And now—a podcast!

Home Studio

Podcasts have been around for a while, and I’ve been listening to them for quite a few years. Mostly it’s BBC and ABC (Australia) radio programmes that I appreciate, but lately I’ve added some actual podcasts—i.e. specifically made for the medium. Alan Alda’s “Clear + Vivid” is one of the very best.

And now, I find that I’ve become a Podcaster myself! It started in January with a 10 minute radio play which I wrote and recorded myself, playing all 4 characters. It was so much fun, I didn’t wait to find out if anybody wanted to hear it before I wrote another one. I posted them on my personal website www.flloydkennedy.com and told my friends and relatives about it. After I’d written and released Episode 3 I started to investigate the various podcasting hosting websites, and hit on Buzzsprout.com, who offer a 90 day free trial. The service was excellent so I paid up.

Creating the characters and coming up with different voices for them, giving them attitudes and relationships with the central character was more fun than chocolate. But having the freedom to rant on anything in the news, or in my own life, via the character of Helen Docherty was the best thing, as they say, since sliced bread. Helen is my age, lives alone in a large city, has a daughter and a granddaughter who live not too far away and is still working. So not a hundred miles from my own experience. But unlike me, she is able to come up with quick quips and putdowns at a speed I have never been able to manage.

It makes a change for me, from talking about the voice to actually using it in the most creative way I can!

The podcast is called “Am I Old Yet?” , and it is now up to Episode 13. It’s gleaned some 5* ratings on Apple Podcasts, and some stonking good reviews, which you can read on the podcast website. Totally unfunded by anyone but me, and I hate listening to adverts on a podcast, so I’ve added a “Buy Me a Coffee” link, just in case anyone would like to help me keep it ad-free.

Make Room, Leave Space, Give Time

A favourite exercise that I love to share with my students is “The Cold Read Exercise”. Cold reading means reading aloud a text that you’ve never seen before. Or, in an audition situation, you may have been given five minutes to look through it, after which you are required to perform it as best you can, with the script in your hand to refer to.

Chatting about the Cold Read Exercise

At first, I taught this exercise to actors, so that they could be more confident in a cold read audition. Then I taught it to the volunteer narrators who recorded audio books for a library for visually impaired people. More recently, I’ve been learning just how useful it is for anyone — actors, public speakers, teachers —anyone who uses their speaking voice to share ideas, stories, information.

It’s an exercise that allows you to experience how your voice sounds, how it feels, in the moment of speaking. You begin to understand the difference between ‘reading voice’, ‘doing-acting voice’, ‘quoting remembered text voice’ and ‘meaning what you are saying voice’. These different types of delivery don’t just feel and sound different to you. They sound different to your listeners, your audience. The actual vocal quality is subtly, but extremely profoundly different. They are all appropriate ways of speaking, depending on the context. Sometimes you want your audience to know that you are reading something aloud. Sometimes you need them to know that you are quoting somebody else. You never want to be doing ‘doing-acting voice’, unless you are having fun with it, because it is also the voice of so-called ‘over-acting’, or ‘over the top acting’, which is also known as poor, or bad acting. In other words, we are hearing something that sounds like acting, instead of hearing you, or hearing the character you are portraying.

Most, if not all of the time, we want to be heard. We want our listeners to engage with our ideas, to be entertained by our stories, to be informed by whatever we want to share with them.

If you’d like to know more about the Cold Read Exercise, you can book in for a private session, or invite some friends or colleagues to join you for a group session. Contact me here.

Don’t Shoot Me!

Have you heard about Projection? It’s very popular, for most of my clients it’s the first thing they ask for. “I need help with my Projection”. What they mean is, how do I get to heard at the back of the room?

No 2 in Flloyd’s new mini video series

I know what ‘projection’ means. I was taught it, back in the day. It involves using a great deal of nasal resonance (which is NOT the same as ‘nasal voice’) to get an edgy kind of sound that cuts through glass. Not a pleasant sound, but by golly it carries! I can teach you how to do it, and with a lot of practise you will be able to do it.

But… You don’t need it. You can learn how to use your beautifully supported fully embodied voice to share your stories, your ideas, your knowledge with your audience in such a way that they are drawn in to listen, rather than feel blasted back in their seats.

This is just one of the skills we’ll work on in the pilot online course I’m proposing to set up in a couple of months. If you’d like to take part, fill in this short survey, share your thoughts about how you think such a course could help you to improve your public speaking skills. And don’t forget to subscribe on the Youtube channel, there will be more… (Click on the link in the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page).

Permission to Stuff Up, Sir?

Clive Dunn as Lance Corporal Jones. (BBC Pictures)

One of my favourite tv comedy shows, back in the day, was the BBC’s “Dad’s Army”, and my favourite character was Lance Corporal Jones, played by Clive Dunn. He had two fabulous catch phrases: “DON’T PANIC!!!” which he would shout while running around panicking, and “Permission to speak, sir?” which was always granted by Captain Mannering.

This afternoon, standing at the bus stop with my groceries, thinking about all the great advice I’ve been getting from various websites who want to help me set up my online course (at a price, of course), two thoughts suddenly collided inside my brain. Thought (1): most people’s greatest fear when it comes to speaking in public is that their nerves will get the better of them; Thought (2): what if they had permission to stuff up?

Dare to Thrive in the Present Moment

That’s a quote, and – shame on me – I don’t remember who said it. But yes, let’s not wait for permission to stuff up. That permission is not in anybody else’s gift but our own, and we all have the right and the power to give ourselves that permission. When we do, we ARE daring to thrive in the present moment.

But don’t take my word for it. That would just be leaving the authority with me. Try it out for yourself. Your way. I can give you exercises, even a whole programme to help you to TRAIN YOURSELF, so that you take charge of your own process, and the daring is all yours. So is the stuffing up, but that is where the actual learning happens. It happens when you stuff up, when it isn’t perfect, when you shoot high and miss the target.

Think about it logically. If you tried something new, and got it perfectly right first time, what would you learn?

That you can do it once. Great!

Except that it never happens. Never. Because there it no such thing as perfectly right. So no matter how well you did, no matter how many people tell you how wonderful you were, you will know what was missing. You will know where you fell short. And if you actually believe that you did it perfectly, you are kidding yourself.

All those people who tell you how perfectly right you were ARE NOT lying! Because in their eyes you were. Perception. They got it, they enjoyed it, they learned something from it. So why don’t you?

When you accept your own fallibility, your own imperfection in the face of perfection, you dare to thrive in the present moment. You give yourself permission to stuff up, not because you want to, but because, in some tiny way, you probably will. And that is GREAT!!!

That is when you have taken the giant risk of sharing your humanity with your audience, of acknowledging in front of them – without making a big deal of it, just by doing it – that you are your authentic self with them. No masks, no pretence, just you, sharing your story, your ideas, your philosophy, your understanding.

Did I say this was easy? No. Because it isn’t. It’s terrifying to most of us, which is why audiences respond to it. They relate to the courage they perceive in front of them, they are drawn to you, they want to hear what you have to say. That’s their job, it’s why they are sitting out there in front of you.

It’s not your job to make them listen to you and then believe you. It’s your job to share your story, your ideas, your SELF as openly and as generously as you can. Trust your audience to use their own intelligence and imagination however they wish or need to. They will admire you for trusting them.

And now, I should probably check in with those online gurus who claim they can help me to write the perfect blog post. Apparently there is a Secret Formula!

First though, here’s a tip to help you deal with those nerves.

Breathe out.

Breathe out again.

Breathing out is good for you.