Inspirational Public Speakers- Frank Dick OBE

By | June 24th, 2013|Blog, Nerves, Voice|

Last Saturday I went to an open morning  hosted by my excellent career coach Simon Scantlebury. The keynote public speaker was Frank Dick OBE and as a sports fan and communications coach I was definitely interested to hear his message.

I wasn’t disappointed. Simon introduced Frank as ‘probably the greatest coach in the world’ and after he finished his talk I could also see why he is one of the UK’s most sought after public speakers. As we like to collect examples of inspirational public speakers on our blog I thought I would share my notes on his excellent technique:

Voice: Frank projected well throughout but going softer to make us lean in and even using a comic ‘role-play’ voice in one great anecdote about an aspiring young runner. The way he managed it made it easy to visualize the little girl talking to him. You could see Frank conjuring up the scene and it made it easy for us as an audience to conjure it too.

Making use of space:  At times the AV was a little shaky but it didn’t fluster Frank, he just paced to the other side of the room and posed a question to us from there. In fact if all of the video equipment had broken down it wouldn’t have mattered as the delivery more than compensated.  I could tell that Frank was passionate about his subject matter and this is what carried the talk. The videos he selected illustrated his points really well but the videos weren’t the main event.

Great facial and hand gestures: As a keen gesticulator I love to see a speaker who isn’t afraid to use the hands and face to back up their words. When describing pain or failure Frank’s face looked in agony, in total contrast to a few seconds later when he perfectly conjured up the elation of winning. As an audience it challenged us to empathise with the point he was making and feel it alongside him.

The content was excellent, and from a man who has coached the UK athletics team and super-stars like Daley Thompson, Boris Becker and Justin Rose that was almost a given. But what I loved most was his energy. He talked about ‘essential fear’ and reminded us ‘that without fear there is no such thing as courage’. He shared with the audience that despite frequently speaking to big audiences he still felt a flutter of adrenaline before speaking to us. I really admired this as a message we can all embrace – nerves are healthy and make us perform at our best.

My thanks to Simon for arranging such an inspirational event.


Looking after your voice this winter

By | December 22nd, 2011|Blog, Voice|

How to look after your voice this winter

It is the time of year when our voices come under a great deal of stress. Cold weather, Christmas parties and germs aplenty can leave us croaking our way up to Christmas. Here is a quick 5 tips to give you a decent chance of your voice surviving the winter.


1. Hydration

Liquid is to your voice as oil is to a car engine. Keep yourself hydrated with lots of soft drinks. For top marks go for drinks at room temperature without caffeine or lots of sugar (i.e. water!). For medium marks go for low caffeine or caffeine-free warm drinks. If all else fails, try to order the odd fizzy drink between the wine and beer.


2. Dealing with colds

Most of the drugs we take when we have a cold can have side effects for our voice. Anaesthetic lozenges can mask the damage we are doing to our voice. This is a particular issue if you take them before shouting your way through a loud Christmas Party. If you can, try to survive on honey and lemon mixed with warm water. If you can’t, then do what you need to do but just be careful not to ask too much of your voice after taking your medication.


3. Christmas Parties

Struggling to make yourself heard over Slade’s Christmas album? Shouting is not the answer. You need to literally talk “over” (or “under”) the music in terms of pitch. It depends on the song and your voice but experiment with deepening your pitch or lightening to make yourself heard. This will be far more effective than trying to beat the sound system.


4. Cover up your tubes!

Listen to what your mother told you and wrap yourself up with a nice scarf. If you see an opera singer at this time of year their décolletage will be safely hidden behind layers of warm fabric. Learn from their example!


5. Cut down on your vices

Smoking is not good for the voice but then you probably knew that. Drinking is bad for the voice because it dehydrates it and encourages us to shout more. So do what you can on this one but at this festive season I suppose four out of five is not too bad!


Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy Voice in 2012.


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