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Emotion and communication.

1st Feb 2021

I get emotional when I have to speak at a family event. My mother’s 70th for example, I couldn’t get past the lump in my throat. At my father’s 80th I tried to used humour to get passed the wobbly voice thing and it fell so flat it was embarrassing. I didn’t say a word at my own 50th ,  just nodded, smiled and said ‘thanks for coming’.

This is possibly unusual for a speech and communication consultant/trainer/teacher/expert. Expert. I really don’t like that word because I’m not. I have a lot of experience, I’ve done screeds of research (which I do pretty much every day) even got some letters in behind my name, but expert? No. And this is why.

Speech and communication is subjective. We all have an opinion and there are many different methods but we are ALL still learning, not matter what your experience, qualifications or courses you’ve been on; no one knows everything there is to know. Having said that, the more you do, the more you know and the quicker you are at realising what might work and what probably won’t. Then, as a trainer you reflect on what did work and why. You find out what your client wants to achieve and you refine your approach to what has worked for the majority of your past clients. Honesty is really important too. If I don't think I have the expertise or knowledge around a certain subject to train others, I'll tell them and recommend someone else.

What the real stickler is, what no one can fore-see no matter how many times you've trained or taught, is actual people and emotions. You can have all the knowledge in the world about effective communication but there is no absolute one right way to approach a situation or a challenging person. Same with speech, I have very strong opinions about how to pronounce words or enounce sounds and the sort of voice we should all be striving for, and this is backed up with research from a couple of universities mainly from the UK but also America, but my opinion could be completely different to yours.

This makes things quite challenging when you are looking for help and advice about communication to lead a team, a voice with authority so you don’t get spoken over in meetings, putting nerves in their place and using them for your benefit. But you most definitely can improve any speaking or communication situation that you find difficult or challenging. This is why I created the course Find Your Voice, Find Your Words. It is one course but you choose the option that best suits you – your personality, how you learn and the constraints like time and budget.

The difference with this course is it takes into account different learning styles and personalising it around you. It’s not a method and you receive the resources and training to suit what you want to achieve, not what I think you should achieve. Here’s the link to take a look. Find Your Voice, Find Your Words

What can you do emotion? I need to take my own advice lol. To stop yourself from crying, look up and take a breath in through your mouth. Usually I’d never recommend breathing through your mouth because it causes dehydration but in this case just do it once.

To stop the wobbly voice thing, take a deep breath in through your nose, all the way down to the bottom of your ribs and out again. Do this three times then yawn. Then try to yawn with your mouth closed. Obviously, do these exercises before you go into the situation that is causing the ‘I sound like I’m going to cry’ thing. If you can take a sip of water before you speak.

Find Your Voice, Find Your Words is on the Say It Clearly School website. Enrolment to the Say It Clearly School is free and this will keep you up to date with any new resources and courses. Click on the link above. Of course, you could just get in touch. Book a time to call.


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Success and happiness. Do they go hand in glove? Find out here...

24th Jan 2021

Shawn Achor’s Ted talk ‘The happy secret to better work’ is pretty funny but also really interesting, informative and enlightening backed up with research. It appears on You Tube under that title and another one “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance" but they are one and the same. It’s only 12 minutes so it’s well worth the watch but just in case you don’t have 12 minutes or can’t be bothered clicking on the link, here’s a brief summary in bullet points and quotes ha ha.

  • 25% of job success is attributed to IQ. 75% is optimism levels, social support network, seeing stress as a challenge not a threat
  • “Achieving a goal will not guarantee happiness because you will just shift the goal posts. This method of motivation to achieving goals and therefore happiness is broken and backwards. If happiness is on the other side of success the brain never gets there.’ (not entirely correct quote but close)
  • “If you can raise the levels of positivity in the present then the brain experiences what is called as the happiness advantage. Your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stress.” Your business outcomes will improve significantly if you and your employees have greater levels of optimism.
  • “Escaping the cult of average. Not how to move you up to the average but to move the entire average up”
  • 90% of your long term happiness is predicted not by the external world but by the way your brain processes the world."

There has been many incantations of this quote but it’s a timely reminder. How does your brain process the world? Mr Achor has a 21 day method to retrain the brain to happiness. You don’t need gym shoes or any other equipment for this, just 2 minutes, pen and paper.


One aspect of optimism and happiness mentioned in the talk was a social support network. This helps because you can talk about how you have perceived something as a negative or there have been so many negative images or heard negative stories then it can be discussed and reframed to a positive experience or put an optimistic viewpoint upon it, within the network.


That said, Say It Clearly has such a network! Yes, a club, if you like. This club meets monthly, or more if you want to join the Facebook group too, to learn how use speech and communication techniques for better outcomes in your life.


Leave a comment or ask for more information on the Find Your Voice, Find Your Words club. 


To your happiness! Miriam.


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Procrastination! Number 1 goal achieving killer

19th Jan 2021

Back at work yet? We are. We’ve been slooowly easing our way into it, which works well for me juggling a couple of teenagers still on school holidays. 


As per usual, with a new year we usually set goals for what we want to achieve and you may have a long list of ‘to-dos’. There's a chance you are feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information coming at you from all directions of try this, do this, you can’t be without this.  


We don’t know what 2021 will bring and in times of uncertainty we are inclined to stick with what we know, which is understandable. But to make sure we do achieve something new start with something little that’s easily achievable so your brain can recognise success (because you would’ve rewarded yourself with every new success) then each new goal will be easier and easier to achieve.  


This is probably going against every piece of advice you’ve heard about achieving goals, but if your list is quite long, take some things off it. A few years ago, I had a goal achieving diary in which I had to set 10 goals and every month, week, day there were actions to take to achieve those goals. It drove me crazy. So much so I ended up hating that diary and it got to the point I was saying to that stupid diary ‘don’t tell me what to do’. Talking to myself! Literally crazy lady. I’ve never bought another one like it since. Plus, I don’t think I achieved any of those goals set, which is a horrible feeling and I got quite depressed about the whole thing really. 


I did quite a lot of research around why I wasn’t achieving set goals, which was the best thing I have done in a long time. Highly recommend it! The main reason was because 10 goals were way too many and those goals were big, most of them (in hindsight) were not achievable – I didn’t follow that SMART goal setting thing – Also, the complete regimentation of achieving those goals does not suit my personality. I like things to be a little more flexible. I change my mind frequently and I suffer quite a lot from shiny object syndrome, which I since learned is a type of procrastination.  


One podcast series I’ve listened to (best time to listen to a podcast for me is when I’m in the car for longer than 20 minutes) was a rather annoying American, Hal Elrod. Lots of hey there, brother, I love you, man but once you get past that, he has an amazing story himself and he hosts people with interesting stories too. Ruth Soukup was one such person. Her podcast and website ‘Do It Scared’ has a free test you complete to see what your main archetype of fear is which will help to explain why you procrastinate.  


This led me to Susan Jeffers’ book “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, written in 1984. This excellent book helps you move through your fears to achieve your goals with easy-to-understand explanations. Now that I’ve learned a lot about how I learn and work plus the parts of my personality that actually holds me back, this year I have set one goal and the rest just gets filed into my new filing system.   


If you’ve had conquering your fear of public speaking, presenting, pitching on your to do list, or if you have any difficulty achieving your goals, I may be able to help.   book a time, don’t procrastinate.  


*If you want to discover your fear archetype here’s the link to Ruth Soukup’s website Please note this test is free and I’m not an affiliate of Ruth Soukup either.  



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Get in touch with Miriam to discuss how she can help you.