I’ve just finished watching the final of ‘The Speaker’ on BBC 2. It was interesting that all 3 finalists had precise speech & confidence – essential requirements for a good communicator.
Last week I read an article in a major national newspaper entitled ‘Millions of youngsters don’t know how to talk’. It was bewailing the fact that Britain’s teenagers are not being given sufficient focus on the spoken word in their education. As a result they don’t know how to use appropriate forms of speech for formal and informal situations. This also results in an inability to listen properly or conduct a productive dialogue.
It has now been identified that the ability to express yourself properly, to get your syntax right and to adapt the right mood of speech for specific circumstances is a key to professional and even personal success. I have worked with youngsters for over 35 years and when they are given the right ammunition they can win any battle (metaphorically speaking). I think it may be time to have a debate on how we can get our youngsters out from behind their computers and into conversations, discussions and debates. If we don’t, the next generation of businessmen and women in the U.K. will be at a distinct disadvantage in the global marketplace where oral communication skills are valued much more highly.
O.K…….that’s my soap-box bit over!
Well, it’s been another busy and interesting month. I began on the 1st of April with two Voice Protection workshops for an ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) Training Day in Chester then I spent a weekend adjudicating at the Bristol Festival. In Easter week I spoke at 4 Networking meetings in Sutton Coldfield & Leamington Spa and for Business Networking Clubs in Broughton Astley. Then it was relaxation time with two theatrical occasions – firstly a 6 hour marathon of parts 1 & 2 of ‘His Dark Materials’ by Phillip Pullman at the Birmingham Rep. This had received mixed reviews but Stewart & I thoroughly enjoyed it. Next it was off to the Belgrade, Coventry for Northern Broadsides production of ‘Othello’ starring Lennie Henry. Well, what a surprise, he can act and act Shakespeare too! This was a very fast-paced production which sometimes resulted in a lack of clarity I felt but it was also exciting and vibrant, which reminds me, I must let Barrie Rutter know I went – a long time ago he was a young director when I was in the National Youth Theatre and we had a long chat last year when he was speaking at a conference I attended.
Having got my theatre fix Stewart and I set off for a few days break in Lynmouth, Devon. Weather was mixed but we did lots of walking and cleared the passages (so to speak!). On the way back I killed two birds (not literally) by calling in at 4 networking headquarters in Taunton and working with two of the directors, Tamsen Grieg and Tim Johnson.
The weekend of 18th/19th was spent on a LAMDA training day for their new syllabus and an introduction to GODA (the Guild of Drama Adjudicators) in Worcester. I have been recommended to join their ranks by a past member and I am considering whether I have time to add this to my busy diary. I must admit that getting paid to spend your evenings watching and judging lots of plays does appeal!
I had 2 speaking engagements on the 21st April. The first was for 4 Networking again and then for the Federation of Small Businesses in Lutterworth. This was a busy week for workshops as I delivered an open ‘Voice Matters’ session in Solihull on the Wednesday. This was attended by 12 delegates and the feedback was terrific. On the Friday it was a bespoke full day for 8 trainers from STEPS at Birmingham City Council. Both days were highly successful and I continue to book my open sessions ahead. My second stage workshop ‘Dynamic Speaking’ has it’s first outing on May 13th and I’ll tell you about it next month.
The last week of the month was spent in Manchester examining for LAMDA but over the weekend I had some fun. First there was an excuse to put on the glad rags for the Mayor’s St. George’s Day Ball in Hinckley in aid of local charities. I was asked to contribute to the entertainment so found a funny poem about St. George & the Dragon which I delivered in a northern accent. I don’t think I offended anyone! Then it was off to the theatre again – twice in one day! First it was to see ‘The Royal Baccarat Scandal’ at the Little Theatre, Leicester where 2 of my adult performing arts students were appearing (and very good they were too!) and then up the motorway to the Pomegranite Theatre, Chesterfield to see the last night of a professional tour of ‘The Birthday Suite’ in which one of my ex-students, Rebecca Noon, was playing a leading role. It is so gratifying to see someone making a living as an actor – not an easy task nowadays. She’s off to London now to wait for the phone to ring.
A recent poll by an international development organisation asked businesses to list what they thought made a successful leader. Attributes included ‘empowering‘, ‘visionary’, ‘inspirational’ and ‘decisive’ but these were all beaten to the top slot by ‘communication skills’. The survey’s findings suggested that whilst a leader’s role was to inspire, their job was to communicate these values to others inside and outside their organisation.
It amazes me that so few business people realise what an important tool their voice can be in persuading and motivating. I shall continue my one-woman quest to train the world!”
tip of the month – only say what you mean & mean what you say!
A limerick (written by me…)
There was a great tutor of voice
Whose client made only a noise.
After twisters for tongue,
Breathing out on a hum
He has bought her a brand new
We live in hope…..
Have a great month and don’t forget:
Speak Wisely, Speak well, Speak Loud & Clear!
tel: 01455 230317