Reporter 443, 22 November 1999

Broadcasters blow clear speech bubbles

Broadcast journalism students have been left breathless but most definitely not speechless by the University's first series of voice presentation workshops. Actress and drama producer Jane Oakshott has been running the workshops for first year students this term. "An even breathing rate is vital for effective speaking," said Ms Oakshott. "Blowing bubbles through straws helps achieve this. Uneven breathing or changes in pitch change the bubbling sound, exactly like when the voice is under stress."

"It is crucial to remember who your audience is when you are speaking," said Ms Oakshott. "It sounds obvious but you must remember you are speaking to other people."

Communications studies lecturer Judith Stamper said the course, and a similar one teaching shorthand, was prompted by suggestions made by the Broadcasting Journalism Training Council. All 36 first year students have now been through the voice presentation course.

As well as helping the newsreaders and radio presenters of the future, Ms Oakshott has helpful advice for those with the common phobia of public speaking. "Using pauses is crucial," she said. "But very easy to forget."

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