Use Your Voice During The Holidays

Christmas, Hanukkah & New Years are right around the corner. Having celebrated Thanksgiving in November, we now are in a month of festivals that add meaning to the world. More festive meals, more shopping, more time with family and friends, more gifts. December has always been a time of reflection and introspection. As we get closer to making new year resolutions, we review the year that we have had.

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2017 on HearMeOut was a great year. We heard your songs, your ideas, your thoughts and with each share we got to know you better, and you got to know the other members of the HearMeOut community and us better too.

Now we are preparing for a time of year of giving back. Whether it is giving back to our churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions or giving back to each other. During this time of year, there is more conscious care for society than at any other time. The homeless are given shelter; the poor are fed, and money is raised for many noble causes.

At HearMeOut, we value how people can give back with their voices.

We can share our gratitude for the things and people that we have in our life. We can give compliments or share poems and songs with each other that make us feel good.

Sharing something positive creates a chain reaction. If one person on the platform shares something positive, then the chances are that another person will share positivity too and the trend becomes a hashtag, and the hashtag becomes viral. That is the power of what one voice can do.

If you are unsure about how to give using your voice then maybe start by resharing. One of the most special aspects of the HearMeOut platform is people resharing others content.

It is also always heart-warming to see people responding with encouragement to one and other on the platform. When someone sings a song, you don’t have to look too far in the comments to hear peoples praise and warm words.

If we have used our voice for criticism or gossip during 2017, now we have an opportunity to set things straight. It is amazing how influential the voice can be. Please share your compliments, good wishes and thoughts during this festive period. We look forward to continuing to see your voices grow in 2018!

Sing Your Heart Out on HearMeOut

At HearMeOut, we love it when we hear our users sing. Users sing about everything from the weather to how their day is going. And we’ll will let you in on a little secret, the songs we love the most are when our users cover famous artists.

We have heard some great covers from awesome female artists like Pink, Taylor Swift and Gwen Stefani. We’ve also heard covers of the best male artists like Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Bruno Mars and Josh Groban.

Here are a few tips on how to make your covers great. These tips work whether you are singing Hip-Hop, Rap, Blues, Country, Rock or Reggae.

  • Make sure you know the lyrics- nothing makes a cover song sound worse than the wrong words
  • Practice- Practice makes perfect really is true for singing
  • Adapt- You need to work out how best to sing the song with your voice. Don’t try and change your voice to imitate your favorite artists.

For inspiration, here is a list of 10 cover songs that are better than the originals.  And a list of the best cover songs of all time.

There are many songs that you may think are original, but you can see here they were actually cover versions.

To get started and perfect your voice, check out these guides on how to sing and how to train your voice.

But if you’re not a great singer and have a song stuck in your head,  just comment your request on your favorite musician users.

We look forward to hearing your cover songs and remember Christmas is only a few weeks away so give us your best rendition of your favorite festive music using the #CoverXmas. Silent Night is one of the most covered songs of all time, so if you’re stuck with a song to start with, maybe you can start there? 😊

 

 

 

 

 

The Voice Cure: Voice Therapy

At HearMeOut, we love everything about voices. It amazes us how the voice alone can be so unique and different yet so connecting at the same time. Here are some incredible facts about voices:

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Women are more attracted to men with the same tone of voice as them (and vice versa). People singing can somehow sing in four different tones at the same time!

Some people who have suffered strokes are unable to speak but are still able to sing! When you speak outdoors, your voice can go up to 600 feet. You may have a great singing voice but have a stutter. These facts let us know that if we want to connect with others and with ourselves, our voice is our most important tool.

When we whisper, we somehow use more muscles than when we speak, and this is perhaps to let us know that we are meant to be heard. It has been a long time since the first ever voice recording which occurred in 1860. But we continue to learn more and more with each voice we hear.

Whether you speak English, which has 40 distinct sounds or !Xóõ, which is the language used in Botswana with 112 distinct sounds, you have a voice that is a window into who you are.

Voice therapy is a therapy primarily designed to help us get the most out of our voice. Many issues can cause people to have voice disorders. Some voice disorders can prevent a person from using their voice or can cause speech impediments. But countless other voice disorders affect many people.

In 2017, Adele lost her voice and there were doubts whether she would be able to sing again. Nick Robinson, a commentator at the BBC, also lost his voice and needed speech therapy. For people in entertainment, the loss of quality in the voice can mean the end of a career.

There are other less common forms of voice therapies such as therapy to help old people regain or retain a youthful-sounding voice and therapy to help transgender people sound like the sex they have changed too. Voice therapy is even being used to help schizophrenic people deal with the voices that they hear in their heads and is increasingly being used to help people dealing with panic attacks.

Does your voice define who you are? Have you experienced changes in your voice that have affected your life? We want to hear from you about you. Let us know what makes voices so special and unique for you.

The Top 5 Tips For Your Thanksgiving Table

Placed between Halloween and Christmas, we are now enjoying America’s biggest occasion for arguments, Thanksgiving! A day which by definition should spark many arguments. Thanksgiving, after all, is on different days in different countries with even America and Canada not celebrating on the same day. Debates on why we celebrate, who celebrated it first, and how should we celebrate seem to be endless.

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Nobody is quite sure whether Thanksgiving is a religious festival, a harvest break, or a Henry The VII holiday. With over 51 million Americans traveling and some huge NFL showdowns, Thanksgiving could also be considered a transport or sports holiday.

The big question is what you should speak about at your Thanksgiving meal to avoid drama?

Team HearMeOut has a few tips to help you steer away from arguments on Thanksgiving and avoid World War 3:

1) Firstly, do not talk about Donald Trump. Whether you voted for him or not, Trump is the most dangerous word you can mention at your Thanksgiving table.

2) If you must talk about the President, you can talk about his pardoning the turkeys this year as part of the White House’s annual light-hearted forgiveness tradition.

3) You should also try and avoid discussions about the NFL. Sports discussions can lead to disharmony in front of the turkey.

4) Don’t argue about what to argue about. Believe it or not, the argument about what the argument should be is a hot topic this year. ESPN has done the hard work for you in providing this guide of what we should be arguing about.

5) Instead of arguing, you should focus on the spirit of Thanksgiving. Things that you are grateful for and forgiveness. Too often, we end up using our voice to confront people while expecting other people to use their voices in a friendly way towards us. Thanksgiving is a chance for us to be the voice we want to hear.

There is a plan B, and that is for you to talk about shopping. Black Friday is the perfect distraction for any table struggling with drama. You need to speak about free giveaways, which stores are open on Thanksgiving, sales at Macy’s and you are good to go.

As an absolute last resort of using your voice to divert danger, you can talk about the C word, ‘Christmas’. We are only one month away from Christmas, which promises us more shopping, more TV and if we are lucky a lot less arguing. (but only mention Christmas if you think it will add more harmony and won’t provide more issues to argue over). Good luck and let the festivities begin!

Don’t forget to record a post about how you successfully avoided drama at your Thanksgiving table!

Ladies, Make Your Voice Heard!

Ladies, have you ever made a great point in a meeting, only for some guy to come along, parrot your idea two minutes later, and get all the credit? Have you ever started a thought to be cut off by a guy whose idea isn’t particularly better (but is particularly louder)?

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These experiences can happen even in the best of workplaces. The guilty party usually has the best of intentions, and doesn’t even realize that he’s doing it. Here are some ways to make sure your contributions get heard, and to help create an environment where every voice is valued.

Call them out. If you’ve been working for weeks on a great new plan, and Johnny’s getting all the credit because he’s the one who brought it up in the meeting, don’t let him steal the spotlight. Speak up! A simple “hey, wasn’t that the initiative I brought up in the last team meeting? I’ve already started working on it” can be enough. If Andrew is getting pats on the back for repeating your idea in different words, you can let him know that he’s doing that – “How is this plan different from the one I proposed a few minutes ago?”

Finish your thought. You’re presenting something new, and there goes the new guy again, cutting you off mid-thought to offer his two cents. Since you can’t reinstate those “it’s my turn to talk” sticks from second grade, you can bring it to his attention that you were in the middle of speaking. “There are a few more points I need to make – can you hold that thought until I finish?” or “I’ll get to that in just a minute, but I wasn’t done covering this topic yet.”

Support each other. Building an environment where everyone’s voice is heard means having each other’s backs. If you hear someone taking credit for a peer’s work or cutting off a friend mid-sentence, stick up for them if they don’t feel comfortable sticking up for themselves. You can also shine a light on other women’s contributions – “I really liked Jenny’s idea,” or “Andrea brought up something in last week’s brainstorm that really made me think.” Let them know you’re listening!

Got any good tips for amplifying women’s voices in the workplace? Got any mansplaining horror stories? Share them with your friends on HearMeOut!

 

How To Tell The Spookiest, Scariest Stories

Happy Halloween! You’ve pulled your plastic skeleton decorations out of storage, you’ve found the absolute perfect costume, and you’ve put the candy mix on the front porch with a sign that says “TAKE ONE EACH” (You know they’ll all be gone within an hour, right?). The one thing you need to make your Halloween absolutely perfect is a good scary story. A story that’ll give your friends chills and goosebumps, and keep them up long after midnight thinking about it. Here are some tips to keep in mind for telling your best scary story.

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Ground it in reality. Not just reality, but as close to home as possible. Are you and your friends college students? Well, so was this group of hikers that got lost not so far from here. Is there a creepy building in your neighborhood that’s always been boarded up? There’s a rumor that some high school kids broke into it and never came back. When setting the stage for your story, make sure it’s familiar and believable – this’ll amp up the fear factor.

Flip the tone. If your story takes place on a dark and stormy night, your audience will be waiting for the twist – and find themselves underwhelmed. Take them by surprise by starting out with a funny story that turns dark, or a boring anecdote that takes an unexpected turn. The characters in your story shouldn’t know what’s about to happen to them, and neither should the audience.

Show off those theatre skills. This is something you’re going to want to rehearse. Speed up on the suspenseful bits, but keep it slow and measured in between. Keep your voice low, but figure out how you need to play with the pitch and volume it as the tale progresses. Bring emotion into it with your face and voice, as if you’re really experiencing it.

End on a high note. This doesn’t have to be a jump scare, just a tidbit to drive the point home, like “see that fresh patch of grass? It covers where they found the bodies,” or “they tore down the haunted hospital, rebuilt it, and now it’s called [name of local medical center]” or “they never caught the murderer, but if you look closely, you can see that he’s standing right behind Michael.” If your audience was going to sleep before, now they’re not.

The most important part, is, of course, to have fun. After your friends are particularly spooked, lighten the mood with a costume contest and some candy corn. What’s the best scary story you’ve ever heard? Want to share your own? Take it to HearMeOut, and spread the chills.

 

 

 

 

 

WHO’S A GOOD BOY! Why We Babytalk To Our Pets

Here’s how it happens: you move in with someone with a cat. You’re not a “cat person,” and they make your nose a little itchy, but you relent. You don’t expect to love the cat. You don’t expect to rename the cat “Madame Grumpface Von Fluffbutt.” Read more

Use Your Voice For Good During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every October, like clockwork, the streets change color: gone are the trappings of summer, the last of the beach toys and the back-to-school frenzies. Bright August hues become the orange, brown, and tan earth tones of autumn. The weather cools, the kids ease into their classwork, the leaves start to change. And while families roll out the pumpkins, the scarecrows, and the Halloween props, another color begins to appear. Pink ribbons take over streets, schools, and businesses, a reminder to do a little good.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While big organizations, charities, and institutions often take the lead in organizing events and fundraisers, there are so many ways that you can use your voice to pitch in as well.

  1. Talk to your doctor about breast exams and screenings – how to conduct a self-exam at home, when to start coming in for screenings, and what warning signs to look for. Reminding your friends to do the same might save a life one day.
  2. Organize a run, a drive, or a competition – if you’ve got a flair for planning events, or even if you just love healthy competition, organizing a local event can drum up awareness and proceeds – not to mention fun. How about a race? A cupcake bake-off? A clothing donation drive? Maybe some local businesses will be willing to pitch in some worthy prizes for a good cause. After some careful research, choose a charity for breast cancer research, survivors, or other related groups that can use your help.
  3. Tell the story of a survivor you know, or someone who lost their life to the disease – about one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. It’s very likely that someone you know is a breast cancer survivor. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, a teacher, or a coworker, they have a story to tell about living with cancer, or about someone they love who they lost to it. Making sure that those around you see those with breast cancer as people rather than statistics means that they’ll be more likely to take preventative measures themselves, or give to groups that can help.

Do you or someone you love have a story about living with or surviving breast cancer? Tell it on HearMeOut to get the word out this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Embrace Your Voice – How to Get More Comfortable with Your Voice

Our voices are our main way of self-expression, and we don’t mean just our physical voices. Many of us have some issues with embracing our inner and outer voice, the same voice that makes us who we are.
We talked about how to get more comfortable with our physical voices, but how can we embrace our inner voices and make it, and ourselves, stronger?
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