world. I believe when we are truly aligned with our purpose, we can live and perform at our highest potential. With over 25 years of experience as an executive, CEO, consultant, coach, and writer, I offer strategic, knowledgeable, and experienced guidance for those who are ready to take the courageous leap toward true transformation.