Giving Voice

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

When the pressure changes...

This morning I found myself back in the King George VI Building at Newcastle University (where my Giving Voice endeavors started just over a year ago!) I was there to attend a session with Ele and Creek from RCSLT. This was a good opportunity to share some of my Giving Voice experiences with some final year students.

Anyone that knows me knows that I love to talk! They also know that I love to talk about Giving Voice!  (I’m not such a fan of talking in front of large audiences but 2 out of 3 isn’t bad!)

I prepared what I was going to say over the weekend and practised in front of an audience of 8 on Sunday evening (my lovely family!). I was pleased at how interested they seemed to be (especially my 6-year-old niece, who looked enthralled!) I didn’t know which parts of my involvement in Giving Voice would be most relevant to the final year students, but hopefully something was interesting/useful. I was pleased that I also got some new Giving Voice highlighters, which  look forward to giving away in my Giving Voice activities this year!

I was looking forward to presenting this morning, but once I got into the lecture theatre the butterflies started to form in my tummy! (It made me appreciate the effort of every single one of my lecturers throughout my four years at uni – as it was a little intimidating looking up to see a lecture theatre full of faces all waiting for you to start talking!) I think I started off quite confident (my butterflies were flying in formation!) but part way through the talk the nerves started to kick in again – I think I’d tried to be over confident by not looking at my notes, and when I looked back I realised I’d lost my place! I think I recovered reasonably well and the experience, overall was enjoyable. I also enjoyed listening to the RCSLT talk, as it is still relevant to me now, less than a year after graduating.
The whole experience made me more aware at how difficult the process of talking actually is; particularly when the pressure of the situation is increased (i.e. in my case, a lecture theatre of students waiting to listen to what I had to say!) I felt nervous and I was conscious that I had to know exactly what I wanted to say in order to deliver the speech effectively. Every day, people with communication difficulties face such challenges in situations which, for most of us, are a lot less stressful. For example, a person who stammers wanting to order their food in a restaurant, or a child with word finding difficulties telling their teacher what they did over the weekend. Communication really isn’t as easy as we might first think, and I know that it is still something I (like most of us) take for granted. It isn’t until I am in a communicative situation that is outside of my usual comfort zone that I really see that I do take it for granted every day. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to Give Voice for those that are unable to do so themselves.

On another note, I’m still enjoying reading the updates from Charis and Jenny in their Chewless Challenge – it looks like they are doing really well!! I especially liked reading about their pureed food party!! If you haven’t already checked out their blog, then I’d definitely recommend taking a look!! (HERE) I’m pleased to see that they are getting close to their target of £300.

Now I’m off to get ready to go and see Kaiser Chiefs tonight (making sure that I don’t scream too much as I would still like to have a voice in the morning!)


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