This conversation features the charismatic Jessica Doyle-Mekkes, a woman on a mission to transform women's approach toward public speaking. Rooted in her background as a performer and the head of East Carolina University's Musical Theater program, Jessica's unique insights aid women in breaking through traditional communication barriers. Her engaging work showcases the critical connection between performance anxiety in the arts and public speaking, offering women much-needed tactics to overcome fears, boost their confidence, and amplify their voices without fail.
A seasoned performer and vocal coach, Jessica found a new passion in empowering women through their voices. Encouraged by the brilliant women in her life, Jessica embarked on a journey to help others articulate their needs and tackle tough conversations confidently. Her unique approach was shaped by her years of experience in the arts, her knowledge of voice research, and her work in combating performance anxiety. Jessica believes that the power of one's voice lies in muscular strength and proper hydration. Her emphasis on practical techniques like focusing on breath, maintaining abdominal flexibility, and preparing for different situations, has proved to be a real game-changer for many women, helping them reclaim their voice and use it more fearlessly. If you’re struggling with using your voice and looking for practical insights, this podcast is for you.
[02:38] Jessica’s journey and how she became an author
[07:32] The power of your voice ad how to train and use it
[13:05] How to address voice quivers
[16:57] Overcoming stage fright
[21:12] How to empower yourself when things don’t go right
[26:01] Habits of success
[31:47] Mentors, sponsors, and building strategic relationships
[35:39] Lightning round questions
“Your voice is something we all have.” – Jessica Doyle-Mekkes
“The voice itself is largely made up of skeletal muscle, the same muscle we work in the gym, and so it can be trained.” – Jessica Doyle-Mekkes
“Taking a pause or taking a breath is the ultimate opportunity to reset.” – Jessica Doyle-Mekkes
“Don’t burn bridges, ever.” – Jessica Doyle-Mekkes
What book has greatly influenced you?
“The New Science of Learning How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain” by Terry Doyle (my dad) and Todd Zakrajsek
What is your favorite inspiring quote or saying?
"I’m not good, I’m not nice, I’m just right." – Stephen Sondheim (Into the Woods)
“When opportunity knocks, answer the door, even if you’re in your bathrobe.” – Dolly Parton
What is one word or moniker you would use to describe yourself?
Appasionato (musical term that means passion)
What is one change you've implemented that made your life better?
Getting up early.
What power song would you want playing as you walk out onto a stage?
"Roar” by Katy Perry
Jessica Doyle-Mekkes is the Head of Musical Theatre at East Carolina University where she has taught voice and vocal pedagogy since 2017.
Jessica has spent the last 15 years studying the human voice and working as a vocal coach for actors, singers, and public speakers. An internationally published writer and sought after clinician, her debut book, I’m Speaking: every woman’s guide to finding your voice & using it fearlessly comes out October 2023 from Rowman & Littlefield and was recently listed as one of the publisher’s most anticipated titles of 2023 with women at their forefront.
Jessica works as a speaker, advisor, and clinician to individuals, groups, NGO’s and businesses small and large teaching women how to harness the power of their voices: in their heads & out of their mouths.
“I don’t believe in lowering the pitch of a woman's voice so she can be heard on a microphone that was made for a man. I don't believe that the natural sound of a woman's voice makes her sound 'annoying' or 'unintelligent.' I do believe that all women are capable, by making small, specific changes, to speak in a way that both reflects who she is and commands a room.”
– Jessica Doyle-Mekkes
Jessica lives in Greenville, NC with her husband Don, their daughters Tallulah and Jolie, and a codependent chihuahua named Sebastian.