This story appeared in the press at the weekend:
It got me thinking about the importance of voice and accent, and how they shape our identity.
So often in coaching I hear the words “I need your help, I don’t like my accent”. But God forbid if they were ever taken away….
I know, it’s only human to be self critical – sometimes even downright fashionable- to be seen as self- deprecating rather than confident. As a default position it seems that self-criticism comes really easily to many of us. So when I hear the plea from my client, to rid them of the unique ID that is their accent, I take it as a cue to support them on their own self- acceptance. That includes facing unhelpful thoughts full on, as well as looking for understanding about the nature of the speech to be presented; and of course, a raft of technical exercises to support the actual process of speaking in public, some of which are very likely to be connected to voice production. Very rarely is it the accent per se that is the problem. So next time you take a swipe at yourself via your accent, please remember that for others it is a unique selling point, and make it so for those public speaking and presenting engagements.
It was Aristotle who said that:
‘What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing”
We asked our clients what successful communication skills training looked like. They responded:
- Added value/ effective and memorable training with proven results
- Feel good /fun learning
- Excellent value
- Relevant subjects which explore and understand the day-to-day issues faced by their people in their workplace
- A forum in which our people can learn from one another and share best practice
- Learning which extends beyond the training day
- Experiential learning
We took the time to incorporate our clients’ needs in subsequent training programmes. Which is why we work with actors. The skills they have, bring to life any training session, and the ensuing learning opportunities extend far beyond the talk and chalk type training, favoured by so many. It is only by practice that we improve, and it is only by practice that we make mistakes. And that is exactly what we bring, right into the heart of our your workplace. Training that is experiential, a “learn by doing” approach. Just as Aristotle said.
Working on a recent project at an all girls school I was struck by how quick they were to sabotage their presenting and interviewing skills.
The negative stories we have made up about ourselves really do count; and thoroughly deserve to be kicked out of court if they are anything less than positive.
I loved this article and think that inspirational speeches and motivational training should be available to teenage girls at every school.
TOP TIPS FOR INTERVIEWS
I was looking for information for a client on the importance of mindset at interview – before, during and afterwards (particularly if you have to dust yourself down and have another go). The following Guardian article on resilience proved very helpful:
Work by Martha Leishman – Voice over artist
Presentation Skills Training day with Stephen Breen, Mairi Macdonald, Sarah Mortimer and Mairi Mallon of http://www.rein4ce.co.uk
“We asked Martha to come in to help us with some training. As a boutique specialist PR agency we all have to regularly pitch for business and are often asked to speak publicly – and between the four of us we had varying degrees of skill on public speaking and pitching.
“Martha came in, worked with each of us on our speaking voices, projection, slowing down, enunciation, stance… and so much more. She helped us to find tools to deal with stage fright, difficult situations and the exercise really honed our message and made us think more deeply about what we needed to say about ourselves.
“I think the work she has done with us will really help us to take our business forward and has given us all the confidence to move ahead with our presentation skills. I would not hesitate to recommend Martha to both our clients and peers.”
Mairi Mallon, Chief Executive of Rein4ce