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Report by Joanne Zorian-Lynn, actress, and business presentation, voice and confidence coach.
Being invited to represent the BVA at the Royal Institute of British Architects Presentation Skills conference as a speaker was an exciting prospect. It grew into an exciting challenge when details emerged that I would be joining a panel of 6 impressive speakers all experts in their fields and representing various presentation skills disciplines.
The conference was held at two venues in November and December last year, Manchester and Windsor respectively. The audience, comprised of architects and suppliers to the industry, were extremely attentive and sat with their pens poised.
The morning began with presentations including: increasing your impact with the audience; getting the basics right; using interactive language; harnessing nervous energy; embracing technology; and getting the best from power point.
My presentation was scheduled for the first slot was after lunch. Being a speaker and coach who likes the audience to actively participate there was no opportunity for delegates to quietly nod off.
Initially I believed that I would focus primarily on vocal delivery in presentation and set about preparing a lively, interactive session. Then I read the brochure outlining the content of my talk. "14.00 Psychology of motivation: body language and confidence. Believe in yourself."
These are subjects within my sphere of speciality nevertheless I felt a sense of responsibility to the BVA to weave in the importance of vocal care, impactful vocal communication and the value of responsible voice training. I was also aware that breathing techniques would be covered later in the afternoon by a tutor from RADA and therefore I chose to highlight the psychology and physicality of vocal production.
I began by exploring the roots of motivation and the main anxieties confronting presenters. I continued with posture – how it affects confidence and its important role in vocal delivery. I concluded with vocal exercises aimed at developing energy, dynamic range, articulation and, of course, confidence.
The range of speaker styles was quite remarkable and very entertaining. I believe that between all of them, we provided practical tips and useful insights into delivering a presentation. Literature provided by the BVA including the handout 'Your Voice is a Very Valuable Resource' proved especially useful.
Feedback has been extremely positive and at the end of the day we held a lively and informative question and answer session.
Although voice professionals and speech teachers have always promoted the value of clear vocal delivery, at last it seems that the business corporate world is valuing it as a major resource which is increasingly relevant in their pack of communications skills.
Events such as these provide an opportunity for mutual learning and most importantly lifting the profile of the BVA. I look forward to continuing to contribute to this development.
Speakers at the RIBA conference:
Chris Ager, Director, Scene
Elspeth Macrae Graham, Head of Events, Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Simon Morton, Director, Eyeful Presentations Ltd
Simon Murray, Senior Education Manager, Construction Skills Council Association
Jeremy Stockwell and Gregory De Polnay, RADA
Keith Warren, Andy Bounds Ltd
Joanne Zorian-Lynn BVA
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