Professional Voice User Series. #3 The Recruitment Consultant

The ๐‘๐ž๐œ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ข๐ญ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐‚๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐ญโ€™s voice is in high demand. โฃ

This is the 3rd post in my professional voice user series. I have an amazing friend at the top of her game in recruitment. Iโ€™ve witnessed her in action and her vocal load is high. A lot of phone calls and meetings. The professional relationships she builds all rely on her voice for communication. Both with clients and individual job applicants. She is supporting candidates and managing stressful situations and her own team. โฃ
My 5 top voice tips for anyone working in recruitment are:
1. Use a good quality ๐ก๐ž๐š๐๐ฌ๐ž๐ญ and ๐ฆ๐ข๐œ๐ซ๐จ๐ฉ๐ก๐จ๐ง๐ž for optimal communication and minimal distractions.

2. ๐Œ๐ข๐ง๐ข๐ฆ๐ข๐ฌ๐ž ๐›๐š๐œ๐ค๐ ๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ ๐ง๐จ๐ข๐ฌ๐ž in your office or wherever youโ€™re working so you arenโ€™t tempted to use too much volume. Speak at a quiet volume. โฃ

3. Take regular short breaks just to move around and have a good ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ซ๐ž๐ญ๐œ๐ก, wander round the office, do a few minutes of yoga at lunchtime. If you have wireless headphones you can stand up or move whilst on calls. โฃ
4. ๐’๐ฉ๐ž๐š๐ค ๐ฌ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ๐ฅ๐ฒ and ๐ฉ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž for emphasis. Pause before each verbal response to train yourself not to speak too quickly. Itโ€™s important you use optimal breath so take a top up breath in each time you pause to avoid vocal strain.โฃ
5. Drink at least 2 litres of ๐ฐ๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ซ during the working day. Get yourself a fancy reusable bottle that youโ€™d like to have out on your desk and sip regularly. Itโ€™s got to be in your sight or you might forget. Pop a ๐ƒ๐‘๐ˆ๐๐Š post it note on your computer as a reminder.โฃ

Professional Voice User Series. #2 The radio DJ and TV presenter

Broadcasters are definitely professional voice users. In my experience of working with a few TV and radio presenters over the years, broadcasters are using their voices very intensively, sometimes under pressure, in challenging places and on unpredictable schedules. Their profession might include a lot of travel, lack of routine, long days and late nights. It is my opinion that when โ€˜performingโ€™ vocal technique will often be better than how people use their voices during the down time when they might be tired, socialising. Considerations of both the work voice and the time off voice is important, itโ€™s the same instrument.

Broadcasters need to be vocally fit but if they arenโ€™t can they do their job with success and confidence? Unfortunately probably not.ย Prepare for how to optimise general health including how you sleep, eat, exercise and relax, to some degree these will all impact on optimal voice.

Manage any symptoms of acid reflux which might be evident if you are eating differently or at different times, late at night for example

Drink plenty of water whilst working and during off time, avoid caffeine just before broadcastingโ€ข

Acknowledge the impact that alcohol may have on your throat and voice

Prepare your environment, your studio or booth, your position on mic or camera. Face someone you’re interviewing to avoid voicing whist your neck is turned to the sideโ€ข

Speak at your normal volume on mic and avoid working your voice hard and using too much volume, even if youโ€™re in noisy surroundings

Take advantage of rest breaks.

Develop a vocal warm up and cool down routine and Vocal muscle stretch to avoid going from 0 to 100 and back to 0 without any preparation or re-set.

Treat your work as a vocal marathon and prepare accordingly. A few voice care strategies can go a long way to reduce the risk of developing a voice disorder or voice problems that threaten your ability to do your job.

Contact me if you would like further advice. I would recommend that anyone working as a broadcaster should have some sessions of vocal coaching.

Professional Voice User Series. #1 The Sports Coach

Calling all the Sports and Fitness Coaches out thereโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ“ข

A pilot study looking into the vocal health of football coaches in 2015 by Buckley et al. (see my stories) revealed that ALL its participants reported experiencing voice problems. It showed they were largely previously unaware of the impact of their job on voice and how to protect voice.

Some of the vocal challenges Iโ€™ve encountered from sports/fitness coach patients are : large spaces, poor acoustics (eg. swimming), large teams, dry atmosphere (sports halls), stress levels, noisy environments (gyms), poor vocal health, tendencies to shout, and poor knowledge and insight.

Thinking practically about what might help a sports coach protect their voice, whether coaching children, adults, indoors, outdoors, groups, individuals or whatever sport it may beโ€ฆ.

๐Ÿ”นHuddle your team together as often as possible to communicate with them so you can avoid speaking across large spaces

๐Ÿ”นUse a whistle or a clap or other means of attracting attention. Coach your team about your method of getting their attention so that they know not to wait for you to call out.

๐Ÿ”นIf you need to call out indoors and acoustics are poor, is there any suitable means of amplification you could use? Very relevant for fitness instructors

๐Ÿ”นAlways have a bottle of water with you that you can sip from regularly.

๐Ÿ”นBreath in first before calling out and keep to maximum of 5 words on each breath e.g โ€˜John move into goalโ€™ pause and breath in โ€˜and Tyler pass to Jamesโ€™

๐Ÿ”นWrap a scarf around your neck on cold winter days during outdoor training, keep the throat warm.

๐Ÿ”นKeep an eye and ear out for my vocal warm up videos on Instagram and consider a good upper body stretch and vocal warm up before coaching and cool down after.

๐Ÿ”นIf you are a professional voice user in your day job and a volunteer coach for the local team on evenings and weekends carefully consider your vocal load and whether you have capacity for the vocal demand this requires.

Any specific questions or worries I would love to hear from youโ€ฆ

The SLTs role with Covid-19

What is the role of a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) with COVID-19 patients in critical care and beyond?

Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) causes coughing and breathing difficulties. It puts strain on the lungs, larynx and vocal cords; anatomical components important for breathing, talking and swallowing effectively. Patients may lose appetite and sense of smell and taste and quickly become deconditioned.

The specialist role of SLTs is not only to treat speech and language disorders, but many throat disorders and diseases. We often employ visual methods to aid our diagnostic evaluation, although with Covid-19 patients we rely on clinical examination alone. Patients who require breathing support via a face mask, endotracheal tube or tracheostomy tube will have an alteration to their laryngeal physiology which can cause temporary or permanent damage. The SLT role is to provide therapeutic interventions to either help the system work again or compensate in another way.

For our patients this means being able to use their voice to speak to loved ones, finding the words to explain their pain, enjoying the pleasure of drink or food again – all these add quality to life after Covid.