Leadership and change are driven by people who act and speak in a different way. Great influencers have always known the elemental role of communicating is motivating, persuading and gaining cooperation. But are great communicators born with those inherent skills or is it necessary to practice and develop techniques? The age-old nature versus nurture argument around trusting nature and acting by instinct as opposed to precision techniques and clear understanding to liberate hidden possibilities to learn the hard task of being true to the instinct of the moment.
Cicely Berry (renowned for her work as voice coach and director of the RSC) has based her work on the conviction that while all is present in nature, our natural instincts have been crippled from birth by many external influences and society at large. She goes on to say that while there is no one right way to speak, there are a million wrong ways that constipate feeling, constrict activity, blunt expression, level out idiosyncrasy, generalise experience, and coarsen intimacy.
So the work is about setting the voice free because life in the voice springs from emotion and speaking is part of a whole: an expression of inner life and awakening deep experiences which are seldom evoked in everyday speech. The voice is the means by which, in everyday life you communicate, and through of course how you present yourself – while your posture, movement, dress and involuntary gesture – gives an impression of your personality, it is your voice and the words you use that convey your precise thoughts and feelings.
Poetry in voice is an exciting way to explore moods in tone and voice to tell an emotional story and build confidence to speak more persuasively. Poetry presents a wide range of learning opportunities to include:
Offering examples of mastery of language and stocking the mind with images and ideas expressed in unforgettable words and phrases.
Training and developing emotional intelligence.
Reminding us that language is holistic and that how something is said is part of what is being said: the literal meaning of words is only part of their whole meaning, which is also expressed through tone of voice, inflection, rhythm.
To get started:
Find passages in poems which you find striking or memorable.
Imagine situations in which those passages might be put to use, whether to console, encourage, taunt, flatter, or otherwise make an impact on the listener.
Write a short story, letter, or speech in which at least three passages can be quoted effectively to move another character or the listener/recipient.
Poetry goes further than connecting with your voice because its also about connecting your head to your heart. Its an unique and dynamic way of getting back to the vocal pathway of instinctive expression through simple, practical actions that can empower you with the ability to communicate with power and impact.
Evolving Careers Players delivers 121 career coaching and group learning and development. We devise community forum theatre, corporate drama workshops and role-play scenarios to help individuals and groups develop their communication skills. http://www.evolvingcareersplayers.com
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