Friday, 17 December 2010

The value of a voice

This week I was lucky enough to spend time with Barbara Molteno. Barbara is a speech and language therapist who specialises in voice management and in helping people recover lost or damaged communication abilities. She also provides workshops to help people whose voices are important for their work. Now that I am spending much more time delivering webinars and sessions in virtual classrooms, not to mention recording podcasts and voiceovers for e-learning, my voice is sometimes the only thing that connects me with my learners, so I wanted to find out if there was anything I could do to improve it.


Barbara made me acutely aware of how my voice sounds when I am not using it correctly and when I listen now to recordings I made before the workshop I can hear how not focussing on it lowers the quality of my vocal performance. In the workshop we covered:

• The impact of states of mind on speech performance

• Techniques for enabling the voice box to function freely

• How posture supports speech and conveys confidence

• The right breath support for a good voice

• How to project the voice with least effort

• The value added by resonance, varied pitch and clear speech

The techniques I’ve learnt are not complex but I think they will need a bit of practice to adopt permanently. Just being aware of how I can improve my voice when I am delivering was really quite a revelation. It has really made me think about how little I know and understand about this most important communication device that I simply take for granted.