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Question
Posted by: Nandi | 2012/01/11

Professional set-back

I’ m 35yrs old and work for one of the big corporate firms as an administrator. My shyness and personality is holding me back professionally. English is my second language and I find it daunting to speak in it especially at work. This causes a lot of anxiety for me. I get all nervous when I have to speak and my voice comes out all crackly with that nervous tone. The fact that I sit in an open plan makes all worse. This is really stressing me.

The voice clinic is quite expensive for me, last year when I checked it was about R6 000.

I know this is something that can’ t be fixed on line but maybe you can give me some tips on how to control my voice and get over my shyness. If there is anyone who knows a reasonably priced place in Durban where I can go for voice training, please do post the details. Thank you!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Many of us have anxiety particularly in specific situations, social settings, or when we feel others might be assessing or criticizing us.
Simple basic psychological counselling, using well proven methods like CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) can be extremely helpful in these situations, and need not take long or be very expensive. Even a few sessions can make a real difference.
I am convinced that you do NOT need "voice training", and clinics who charge such very large amounts for methods for which they make large claims ( but which are not so far backed by good evaluations and research ) are not at all what I would recommend.
There's nothing wrong with your voice. What you have noticed is how your voice changes when you get nervous in office / business situations. If you were attached to measuring gadgets, we'd find your pulse rate goes up, your hands get sweaty and a bit shaky, and so on. Those are all effects of being anxious, and one can learn NOT to be anxious and to feel confident in such situations. You would not sensibly go to a Pulse Rate Clinic, and then a Sweaty Hands Clinic, and so on. You'd go to a proper psychologist using well tested methods like CBT, and deal with the basic cause, the anxiety itself. Once that is under your cobntrol, as it quite easily could be, your voice won't be a problem, even without any particular attention to it.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

4
Our users say:
Posted by: Nandi | 2012/01/13

Thank you all for your input....much appreciated.
Romany, thank you for the compliment. A combination of a mini make-over (music to my ears& #61514 ) and some public speaking coaching should lead to some much needed results.
Pudding face, you are right I am a bit shy. I will never stand up and speak in front of people, even in my mother tongue. But I see for me to move forward, I need to make an effort to come out of my shell. Thank you!

Reply to Nandi
Posted by: Pudding Face | 2012/01/12

I think you are just shy. Your written English is good, you just need confidence to speak it now. I have been trying to learn Afrikaans and have only now found a teacher that does not charge a similar rate to the one you quoted. I watch 7de Laan and try to learn from the subtitles. Maybe you can also watch a soapie and practise after them.

Try to find a public speaking coach. There are some around that teach people who need to make a speech in public. It is definitely an art and can be learned.

Best wishes, don''t give up, you will get there.

Reply to Pudding Face
Posted by: Romany | 2012/01/11

Compliments on your written English !! Very good.
I will probably be stoned by the others reading the Forum, but am going to give you my advice in any case.
Get a new haircut, go for training to do stunning make-up, buy a couple of outfits that make you feel GREAT.
I promise you, this is step 1.
Best way to learn the lingo is to find someone to speak to in English. This person should speak only English to you and should correct you when you make mistakes.
Talk to yourself when you are alone and make a point of speaking louder and clearer.
Try it. You have nothing to loose. You have been doing this since you were two years old, now just do it louder, clearer and with your chin up, looking the person in the eye.

Reply to Romany
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/01/11

Many of us have anxiety particularly in specific situations, social settings, or when we feel others might be assessing or criticizing us.
Simple basic psychological counselling, using well proven methods like CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) can be extremely helpful in these situations, and need not take long or be very expensive. Even a few sessions can make a real difference.
I am convinced that you do NOT need "voice training", and clinics who charge such very large amounts for methods for which they make large claims ( but which are not so far backed by good evaluations and research ) are not at all what I would recommend.
There's nothing wrong with your voice. What you have noticed is how your voice changes when you get nervous in office / business situations. If you were attached to measuring gadgets, we'd find your pulse rate goes up, your hands get sweaty and a bit shaky, and so on. Those are all effects of being anxious, and one can learn NOT to be anxious and to feel confident in such situations. You would not sensibly go to a Pulse Rate Clinic, and then a Sweaty Hands Clinic, and so on. You'd go to a proper psychologist using well tested methods like CBT, and deal with the basic cause, the anxiety itself. Once that is under your cobntrol, as it quite easily could be, your voice won't be a problem, even without any particular attention to it.

Reply to cybershrink

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