body language

From Spongebob to Beckett – an Irish actor’s insights on vocal impact and diversity

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing the actor and voice-over artist Marcus Lamb.
Marcus has extensive experience of screen, theatre and voice-over work in both English and Irish.  So, when it comes to using voice – Marcus is a bit of a guru.
From the voice of Spongebob (in the Irish version) to Terence Andrews in ‘The Dublin Murders’, to Dessie O’Malley, whom he played in the historical drama broadcast on RTÉ Television in 2015 and numerous Beckett plays – Marcus has an incredibly wide range of vocal diversity he has had to utilise for his characters.  Believe me when I tell you – he knows a lot about the voice and can do amazing things with his own voice!
In this blog I share just a few of the many insights he shared, that can help anyone who needs to add more diversity and texture to their vocal impact.
Preparing your Voice
I asked Marcus how he prepares his own voice.  He shared a technique that originates from Stewart Pearce.  Stewart is associated...

10 ways to build rapport when presenting

Have you ever sat in a presentation nodding along to the presenter, feeling as though they are talking directly to you?
You hang onto their every word and feel like this could be the beginning of a great professional relationship, maybe even friendship?
Some presenters are naturals when it comes to building rapport with their audience.  They have a natural presence, a really good energy that the audience picks up on and reacts positively to.
Others may struggle in this area.
The good news is that anyone can build rapport when presenting, it just takes a bit of time.  We share below our top 10 tips to help you build rapport the next time you give a presentation.
Firstly, what exactly is rapport?
Wikipedia states that:
Rapport is a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned are “in sync” with each other, understand each other’s feelings or ideas, and communicate smoothly.
Tony Robbins sums it up in the following quote:
“Rapport is the a...

5 key areas of body language to keep in mind when presenting

What is the first thing you think of when you are preparing to give a presentation?
I bet it’s not your body language!  And yet how we come across to an audience plays just as important a role as what we are saying.  Your facial expressions, your hand movements, your stance all have a vital role in communicating your message to your audience.
Overall body language is an area a lot of our clients struggle with… “it doesn’t feel natural when making hand gestures”… “I feel self-conscious moving around the stage”… “I don’t feel comfortable making eye contact”.  These are all acceptable feelings when it comes to delivering presentations.
Below are our tips to help you focus positively on your body language the next time you present or speak in front of a group.
1. Posture / Stance
Standing up straight is one of the main presentation skills to learn and good for 3 reasons: the first one is we can look more confident when we stand tall; secondly it also help...

5 tips to help boost your confidence when presenting

Did you know that a fear of public speaking cuts wages by 10%?  We believe that statistic alone should bump you into action! However, one of the things that could be holding you back is confidence when presenting… or lack of.
Ask anyone how they feel just before they are due to give a presentation and we guarantee the answer will be NERVOUS! So, how do you cope with it? How do you reduce the nerves whilst appearing confident?
To begin with, there is a misconception about nerves.  The “nerves” you feel is actually adrenalin and is a good thing.  It shows you are excited and is completely normal.  The adrenalin running through you, before or during a presentation, is your body’s way of getting ready for the big event.  Believe it or not, stress and excitement are, at the basic level, neurologically the same.  So, change your language and tell yourself you are excited.
When you tell yourself that you are excited and passionate, rather than nervous, it changes your demeanour...

3 Funerals and a Wedding

Recently I was approached by 2 people with the same need but for completely different reasons. One of these was a man whose daughter was getting married. The other, also a man, had 3 people he knew with terminal illnesses. Both of them knew they would have to speak in emotional circumstances.
While shedding a tear or 2 is of course acceptable (and healthy) both of these clients felt they needed some help to ensure that they would not lose control.
As with all things, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution. Below is a random sample of techniques that may help you if you are in a similar situation:
Both before and during the speaking event it can be helpful to engage some deep breathing techniques.
There is a simple breathing exercise that can help hugely when feeling nervous or anxious.  When I do this breathing exercise (even when I am not feeling anxious) my heart rate consistently falls by 10%.
So, here it is – breathe in slowly for a cou...