I've been focussed on how to come across well in video meetings for a while now. Even before lockdown it was important; for pitching to clients in other countries and for running meetings with those‘Lorraine Forrest-Turner explains how to make your voice sound normal on video’ clients. 

By Richard Stone

COVID-19 and lockdown have made sounding confident on a video call even more crucial for us all. For PR people, it’s also essential to sound confident in our journalist pitches, whether these are by phone, Zoom, Teams or Clubhouse. (What, you’ve not been invited yet? You are so 2020…)

Stone Junction has always been an international technical PR agency, offering services to clients in multiple countries and reaching audiences in multiple territories, so video calls have always been part of what we do. Just not the daily occurrence that they are now.


The basics

Like most people I've done the basics, I've given myself a fair chance by ensuring the background of my video looks good by setting up the room well. I've worked on the art of positioning myself in the frame using golden ratio and I've set my devices up so the light is behind them and they are approximately level with my face.

But I still feel like something is missing in video meetings. That's where this video guide from CIPR and freelance trainer Lorraine Forrest-Turner comes in.

Forrest-Turner talks about how to improve your voice — she doesn't mention that it’s to improve our video presentations. But it's a great way of doing exactly that and gives you long term solutions to improve your speaking when the world returns to normal. (If the world returns to normal. I have doubts now and I'm blaming you Michael Bay for creating them...)


Speaking up

Forrest-Turner presents ten tips for making your voice sound better on video calls. Amongst my favourites are listening to your own voice, warming up before a call and watching out for some of the twenty-first century’s most annoying vocal tics.

For instance, I will be watching out for Australian Question Intonation (AQI) going forward, as well as what Forrest-Turner calls the 'Made in Chelsea effect', where you voice rumbles to nothing at the end of a sentence. Could this video be any more useful?

I've genuinely never warmed up my own voice before a meeting as Forrest-Turner suggests. I've practiced presentations repeatedly, but I've never practiced exactly what I'm going to say. I've heard my voice recorded many times but never tried listening to it. I’ve never really understood why I sound so different in my head and on a recording. Bone conductivity versus air conductivity! Who knew?

I've told my team to read the copy they write out loud to themselves hundreds of times, but now I see what a great opportunity this is for learning to use your voice better in video calls. From now on, I will be asking my team to really listen to their own voice and their intonation when they read, and I will be doing it myself as well. 


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About Richard Stone: Richard is the founder and managing director of technical PR agency Stone Junction, a chartered PR practitioner and a member of the CIPR’s 70 at 70 outstanding contributors to the public relations industry. He has won more than 30 awards as part of Stone Junction and guided two agencies, including Stone Junction, to positions in the PR Week top 150. He likes cake, send him some by post if you fancy it. Not in an envelope or anything, a cake company will put it in a proper box if you ask them. Just saying.

About the author

Richard Stone
Richard Stone - CHART.PR, MCIPR

Stone Junction is managed by Richard Stone, a chartered member of the CIPR whose previous experience includes campaigns for Arup, AIT Plc, CIENA, Parker Hannifin, Schneider Electric, SIG, SKF, Roche and WorldCom.

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