Simon E. Confidence, Interview Skills
& Vocal Clarity
Simon came to me wishing to ‘reinvent’ himself, build his confidence, enhance his image in order to progress professionally and kick-start what he described as his almost non-existent social life. He was a charming young man of 30 who had been in the same job since leaving university, answering IT phone queries; he was very efficient in his role, but there was no hope of promotion. His speech had become very lazy and lacked clarity, and he did not do himself justice vocally or physically. A huge plus was that he was highly motivated to work on himself and fully prepared to do any exercises I suggested would be valuable.
Simon agreed that a series of intensive one-to-one sessions would be best. He travelled quite a distance to see me so we decided to work for three hours at a time as opposed the more normal one or two hour sessions.
Initially we focused on exercising his organs of speech, particularly the tongue, because he had got into a bad habit of allowing it to make his speech sound sloppy and casual. We did a whole range of speech and articulation exercises: these were written down and I gave him a voice file to back up the ongoing work he needed to do daily at home.
We also talked about projecting the sort of image that would do justice to his personality and how this can impact at an interview. Work on posture and body language was immediately effective. Interview preparation and practice were also explored, followed by working with a camera and a role-played interview, which proved hugely revealing. The film was replayed stopping and starting to make constructive coaching points wherever relevant.
At the end of the first session Simon was given his DVD, voice exercises to practise, and a couple of days later a full set of feedback notes were sent via email for him to absorb all that had been done.
We had three more sessions at monthly intervals, at which we built on the speech exercises, concentrating particularly on his weakest sounds, ‘T’, ‘L’, ‘ING’, and on the development of a more resonant, forward tone which would help him to project his thoughts, views and feeling more effectively. Sight-reading proved immensely valuable as we were able to mark the sounds which tended to be poorly made to focus Simon’s attention on their correct formation.
We continued with interview practice, raising the standard and challenge of the interview style each time and including question handling. We also explored the best way to prepare and deliver presentations for his future career opportunities.
At the end of the four sessions Simon was standing confidently, handling the toughest of interviews and delivering dynamic and entertaining presentations. His speech was mostly clear and he understood that he needed to continue with the exercises to maintain his progress and to push himself further forward.
Most impressive was that he had joined a variety of social groups, including a dance class which he would never have considered before, and when he was offered redundancy he seized it, now excited at the prospect of new challenges and finding a career where he can excel and fulfil his potential.