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Voice Coaching, Presentation Skills and Building Confidence

Private tuition

Ask people what they fear most in life and surveys show that the answer is often ‘Speaking in Public’. If you are not getting your message across, or if you feel your voice is not strong enough or unclear, then you need voice and presentations training. Confidence and vocal strength are vital – if your vocal energy is weak you will come across as weak. There are very few occupations that don’t require us to use our voices and yet we expect them to work properly regardless of how much stress we put on them.

The Voice is a vital tool for any effective professional person. It indicates their authority and confidence. To be able to speak with clarity and impact are essential skills. Any professional person, who can give effective presentations, is highly valued. Excellent communication skills are a rare quality, which can be learnt more quickly than you think!

Most professional people need help to communicate in a way that is concise, persuasive and memorable. They also need their personality to come across in a way that is natural, relaxed and professional. Most people can already communicate well when they are relaxed amongst friends. The challenge is to communicate in the same effective way regardless of the situation you find yourself in.

Perhaps you might be concerned by some of the points or questions below:-

    • Do you feel that you could improve your voice and gain more confidence both socially and in the work place?
    • Do you ever have to give presentations or deliver a speech?
    • Is your voice strong enough and does it have range and tonal quality?
    • If you are going for a new job, are you frightened to think that you have such a short time to make a good, strong impression?
    • Do you work under stressful conditions and are you concerned about voice loss, or vocal fatigue?
    • Do you get nervous when you have to speak in public? Perhaps your voice is too high or too low? What is the sound quality like? Cold? No emotion? Harsh? Too nasal? Whining? Too fast?Do you mumble?
    • Do you have a heavy accent that makes it hard for people to understand you?

What people are saying..

Mr Peter Watkins – Blue Penguin Chartered Accountants
I’m a Chartered Accountant, and when I moved from the comfort of employment to running my own firm, things changed. Not only have I joined the dreaded circle of networking events, I knew I had to get noticed in smaller meetings of people with competing agendas.

My voice wasn’t strong enough and just wasn’t getting across. It’s not that I was afraid of speaking but I was so quiet that people often didn’t realise I’d actually started talking! When I heard other people’s voices cut through the room easily, I knew it must be possible!

Gerald’s coaching actually started off as a sort of counselling session, trying to understand why I spoke the way I did. We realised it was my mindset as much as my lungs which held me back. Over the course of about five sessions, I’ve gained the ability to speak more confidently in front of strangers. I won’t be volunteering to do any Best Man speeches just yet, but I now feel comfortable that my voice will cut across a room of 40 delegates at a networking event.

Voice coaching, like counselling, seems to have a bit of a stigma attached to it. Until a friend suggested it, I didn’t even know it was a profession. But I’m glad I took the time to work with Gerald at this early stage in my business, and would recommend it to anyone.

Executive Director of non-governmental organisation, Plymouth
I had always known that I needed to work on my voice projection, for professional as well as personal reasons. But the main trigger for me to seek help was my recent promotion to Executive Director of my organisation, and knowing that I would need to make a strong impression at the first annual meeting where I was going to be “under the spotlight”. Coincidentally, I was also invited to give a public lecture around 2 months before the annual meeting that I wanted to prepare for, so that served as a starting point for working on various techniques.

The first (2h) session was very useful to cover various breathing techniques and speech exercises, and also to receive general feedback and become more aware of some habits and characteristics that are very much embedded in the way I speak and come across. The second (2h) session was spent going through a presentation I had prepared in Powerpoint for a public lecture I was going to give. Gerald gave some very useful feedback on both the slides and the way I was going to deliver the information, as well as general advice about how to be as well prepared as possible for the presentation. The third (1h30) session was spent returning to the breathing and other exercises, which was really useful as it showed how I had progressed since the first session, just by practicing intermittently at home. For the fourth (1h30) session we went through the text I had prepared for my “vision statement” as incoming Executive Director. Again, Gerald provided some really valuable feedback on how to make the statement stronger, more positive and more effective.

All four sessions were really useful for me because they have made me much more aware of my voice and taught me ways in which I can improve it. The feedback on my presentations (preparation and delivery) was also very helpful, which I had not really expected to get when I was first looking for voice coaching. Gerald has a varied background/experience, which means he can provide insights and advice on a range of topics related to presentation skills. I also felt very relaxed and had fun during the sessions, which is really important as this type of training can seem very daunting at first. Although it will take a lot of work and experience to really improve, I feel that the few sessions I had really made a difference to both presentations I made, and I feel better equipped to deal with future ones. I really hope to be able to return for some more voice coaching in the near future.

Engineering Trainer: Devon
For the past forty years I have looked after Engineering apprentices , this entailed many hours of talking in noisy environments. During the past few years I have experienced some loss of voice and an irritating cough which the medical profession put down to asthma with its usual inhalers. Earlier this year I lost my voice for about six weeks , so in total desperation I decided to see if a voice coach could help . To my amazement after one session with Gerald where he taught me to breath correctly, and gave me some simple vocal exercises, my voice has returned and I feel that I now have control over the problem.
Special Educational Needs Coordinator in a Secondary School
As a newly appointed SENCO I was set the task of running a presentation on my first day at the College. I felt very anxious, knowing that first impressions count. The only way was to fully embrace the opportunity and get expert help. I was very lucky to find Gerald who worked with me on my voice and breathing and made sure the content was spot on, helping me focus on the task in a way that no amount of rehearsing in front of the mirror would have achieved.

The presentation went really well. I felt myself getting a little breathless at the beginning, so I paused, took a sip of water and an electric silence filled the room! I then carried on and it all began to flow. The feedback I got was really positive about the content. The evaluations (anonymous) were almost all ‘very useful’ and a few ‘useful’. The head teacher and a leadership team member complemented me and there were lots of positive comments from the staff in general.

I feel I have definitely fulfilled my objective of doing myself justice on the day and presenting myself as up to the role of SENCO. Gerald helped me get me to this point through tireless analysis of the content and a ‘supportive but analytical’ approach to rehearsals. Thank you Gerald.

Tel: 07584 436618
e-mail: info@devonvoicecoach.co.uk

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