Your burning questions answered by our experts! The Experts in Residence series makes professional advice from experts in a range of fields – from fundraising to marketing, public speaking to banking – available to all Hub members for free on a weekly basis. Find out more about who they are and what they do with this mini interview series! Today meet Mary Houle, a registered speech pathologist specialised in working with people in business and politics who helps Hubbers to speak with presence. What does that mean? Read on to find out!


What makes you an “expert” in your field?

I have been a Speech Pathologist for 23 years.  I come armed with all that speech science and voice science can offer in guiding us to deliver our messages with the most force. Speech pathologists are usually in schools and hospitals, but I use my powers to help people in business and politics.  There are many aspects of our voice that are predetermined, limited by our physiological makeup- the length of our vocal cords, the size of our heads.  But there are some things that are variable.  We have made some decisions along the way, mostly subconsciously.  Rate, intonation, pitch, volume, breathing–all of these profoundly affect our message, and all can vary.


What can Hubbers expect from you?
I’m really fun to talk to.  Period.  It’s true.  But when we talk, I’ll be stealthily listening to your voice and determining what choices you might have made along the way to limit your expression.  I’m evil that way.  But then nice because I’ll point out fun ways to change!  This can help your message to be heard.


What are the most common “speaking fails”? 
The most common? Speaking fail? Might be uptalk! Lack of expression is also pretty common.  It’s what can keep people sounding monotone, and boring their listener.  I think the best speakers use a wide range of pitches.  Leaders are expressive.  Vocal fry has been talked about a lot in the last few years.  Women get a bad rap for it, but a lot of people use it.  I see it as a lack of expression, and simply doesn’t represent everything you’ve got to offer.  Lastly, many people are failing at breathing.  Well, not completely failing because they are still alive. But if you come to visit me during Office Hours, I’ll tell you whether or not you’re a chest breather or a belly breather.  And why that’s important. It’s all really fun stuff.  And in many instances, life-changing.


Hubbers can find Mary at the Hub every Wednesday from 11am-12pm.