Communicating with conviction and impact needs a voice that is free and flexible
Voice training and coaching is a prerequisite of effective communication. It is the foundation for presenting with impact but is often overlooked by focusing on the content rather than the delivery. For the best results, it is essential that this imbalance is corrected. By placing the emphasis on voicework in combination with presentation skills, every client gains a balanced mix of relevant and practical training to develop and enhance delivery.
A course of 6 x 1 hour sessions is recommended in order to go over the basic aspects of voice training, raise awareness of individual problems, and allow time for practice in between sessions. Clients will work on posture, alignment, warm-up, breathing and then resonance, articulation, pitch, pace, pause and projection.
The general daily vocal load - teaching, meetings, presentations, speaking on the phone, getting overtired and stressed - may be causing some problems which need help. Prevention is always better than cure and investing some time and money in vocal training now could mean avoiding the need for professional medical help later. See the health and safety article in Hazards Magazine entitled 'Work hoarse' for further information about the dangers of ignoring the warning signs.
One-to-one and group sessions for private and corporate clients
Many clients prefer to have individual sessions so that they can concentrate on specific issues and work at their own pace and according to their own work schedule.
Companies are investing in voice training and communications skills for groups as a way of boosting not only personal training and development but also as a way of team building within a department. The group dynamic is useful for exercises and feedback, showing people that they are not alone in having vocal problems and confidence issues.
According to many surveys, speaking in public is one of the most nerve-racking activities that people can experience. Being able to practise presenting in front of a sympathetic group of colleagues and iron out any difficulties in a safe environment helps people to feel much more confident both in the workplace and in life generally.
Accent reduction for English as a second language in business
In the global market place , English is the international language, but many speakers find they are not understood even when they are fluent in English. Work on pronunciation, intonation, pitch, pace and emphasis along with eye contact and body language can make all the difference between easy negotiations and unnecessary misunderstandings.
Although as an adult learner, it is more difficult to soften the accent of the mother tongue, with focus and practice, very significant changes can be achieved.
Voicework for Wellbeing Workhops
Schools, colleges and universities
Many newly qualified teachers and even well-established teachers, lecturers and classroom assistants, as well as student teachers on PGCE and BA.QTS courses, find that they start to suffer with vocal problems. This is often due to the fact that they have not had sufficient vocal health care information and practical voice workshops in their initial teacher training. As a result, they go out into active teaching practice with no knowledge of how to protect their voices.
INSET and twilight workshops sessions are being booked by many educational institutions and teaching unions as part of their CPD training. To get the best out of the training investment, staff and students need to be encouraged to put the exercises into practice regularly. In this way, they can acquire a toolkit to deal with the vocal stresses and strains of the school day.
Public and voluntary sectors
Many local authorities, mental health trusts and charities are making funding available for voice workshops and training sessions, particularly for carers, the homeless and the unemployed. In recent years, the benefits of voicework have been more fully recognised as a way of improving wellbeing, confidence and quality of life.