Week 2

Week 2

Definition of ‘Professional Voice’

According to Ames (2016), professional speech or voice is arguably less emotive and often serves as deliberate speech. This could also mean to say that professional voice is not the speakers’ ‘true’ voice but an augmented version of their general talking voice. Most people take on a professional role when they are in a professional setting such as an event, at work, or perhaps around new people to make a particular impression. In news reporting, it is important to maintain a natural, conversational tone of voice but also inhabit an authoritative voice (Wasung 2010). Therefore, my definition of ‘professional voice’ is a type of speech that stems from the desire to deliver information or a set of points.

A voice is made to sound professional by the way it sounds when it is delivered. Different professions call for different types of professional voice. For example, news presenters are encouraged to speak in a lower pitch as to sound more credible and reliant on information (Wasung 2010). A journalist would not speak to their friends in the same voice that they use when presenting a serious issue on the news. A voice sounds more professional when it is strong, smooth and structured and can even enhance your chances of rising to CEO (Shellenbarger 2013). Lloyd (2015) argues that a voice can come across as sounding unprofessional or ill educated if the speaker talks too quickly or too slowly or if their accent impedes intelligibility. Shellenbarger (2013) also agrees that ‘…a nasal whine, a raspy tone or strident volume can drive colleagues to distraction.’

It is obvious that a professional voice is one that is possessed by a professional when they are required to deliver information to an audience, rather than a casual conversation with friends. In saying this, it is still important for professionals – depending on their field of work – to maintain a natural feel to their voice as to come across as relatable to their audience.

What makes a great speech?

When discussing what makes a great speech, there is much to consider. How well does the speaker deliver their speech? What message are they trying to get across? Are they successful in doing so? Does the speaker keep their audience interested?

Nick Vujicic is a motivational speaker from Australia who was born without arms or legs. In 2011, Vujicic visited a school to present one of his speeches with his aim being to motivate the students to keep moving and never give up no matter how bad their losses. He begins his speech by introducing himself and immediately jumping into a few jokes. By using lots of anecdotes, he has addressed his audience in an appropriate way. School children are often drawn to humour and Vujicic appeals to them well (Curtis 2015). Goswami and Bryant (1991) agree that using analogies and metaphors help children understand messages in an easier way and a way in which they will remember.

Barack Obama publicly addressed the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Although this was mainly a public statement regarding the incident of George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin without being charged with murder or manslaughter, President Obama took this opportunity to acknowledge the bigger issue of the unfair treatment of African Americans in the United States. This speech was effective because similarly to Vujicic, Obama focused on his audience – the US – and told them what they needed to hear. He used anecdotes to reveal the ugly truth that people do not always hear on the news about the day-to-day struggles of being an African American living in the US.

According to author Fletcher Dean (2011), both Vujicic and Obama have presented a successful speech. They focussed on their audience and solved their needs, as well as relied more on emotions and less on logic. They did this by telling stories about themselves and appealing to the audience to make them feel something. Among other features such as speaking in a clear and loud voice and using gestures and moving around that helped to keep people involved and interested, these speeches are considered to be effective as they concentrated on their audience and their emotions.

Nick Vujicic’s Speech

Barack Obama’s Speech

Emphasis in Professional News Reading

After listening to the recorded version of the news script from week 1, I picked up on words that the newsreader, Kate Stowell, emphasised whilst presenting. I noticed that there is not much of a pattern to her emphasis, however at least one word or phrase is accentuated per sentence. This does not include more serious or negative situations. She tends to ‘go down’ and lower her voice in the more serious topics (SBS World News Australia 2010). Listening again to my own recording of the news script, there are obvious differences between the two. My emphasis on words is much more random and less obvious, whereas Stowell has structure to her sentences and the way she speaks them. In my reading, it is difficult to tell which parts are on serious topics and which are more light-hearted as they are all said similarly – if not the same – which is something to work on throughout the term. As a professional newsreader, Stowell is also proficient at ‘going up’ and ‘going down’ at appropriate places throughout the reading while I am not practised in doing so.

Kate Stowell’s Recording

Reference List

Ames, K 2016, COMM12033: Speech and Script Lesson 2 Perspectives on Speech: study guide, CQUniversity e-courses, https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/pluginfile.php/293225/mod_resource/content/8/COMM12033_Week2_Mod.pdf

Curtis, S. MiddleWeb 2015, ‘Humor in the Classroom’, blog post, 1 October, viewed 25 March 2016, http://www.middleweb.com/5053/humor-in-the-classroom/

Goswami, U & Bryant, P 1991, ‘Phonological Skills and Learning to Read’, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, vol. 32, no. 7, pp. 1173, viewed 25 March 2016, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-7610.1991.tb00359.x/abstract

Lloyd, D 2015, How to Make Great Radio: Techniques and Tips for Today’s Broadcasters and Producers, e-book, Biteback Publishing, London, available at https://books.google.com.au/books?id=CrPzCAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

SBS World News Australia 2010, Kate Stowell: News reading sample, video, 22 September, viewed 24 March 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-qKDbNz2YI

Shellenbarger, S 2013, ‘Is This How You Really Talk?’, The Wall Street Journal, 23 April, viewed 21 March 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323735604578440851083674898

Speechwriting 2.0 2011, ‘5 Steps to a Successful Speech – Part 1’, blog post, 1 December, viewed 23 March 2016, http://thespeechwriter.typepad.com/onspeechwriting/2011/12/5-steps-to-a-successful-speech-part-1.html

Wasung, K. WordPress 2010, ‘Reporting using Voice’, blog post, 15 September, viewed 21 March 2016, https://reportingtechniques.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/reporting-using-voice/

Week 1

Week 1

The Importance of Voice – Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard’s voice has been a topic of discussion since the time she stood in the public eye (Wilson 2010). Gillard indeed has a thick Australian accent and really enunciates her words. Personally, although I agree that she has a very broad accent that may distract from what she is saying, I do not concur that she has a ‘horrible’ or ‘excruciating’ voice (Wilson 2010). As stated by voice coach Lucy Cornell in the interview with Sydney’s 2UE, Gillard’s voice suits her field of work where she is responsible for making public speeches and talking in a clear, professional manner to get messages across (VoiceCoachGlobal’s channel 2010).

Julia Gillard’s Voice – Lucy Cornell and Sydney’s 2UE

In 2012, Julia Gillard – Australia’s Prime Minister at the time – made a speech in response to opposition leader Tony Abbott’s motion and labelled him a misogynist. At the beginning, I of course noticed her ‘nasally’ voice and will admit to cringing when she raised her voice to emphasise her points and draw attention. It only took a few seconds before I was not paying attention to her voice but rather what she was saying. My reaction was fully influenced by the content of her speech and the way in which she delivered it – not how the words sounded coming out of her mouth. As Ames (2016) states, ‘…there are assumptions and attitudes associated with a person’s ability and class based on how they speak.’ If Gillard sounded like actress Cate Blanchett, I do believe she would be perceived in a different way. Blanchett’s voice is much softer and soothing, which is easier to listen to. My views would not change on the content of what was said by Gillard if her voice were different, but it would be easier to listen to. Her voice could quite easily be improved by making some slight changes including adding more lightness to her voice and raising her speech rate as it is quite slow (Frenkel 2011).

Julia Gillard’s Misogynist Speech

My Voice

Recording of News Script

After reading the news script aloud and recording my voice, I noticed different aspects of strength in my voice and also parts that need improvement.

The speech as a whole was fairly well spoken in regard to being easily understandable and clear to the listener. I spoke at an appropriate volume with minimal background noise. I also avoided filling empty spaces or pauses with ‘ums’ or ‘ers’ which helped the speech run smoothly (Lennon 2013).

A few improvements can definitely be made in my voice. I should work on my pace while talking – at parts I spoke too fast and others were much slower causing a loss of interest in the content. It is difficult to pick up on your own accent as we as people do not notice aspects of ourselves that we live with day in and day out (Brewer 2014). However, I would say that you can definitely tell I have an Australian accent – especially hearing it as a non-Australian – but it is more general in comparison to some. I made occasional stutters that could be attributed to lack of concentration, having a lot to say, talking too quickly or not knowing the content well enough. Many Australian voices sound like they are ‘going up’ at the end of a sentence or in each word, which is something I noticed while listening to my voice (Ames 2016). Although not a negative thing, this should be worked on – especially when presenting news stories. In a tutorial, COMM12033 Speech and Script, presented at CQUniversity, Rockhampton, on 15 March 2016, Anderson suggested that readers of news stories should only ‘go up’ when talking about a positive or neutral situation and ‘go down’ when presenting a sensitive or serious situation.

After critiquing and reflecting on my voice, it is obvious that some improvements are to be made. These weaknesses will be actively worked on throughout the semester in COMM12033 Speech and Script as well as maintaining my strengths.

Reference List

ABC News (Australia) 2012, Gillard labels Abbott a misogynist, video, 8 October, viewed 13 March 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihd7ofrwQX0

Ames, K 2016, COMM12033: Speech and Script Lesson 2 Perspectives on Speech: study guide, CQUniversity e-courses, https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/pluginfile.php/293225/mod_resource/content/8/COMM12033_Week2_Mod.pdf

Brewer, L 2014, I don’t have an accent – or do I?, viewed 21 March 2016, http://confidencelearningservices.com/no-accent-reduction/

Frenkel, D 2011, ‘Drop the Gillard twang: it’s beginning to annoy’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 April, viewed 19 March 2016, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/drop-the-gillard-twang-its-beginning-to-annoy-20110420-1dosf.html

Lennon, D. JobMonkey Blog 2013, ‘How To Avoid Stumbling Over You Words’, blog post, 9 June, viewed 21 March 2016, http://www.jobmonkey.com/avoid-stumbling-over-words/

VoiceCoachGlobal’s channel 2010, Murray Olds and Murray Wilton on Sydney’s 2UE: Julia Gillard’s voice, video, 24 June, viewed 13 March 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEybGzg1Nxs

Wilson, A. Crikey 2010, ‘Gillard’s intellect and Blanchett’s voice?’ blog post, 1 July, viewed 13 March 2016, http://blogs.crikey.com.au/fullysic/2010/07/01/gillards-intellect-and-blanchetts-voice/

Introduction

Introduction

Hi everyone! My name is Monica Mallory and I am currently in my second year of studying a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Professional Communication at CQUniversity full-time on campus. I am using this blog for COMM12033 Speech and Script and will be regularly posting on here throughout the term. My aims for this course are; to develop a further understanding of the aspects of speech and how they are applied in the media, work on my own speech and professional speaking voice, and to learn how to properly write for speech and scripts. I look forward to communicating with you during this course on here, in discussion forums, and in class too! 🙂