I first found my public speaking voice aged 8, having to recite the poem ‘A Hippopotamus’s Birthday’ in a school competition. As I grew up I learnt that having a voice that people listened to was invaluable and was determined to put mine to good use.
When I left university I did this through working as a professional director in theatres nationwide, but also taking drama into prisons, schools, pupil referral units and universities.
As a family law barrister for the past nine years I have used my voice to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and help others find theirs.
In court I could argue the case for my clients, but could not speak for them when they gave their evidence. This was public speaking only they could do and which potentially had significant consequences, whether they were claimants, defendants or professional expert witnesses.
The outcome of cases could depend not only on what they said, but also how they said it. In those moments the ability to speak with confidence and authenticity was crucial.
People I worked with though were often unable to fulfil their speaking potential. This was the true regardless of their background, profession or why they were at court. Clients were frequently anxious about public speaking, lacked confidence, or simply did not have the skills to speak with maximum effect when it really mattered.
Over the years I have supported terrified voices, and championed courageous ones.
I have encouraged and developed more confident professional speakers from medical consultants and social workers, to teachers, solicitors and lecturers.
I have worked with people from all walks of life and supported them in finding their voice and using it to achieve results.
I believe that the skills I used in practice as a barrister and a theatre director can be shared with anyone who wants to speak with more confidence, authenticity and inspiration.
We all have the potential to be the voice in the room, if we find our voice, discover our style and speak in our own way.
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