Voice Synergy News

New Year, NewVoice?

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Do you change the way you speak, depending on the situation? Many years ago, when telephones weren’t that common (really, there was a time), my mother would use a ‘posh’ voice when she picked up the receiver and spoke. In those days, we just spoke the three numbers that people dialled locally to get through and waited for the other person to respond. That was the time for a big breath on my mother’s part followed by an alien accent that really made me giggle and squirm at the same time.

Funnily enough, I was speaking to a client the other day about how she used her voice in different ways, depending on the situation and she confessed that she made much more of an effort when she was giving a speech than when she was speaking to her in-laws. ‘That’s quite natural’ I smiled, thinking of my mother’s ‘telephone voice’, ‘we’re much more relaxed with family and friends and our speech reflects that.’

This set me to thinking about what we actually DO do in each circumstance. Delivering a speech to an audience needs thorough preparation. As well as being fully prepared with the content it is important to warm up your articulators, warm up your voice and then speak in the way most appropriate for your audience and the subject you are covering.

Compare that with a chat with your family. A family chat is spontaneous, it is part of a two- or multi-way conversation, you may need to butt in with a joke or an idea as well as listening to the others and keep on top of the various subjects as they rapidly change. No vocal preparation is needed, if someone doesn’t hear you properly, they’ll ask you to say it again. Importantly, we also use and pronounce words and phrases in ways that are familiar to our group.

Don’t get me wrong – speaking clearly is important – but in a formal setting, clarity of speech is top of the agenda. With our families, we can gabble, speak quickly, use slang and even pronounce things differently, which is in stark contrast with speaking in a professional context.

My client added that as well as her voice, her accent also changed depending on the situation. Clarity, confidence and impact were top of her professional speaking wish-list. With her family, there was no list – just spontaneity and a comfortable chat.

However, using your voice well doesn’t mean that you have to put on a false voice or try to speak in a way that is uncomfortable or ‘posh’. The first steps to speaking well are to take your time, take a breath before you speak and let your voice connect with your thoughts. This way, your words will carry truth, create an impact and connect with your listeners.

It takes time to make the most of your voice and to speak really well and it’s a great journey to take. Making the most of the sounds of the words, using them with the appropriate energy and allowing your voice to carry your thoughts can have an amazing effect on your listeners. Leave behind the false accents, leave your family voice at home and step up into the New Year with a resolution to make the most of your fantastic voice!

For more information about voice training speaking and speaking more clearly, please get in touch.

Facing up to your fears

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As a non-native, British English speaker, an expert in your subject, it can be a challenge to get your ideas across to the rest of your team. You may have anxiety about whether the others can understand your accent, are you pronouncing your words correctly and are you being judged unfairly because of the way you speak.

You may be reassured that many people are more relaxed about accents as we have many variations in UK British English. However, you might still want to know whether you are pronouncing your words correctly?

Most importantly are you enjoying your presentations or the process of getting your thoughts heard? And if not, what can you do to improve your accent along with improving your self-esteem?

One of the key differences between English spoken by a native and that spoken by someone who speaks English as a second or third language, is the rhythm of the speech. UK English is a stress-timed language, which means that we emphasise words or parts of words within a sentence and this creates the ‘tune’ of the accent.

Finding the stress sounds in a word or sentence on your own can be a bit of a challenge. It is perfectly possible to check the dictionary and if you are familiar with phonetics, you will be able to work out where the emphasis falls. But sometimes, you also need to know where the long vowels occur, or use the sound of the diphthongs, ensuring they are honoured with your voice.

Although this might sound tricky, it can be enormous fun to learn and discover.

Many clients of Voice Synergy enjoy the benefits of learning not only accent improvement through accent reduction, but they also gain much more clarity and confidence in the way they speak. By understanding the rhythm of the sentences and how the vowels (and consonants) should be used, they greatly improve their spoken skills though gaining confidence to speak clearly.

Quite often, as a result of voice and accent coaching, clients are immersed in a wider vocabulary through exercises that use passages of classic text or poetry.

Over the years it has been a privilege to coach professionals who speak English as a second language and to help them move from a feeling of helplessness and frustration to gaining the skills and confidence to become a strong communicator, a valued and esteemed member of their team.

One client recently commented, “You are a fantastic teacher, Debbie. I’m really enjoying it. You make it technical but interesting. I’d love to carry on (with more sessions).” This particular professional has a mixture of accents from three continents and is successfully unlocking her potential to achieve even more in her career, thanks to her confident and engaging voice and accent, which she is learning to use much more effectively.

If any of this resonates with you, or if you have a member of staff that would benefit from voice and accent coaching, please get in touch. We’ll help you face your fears, get the best from your voice and give you the freedom to speak with confidence.

Merry Christmas!

Anxiety? Pressure? Fear of the Unknown?

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During the lockdown periods we were wracked by feelings of isolation, we missed our work colleagues and the general hubbub of office life.

Now many of us are going back, at least in part, to the workplace and these feelings can return all over again. We had just got used to regular Zoom meetings, Teams events and catching up on Skype when this new ‘norm’ itself got turned on its head and back we went to in-person meetings.

If you’re anxious about standing up in front of a crowd again, first of all, remember that your audience is really looking forward to hearing what you have to say. It’s been a long time since they’ve been addressed by anyone and you’re the star of the show. That’s enough to make me run a mile! I can hear you shriek! But wait a moment; you really do know what you are talking about, you love improving performance in yourself and your team and your speech is all about sharing information which will make everyone better equipped for the future.

Remember, when you feel overwhelmed with fear about public speaking, here are some top tips:

  1. Remind yourself about how capable you are
  2. Refresh your memory about the subject of your presentation – thoroughly revise the content
  3. Make notes ahead of your presentation
  4. Speak your presentation out loud – get used to hearing the words and phrases that you’ll be using on the day. Edit any challenging words or phrases that might trip you up
  5. On the day – remember to breathe before you speak; take your time and enjoy it!

Breaking down the component parts of your presentation strategy into easy chunks is half the battle to success. Remember you are the expert; now focus on making your presentation succinct, well signposted and informative.

As well as being accurate and interesting, your presentation should also be relevant. Find out what people want from your presentation and that will help you with building the right content – information that is going to be well-received and useful.

It might help you to create a mind map to get your ideas down and out of your head. If you are delivering a presentation it’s important to not only explore the topic you will be speaking about, but plan for how much time you have available and how you’re going to structure the presentation.

A first step to getting rid of anxiety is to prepare yourself thoroughly for the work in hand.

Pressure can be dissipated through giving yourself enough time to get ready. Say no to unnecessary meetings or social commitments if you still have the presentation to prepare. Allow at least an extra day more than you think necessary to allow for unknowns to crop up, work to your own deadline then you should have time to relax before the big moment.

Suffering from Fear of the Unknown? Stick to what you do know and tell your audience what to expect. When you make your presentation, set the boundaries that you are going to be using and make it clear that is the framework of your talk.

Getting ready for an important presentation or pitch can be a daunting experience, but by allowing yourself the necessary time for your preparation schedule, success will come your way.

One more point to remind you – rehearse saying your words out loud before your big moment. Get used to any long sentences that might need a bit more breath to safely take you to the end of the thought. If there are fabulous phrases that spring to mind, use them – as long as they don’t get you tongue tied. If in doubt, change the word or phrase to allow your speech to flow in an interesting and steady manner.

That’s it. Good luck with your presentation and if you think you might like a bit of help, do get in touch!

Your Voice Needs Your Breath…

Let your breath take away your tension

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This month I was fortunate enough to have a few days away in the depths of the countryside. Not only that, but I had the luxury of a relaxing massage to unwind and relax.

The effect on my voice was incredible. When I began to speak again after a whole hour of silence I was really surprised to hear the quality of my voice.

Like many voice professionals, I take care of my voice by performing regular vocal warm ups and strengthening exercises, but the effect of the massage on the quality of my voice was immediate and impactful.

Fortunately, the next thing on my agenda that day was to interview a local business person for my radio show. I was so pleased to hear my voice was low and resonant and quickly and effortlessly responded to my changes in pitch.

Being able to rely on your voice when you have an important speaking engagement is fundamental to your success as a professional speaker but also helps you to be able to focus solely on the content of your speech.

Nerves that kick in before an important speech or interview can restrict and constrict the muscles that surround your larynx and prevent the vocal folds from working effectively. Tension builds in your shoulders and neck and without a sustained effort to relax them, can dominate a poor posture and negatively impact your voice.

To overcome the effect of tension, you can undertake a series of relaxation exercises, that help the muscles release the taut feelings between your shoulders and in your neck.

Relaxation exercises to help speech muscles work better:

  1. Take a breath from deep inside. Visualise your breath coming from the depths of your lungs and as you breathe in, allow your ribs to gently expand and lift away from your centre.
  2. Keep your mouth closed if you’re able, allowing the breath to gently flow into your lungs via your nose. Inside your nose you have a wealth of cilia which are microscopic hairs that cleanse and warm the air that enters your lungs.
  3. Take it slowly. Long, slow breaths will help to cleanse the lungs, slow down your heart rate and help those essential muscles to release tension and relax your body.
  4. Gently squeeze your hands to make a fist with each, feel the tension, then let it go.
  5. Release the tension in your shoulders and feel them sink down away from your ears.

Simple breathing exercises can be very effective at slowing down the heart rate and enabling you to think more clearly.

Take time to breathe before you speak when you are making your presentation or interview. Breathing helps to clarify your thoughts and also to maintain a relaxed posture and flow of speech.

Ideally, it is helpful to also stretch out your ribs, your back, your neck and so on before you embark on a speech, but these simple breathing exercises can help tremendously.

A massage helps to slow down your breathing and also relaxes the muscles to give your voice a very good basis for working optimally. Alternatively, five minutes spent breathing slowly and deeply can also be a fantastic way to re-centre and your route to delivering a great speech.

Presenting online

How to look after your voice

Are you struggling after months and months of online Zoom and Team meetings? Are you preparing yet more online presentations and delivering strategic plans to staff, colleagues and stakeholders? Do you get an overwhelming impulse sometimes, to just run away?!

Without the old visual feedback which comes through your audience’s attentive body language or a puzzled or interested face, it is an ongoing challenge to gauge how your presentation is going.

You may be tempted to project your voice more, yet think if you speak too loudly it will be wrong and end up with a conflict of muscle activity in your neck and larynx. This can result in antagonistic behaviour, where muscles are being held to do a job that’s not necessary, at the same time as other muscles – which are necessary – are also being pushed to perform.

The outcome of this is at best tired muscles around your larynx, jaw and voice and at worse, strained vocal folds (or vocal chords) which can make your voice sound hoarse and ‘thin’.

You can avoid a tired, strained voice and here are some tips to help you plan how to get the most out of your online presentation:

  1. Prepare thoroughly. Ensure you know your material and have it ready in a logical and accessible format.
  2. Know your audience as much as you can. What do they want to get out of your presentation? Ensure you are addressing their concerns or meeting their attendance objectives.
  3. Now to your voice.
    • Warm up your voice by breathing in, deep down into the bottom of your lungs and hum the air out, slowly, on one note. Repeat this exercise five times on different (low-ish) notes.
    • Breathe in deeply and slowly and this time hum out using your voice like a siren. The notes of your hum should gently rise and fall, like a series of gently arching bridges. Once your lungs are feeling empty, stop humming, breathe in again and repeat the exercise four more times.
    • Breathe in to the bottom of your lungs again and halfway through your humming out, allow your jaw to drop and the sound ‘aahhhhh’ to come out. No effort, no pushing, no tension in your neck or anywhere… just the air passing over your vocal folds and gently warming up your voice. Repeat this exercise four more times and relax.
  4. Begin your presentation with a smile, if appropriate. Acknowledge and welcome your audience, tell them what to expect and how long you will be speaking for.
  5. Rehearse your opening and closing sentences.

Always have a glass of water to hand and ensure you are well-hydrated before you begin to speak. Take sips of water throughout your presentation to keep your vocal folds hydrated and moving smoothly.

As you make your presentation, remember to be yourself. Be present and be engaged with what you are saying and your voice will carry the sincerity of your words.

There are many, many aspects to speaking well during an online presentation in addition to the points I have raised above, including clarity, pace and vocal variety.

Your posture is important too. Ensure you have a good, supportive chair or if you’re standing, check your posture is aligned and relaxed. If you are relaxed, your voice will be relaxed.

If you are experiencing vocal fatigue, exhaustion or just feel a bit jaded about your online presentation skills, please get in touch. So don’t run away! I can help you develop a very effective toolkit to bring out your best voice for your Zoom and Team calls.

Are you treated differently because of your accent?

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This week on BBC Radio 4, this question was posed to its listeners. It is topical at the moment as we are hearing many Olympic event commentators with UK regional accents speaking on TV and radio.

I listened to this programme, presented by Winifred Robinson, with great interest. Issues that arose included people who had taken elocution classes, or voice training classes to change their accent and people who resisted change.

Some people wanted to lose their original accent as they felt it held them back professionally and others held on to their accent and said they had experienced success in the workplace in spite of their accent.

Some people with ‘posh’ accents, acquired through elocution lessons, felt they no longer ‘fitted’ in their original social groups and felt displaced and judged to be a wealthy person, because they spoke in the way a well-educated, well-heeled person would do. There was a barrister with a strong regional accent who was very content to continue advising and representing his clients in his native accent.

So, is it all to do with accent, or is there more at play here?

It’s all about better speech and better communication
At Voice Synergy, we tackle more than accent even if a client requests elocution lessons, for example. Your voice potential consists of a lot more than just your accent.

How you use your voice and the words you choose can be extremely powerful, regardless of accent. The successful speaker will be able to articulate accurately, sounding ‘t, d, th’ and ‘ing’ clearly, but will also use their voice in a way that effectively conveys their thoughts and ambition. In short, it’s not about getting rid of an accent, it’s all about better speech and better communication.

Your voice is important
It is well known that people seek help to communicate more effectively and that includes actors, business professionals, academics and politicians as well as those of us who simply want to get our voice heard. Your voice is important in interviews, in meetings, on Zoom or Team calls and in motivating staff or delivering reports.

So this begs the question, is accent softening only about accent changes or are we seeking a better speaking voice?

It is important to be the best communicator that you can be and that should be included in your accent softening, elocution lessons, public speaking classes, presentation skills course or effective communication projects.

Do I want to be a better communicator?
Currently, you may speak too slowly or speak too fast. Right now, you might suffer from a monotonous voice and want to learn how to speak with a more interesting voice, regardless of accent. The first thing that comes to mind when you are reflecting on your voice might be that you want to change your accent. Perhaps a better question would be, do I want to be a better communicator?

It is important not only to work on clearer articulation (stop mumbling) but think about the quality of your communication.

The aim of every good speaker must be to improve the quality of their communication, and that includes broadening their vocabulary, confidently articulating what they want to say and landing those thoughts to affect their listeners in the way they intend.

For more information about improving your speech skills, please get in touch.

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 programme.

Voice and Personality Types

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Over the years I have noticed that in different work meetings, I behave differently and use my voice differently according to the composition of the group. Talking to a group of accountants requires a different style as they speak and behave differently from a group of barristers, for example. Both groups require a specific style of delivery of information and they in turn express themselves differently from say, a group of estate agents.

That set me wondering about personality types in broad terms and how we use our voice, depending on what sort of personality type we are and how we can adapt to communicate better with other personality types.

If you use your voice in your usual, habitual way – your ‘everyday voice’, others may not ‘buy-in’ to your way of thinking, particularly if they belong to a different personality group.

In a work meeting in-person or online, attendees can have diverse communication styles and respond more positively to someone who speaks in a similar style to themselves.

According to one personality type model, people generally fall into four broad groups. Personality types include: Analyst, Communicator, Driver and Planner and each type uses their voice in a different style and requires different information to motive them.

The Analyst might use their voice to request more information, they will ask for data, documents and detail and process the information with careful scrutiny. They are likely to be factual and procedural in their communications, both written and spoken.

The Communicator is a different kettle of fish, being keen to share ideas and opinions, build relationships and thrives in a positive environment. Their spoken style is outgoing and friendly and veers towards the more informal – possibly using texts, emojis and voice messages to communicate outside the meeting room when face-to-face isn’t possible.

The Driver is assertive, ambitious and competitive, with a direct communication style. This person wants results. Driver personality types are usually in a powerful position and expect efficient and responsive communication from those around them. They use decisive language and may speak in shorter sentences in an assertive tone of voice.

The Planner is a patient, steady person who is usually calm and easy to get on with. This personality type appreciates the opportunity to be heard and to be supported in an unpressured environment. Time is a precious commodity and to the Planner, it is an essential component of their work in order to organise themselves well.

Any one of these personality types might speak in a way that is unsettling or alien to those in another group. The Analyst might frustrate the Communicator as they may use their voice in a composed, fact-led monologue, without the keen enthusiasm that the Communicator might prefer.

The Driver might be equally frustrated by the Planner, speaking at the slower pace, time scales being requested to complete a project. The short, sharp direct communication style of the Driver could result in the Planner compromising results instead of encouraging a dialogue for a better outcome.

There are many combinations of personality types that can throw up communication issues and it presents an opportunity to understand how we can use our voices to take into account the needs of others.

Using your voice and the words you select in a variety of ways might be the key. In a meeting that includes a mix of personality types, use your voice to address their diverse needs. You might speak using different vocal ranges, for example.

A calm, slower pace of speaking will appeal to the Planner and Analyst, for example, including details, evidence and timelines will also be appreciated and engender a positive response.

Speaking to a Driver, use your voice in a more powerful, energised and decisive way, pointing out succinctly, how results can be achieved.

Sometimes we are given some advice about how to use your voice in a meeting and it can be simply, ‘speak up, be assertive and use positive body language’ but without some professional input, this can be unhelpful at best.

Effective use of your vocal range, using the power of pause and varying your vocal patterns can be hugely influential. Your voice, coupled with carefully chosen words, can be used to change minds, to create support, to encourage others to adopt your vision. Your voice can be a powerful instrument for change.

Using your voice effectively, appreciating that others’ needs and speaking in the right way can reap very big rewards. It really is Voice Synergy.

For more information on how to use your voice to influence others, please get in touch.

Your voice – a sense of self

As a Voice Coach, I help many people to develop their speaking skills and requests come in regularly, asking for help with pronunciation, with confidence building or with clarity. Sometimes behind these requests lies a cry for help to become accepted into a work team or to be established as a team leader within a large organisation.

Our accent begins as soon as we begin to speak. We learn to speak from our parents, carers and teachers and build up speech patterns over the months and years. Children mimic what they hear and shape their articulators to replicate the sounds they hear.

Children can adopt the accent of their carers in pre-school, so they may sound quite different from their parents, but can easily adjust the sounds they make as the accent around them changes.

However, this skill can diminish over time and once that child leaves the familiar environment of home and school and embarks on a further education pathway, their accent might not ‘fit’ any more with the new social crowd they meet. At university, students from all over the world can meet up in a tutorial group (an online Zoom or Teams meeting currently) and for the first time encounter many accents different from their own.

Having an accent that is different from your peers can be quite a shock to begin with. Having an accent different from others can be isolating. Your accent very much represents your sense of self and to hear other people in your social group speaking in a different way can be disconcerting or even demoralising.

When this young adult goes out into the workplace, well-qualified with good prospects, often they can find it difficult ‘fitting in’ with their colleagues because their accent is not the same as the others.

When my new clients approach me in the first instance, they might ask about how to change their accent and it often transpires that behind this personal objective lies another hidden objective – ‘how can I fit in, speak like the others yet command respect as their manager through using my voice with authority?’

The voice work I offer to my clients covers accent change, of course, however, much of voice training or voice coaching focuses on developing accurate articulation, developing good posture and using the breath to underpin the voice. But there is more to voice coaching than changing your accent. Much of voice training with Voice Synergy comes from finding your sense of self, your values, your offer – what qualities and skills you represent.

Finding your sense of self through your voice allows you to become more comfortable. Being happy with the way you speak allows you to get on with the work you want to do. Avoiding accent change but finding the strength in yourself to speak with confidence, to speak with conviction and to speak with authority can be enormously freeing.

Some people ask for elocution lessons, however, it is the wider realm of vocal development that will help you really develop your sense of self. You can discover how to be more yourself and comfortable with the words and phrases you say. It can be incredibly empowering to release your voice to speak the words you want to say but have been too inhibited to express before.

Sometimes voice work is about finding out more about yourself and your own worth and when you begin to realise your own self and what you offer, your voice steps up to the mark and you really begin to sound like the person you want to be.

For more information on voice coaching or accent training, please get in touch.

Gasping with admiration or gently nodding off to sleep?

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Presentations – do you love them, or hate them? Either way, they’re an essential part of our lives as we connect with our colleagues or customers online and it’s our constant challenge to excite interest and attention through our speech.

If you’ve ever wished you could speak more clearly, with more passion in your voice or with gravitas and sincerity, you can get help at Voice Synergy.

I’ve noticed over the years that even people with very senior positions can let down their organisation and disappoint their stakeholders by not engaging their voice effectively. If you’re not engaged with what you’re saying, your words can sound empty and hollow. You might have heard someone saying, “Thank you to the whole team and especially to our sponsors who have provided the finance for this project.” If this is said as words only, it sounds heartless and purely a function of speech. Instead of cheering and heartening the audience, it can sound bland and mechanical.

Using your voice when it’s connected to your thoughts and most importantly, with your emotions, can be very powerful. Harnessing the power of your voice can be achieved when you engage your imagination and allow yourself to connect with what you’re saying.

It’s easy to trot out ‘thank-yous’ but if you take a moment to really think and mean those words, how differently they can sound. Your listeners can feel a warmth towards you and your organisation; your sincerity can be heard in your voice and the beginnings of loyalty can be ignited.

How can you begin to be connected with your words? Firstly, write down a few sentences that you would like to say to your team. Let’s start with the ‘thank you’ speech. After you have written it, record it as naturally as possible, as you would normally speak.

Now take a moment to read your sentences again and find the words that might really stand out and reach people. Next, breathe in slowly and deeply, feeling the air flow into your lungs. When your lungs are full, begin your speech. Take your time and read a whole sentence fluently. Take a new breath for each new sentence.

You can practise this reading aloud of your speech with great effect. Always take time to breathe before you speak. Begin speaking when your lungs are full and your breath will enable you to speak a long sentence comfortably.

Next, find one or two words that you would really like to bring out in your sentence. Repeat the above exercise, but this time pause just before the key word. You can try several different methods to emphasise a word, like pausing just before and/or just after it. You can try lifting or lowering your voice on that word. There are many ways of varying your speech patterns to make your speech more colourful and interesting.

By trying out some of these vocal techniques, you will begin to hear that your voice is gaining in expression. This should help you feel more confident and empowered to try more vocal variations in your speech.

When you’re happy that your expression has improved, try recording your voice again and compare the first recording with the second and notice the two styles. You should be aware of a positive difference in the before and after speech styles and be encouraged by how much more engaged your voice sounds after trying out new vocal techniques.

If you take time and practise working with your voice, it can help you to connect better with your colleagues, your team and your stakeholders.

If you would like help with developing a more connected and relaxed way of speaking, please get in touch.

The Professional Voice User

Debbie Chatting, Bath Radio, Somer Valley FM, voice coaching, broadcasting, voice training, accent coaching, presenting, better speaker, voice artist, sound authentic, Voice Synergy, Bath Voice Coach, leadership, excellent spoken communication, authority, professional voice user, voice coach, accent coach, presentation skills, radio broadcasting, voice over

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:

  1. Authority
  2. Interest
  3. Connection
  4. Leadership

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