As lockdown and Covid restrictions go into their second year, I have reflected on how the last year has been for me as a Voice and Accents Coach.
In the winter of 2020, I joined Bath Hospital Radio station with the intention of cheering up patients, getting requests and playing some of their favourite tunes live on air. With just a few weeks under my belt, we were in lockdown and no more opportunity to get in touch with Bath Radio listeners.
I continued to coach my clients by Zoom or Skype and became very busy with many people taking the opportunity to upgrade their speech skills whilst in lockdown. At the same time, I learned how to make short inspirational voice recordings for people’s well-being and sent those to Bath Radio. Over the weeks, I interviewed hospital staff and doctors about how they were coping with the pandemic and sent over these reports which were played on air to support NHS key workers as well as families of those in hospital.
Spring gave way to summer and as we were allowed back into the broadcasting studio in 2020, I asked our director if I could present a show of my own. I wanted to help people feel in touch with nature and help them with their sense with their well-being. This show is still on air. It’s called the Great Outdoors Show and each week I play music, tell a few jokes and most importantly, I interview two people about their role in the great outdoors. So far I’ve interviewed a light aircraft pilot, open water swimmers, communities creating better environments through tree planting, famers with low carbon footprints in the lambing sheds and out in the fields as the cows were calving and discovering new bridleways in the company of local foragers. I’m met chefs, volunteers on Duchy Farms, paddle board instructors, concert violinists who’ve played outdoors to cheer up the old folk, stuck at home or in care homes, I’ve chatted with artists, writers and naturalists with so much knowledge of the great outdoors. I’ve discovered things about peregrine falcons, hedgehogs, elderflowers, hawthorn hedges and earthworms that I never knew and I’ve passed these on to our listeners as the weeks passed.
The opportunity to have become a script writer for my own two-hour show, the researcher, interviewer and presenter has been absolutely fantastic. Each week, l come up with ideas for content to fill the structure I have created. I now present the show on two different radio stations – Somer Valley FM, as well as Bath Radio.
For you, this means what? It means that like you, I am actively engaged in a professional performance where I present to an audience. Like you, I am giving a live performance to a live audience and like you, my listeners judge me on my voice and the ability to generate interest in the subject matter I am presenting.
I can absolutely identify with the feelings you might have when you are preparing a presentation and the anxious thoughts that can develop. We all share an unwelcome voice in our head from time to time, asking if we’re good enough, can we speak well enough, will we sound authentic?
Every single one of my clients has the benefit of being a professional speaker. She or he has the responsibility of communicating important information to their audiences.
Together, we explore the four component parts of excellent communication, including authority (status), interest (though intonation) connecting with our listener (empathy) and leadership (via posture and speech patterns).
The four component parts of excellent spoken communication:
Building on the experience of decades of leadership roles in industry and now being a broadcaster, has created a foundation on which to build a new role. This new role allows me to embrace what I know about communication and push myself into new territory of being a story teller and a friendly voice. I am speaking as a radio presenter, live on air. Like you, I have an audience to inspire.
Each week, I coach groups of academics or voice artists or individuals via Zoom or Teams or Skype, to become better speakers, to be authentic and inspiring. My voice coaching is consistently judged by delegates to be ‘excellent’.
To find out more about voice training, accent coaching or presenting, please get in touch.
To hear Debbie’s Great Outdoors show go to Somer Valley FM Mondays 10-12 and www.bathradio.org.uk Wednesdays 10-12