Ita Olsen

Interview with Ita Olsen of Olsen Speech, Inc.!

Ita Olsen

Ita, the Master of Strong Speaking!

When you hear “speech therapy,” you probably think of a doctor’s office. Or that tiny little room at school where you got sent if you had a lisp.

Ita Olsen is taking the concept of speech therapy and bringing it to everyone. She’s here to help you get rid of your “ums” and your stutters. We brought our standard questions to her, in hopes of learning more about why speech therapy is secretly awesome.

UnLa: Tell us about you! How would you describe your job?

I help people to get their message across in a crystal clear and highly persuasive way even during high-anxiety type situations. I train people to speak comfortably, confidently and persuasively so that people get what they need efficiently. Isn’t that what communication skills are all about?

Why did you choose this job? Describe your path a little bit.

I have always been very interested in speech and communication skills. In high school I changed my accent to a neutral standard American English one in a highly systematic fashion (I’m from Long Island). I studied Speech Pathology in my undergrad and graduate schools. During grad school and beyond I improved my own voice, from one that was high pitched (young sounding) and went up at the end. I knew that voice wouldn’t get me far. I hung out my own shingle in 1996 and discovered what people really needed in terms of their own communication skills. I love helping my clients to achieve their goals in life; it’s extremely rewarding.

What does success look like to you?

Success to me is multifaceted. It’s when my old clients call me 5 or 10 years later to tell me how much my teachings have impacted their lives and that that impact has been exponential over the years. They report that their success is greatly attributed to their program with me and that the techniques “pay dividends.” I also feel ridiculously fortunate to be able to do what I love and love what I do.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing young women today?

Women still do not have it as easy as men in the corporate world. Women still have to prove themselves to get what they need.

How do you think women can fix this issue?

Women need to:
A. Trust their instincts in all areas of their lives.
B. Work out how to do what we love and make a living at it. And…
C. We need to come across in a way that’s very confident and credible.
Here’s an exercise: Record yourself answering a difficult question or practicing an upcoming speech you intend to give. Go back and listen. Can you be more concise? Can you use fewer filler words? Does your voice go up at the end? (This is a fast way to give away your power!) Do you sound authoritative?
Being more concise is a big one. If you notice you could have gotten your point across with fewer words rewrite the text. Mostly some deleting will do! To reduce filler words, replace them with pauses! Pauses cause you to be a highly effective communicator. Whereas if everything you said was one big run-on sentence you may have lost a listener or two. If your voice goes up at the end, you can bring it down by making the syllable before the last one longer and louder. That is a rule with a couple of exceptions.

Do you think “having it all” is possible? Have you personally struggled with this idea?

That depends on what you consider “having it all.” Maybe we should condense our definition of “all.” I have a very fulfilling career and am married to a not-so-bad guy with a 5 year old amazing son. Is that all? I don’t know, but I like it!

Should we kill “having it all”?

You’re killing me here! Before we kill it, let’s define it and realize that it means different things to different people.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give your 25-year-old self?

When I was 25, I quit my job and started my own business. I was balls-out super cool. I took all the training that I learned and then continued to learn about communicating with people. I applied it to myself without fear. Let me tell you, it’s scary to look into your communication skills and face your imperfections. My regrets are in my personal life, and we’d need to go have cocktails to hash those out!

What are your plans for the coming year?

Working on my horrifying YouTube page “Itaspeech.” It was so bad I just gave up on it and pretended it didn’t exist.

Finally, the obligatory plug question: What are you making next that you’d like us to know about?

I’m trying to finish and publish a coffee table book called “Sparkling Party Conversations,” a bit of a sarcastic quick-tips book that insults as much as it teaches.

Do you know of a Creator you think we should interview? Let us know in the comments!

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