Speech and Elocution

Coaching in Sunningdale ~ Ascot ~ Berkshire ~ Surrey ~ Hampshire ~ Borders

Improving vocal clarity, strength & expression

Improving pronunciation & articulation

Accent softening & modification

Overcoming stammers and other speech difficulties

Improving personal impact and vocal confidence

Vocal care and maintaining a healthy voice

What is Elocution really?

Elocution means different things to different people - and not all of them helpful! You might have images of Eliza Doolittle or the BBC English of Harry Enfield's Mr Cholmondley Warner, but that’s not what it’s really about.

Elocution is simply the skill of clear and expressive speech. It comes from the latin eloqui, which just means ‘speak out’, and which is also the root of our word ‘eloquence’.

Far from being outdated then, in our modern world where our personal impact and ability to communicate are increasingly important, more and more people are recognising that this skill of clear and expressive speech is essential in their everyday lives.

A recent study reported in The Independent showed a significant increase in the number of people seeking help with their elocution, so you are by no means alone if you have similar concerns. The most common reasons cited include a lack of confidence in their voices, fear of speaking in public, dissatisfaction with accents and difficulties finding a job or progressing in their career.

How can Elocution Lessons help?

Many of those seeking help with elocution are business managers and professionals, including company directors, doctors, lawyers, teachers, even ministers of religion. Others include students and recent graduates looking for their first step on to the career ladder, and parents looking to help their older children prepare for oral presentations and university interviews. The current state of the job market appears to be fuelling this demand as people fear they are being hindered in their search for jobs or held back in their careers because of the way they speak.

So elocution lessons are for anyone who wants to improve the clarity and expression of their speech and develop confidence in being properly understood. If that includes you, below are some of the ways I can help.

Vocal clarity, strength & expression

This is the heart of elocution lessons with me. It is not about one way to speak, but about speaking clearly and precisely. This means:

  • Learning how to use your voice and words to communicate better.
  • Identifying your 'bad habits' and how to avoid them.
  • Working on the intonation and emphasis you put on particular words and how that might be improved to better convey your meaning.
  • Looking at your rhythm and pitch of speech, speeding up or slowing down, raising or lowering, how you use pauses etc.
  • If you tend to mumble or speak too quietly, looking at voice projection and vocal strengthening exercises.
  • Diction, ie your choice of words and phrases, if you are fed up finding yourself regularly misunderstood.

Pronunciation & articulation

  • Identifying and removing errors in pronunciation and speech.
  • Exercises which will strengthen the use of your tongue, lips and jaw so that your articulation improves.
  • Learning to recognise tricky sounds and pronounce them with greater confidence

Accent softening and modification

In this exceptionally competitive world, there seems to be an increase in people looking to lose regional accents in an attempt to improve their career prospects. This is a difficult issue. I would not wish us all to speak the same, and certainly not to be turning out a brigade of Mr Cholmondley Warners! But what this desire does illustrate is the undoubted importance of clarity of communication and the use of 'proper English' in order the 'get on in life'. It enables us to be more easily understood and to be taken seriously in the job market, as well as in education and our personal relationships.

I don't think that 'proper English' and regional accents are mutually exclusive, but I do think that if you have concerns, some softening and modification of particular sounds and ‘quirks’ can be helpful, and sometimes essential, particularly where bad habits and laziness have crept in!

We can work on your particular concerns to achieve improvement that remains natural.

Overcoming stammers and other speech difficulties

I am not a speech therapist and my methods are different, but I have worked with many adults who have particular difficulties to improve their speech. This includes looking at how to slow down speech, to control breathing and the way you form words.

These may not entirely get rid of a stammer but do reduce its impact, softening the sound of the difficulty, reducing its frequency and aiming to give you a feeling of greater control over your speaking which, in turn, reduces the anxiety that can exacerbate the difficulty.

Improving personal impact and vocal confidence

  • Helping you to be more self-assured in your speaking and delivery.
  • Identifying the source of mumbling and monotonous speaking and ways to engage your listeners better.
  • How you use your body to support your improving speech.
  • How you project your voice and use volume, speed and pauses to increase your confidence.

Vocal condition and maintaining a healthy voice

I believe that the clarity of your speech also very much depends on creating the right conditions for your voice. Throughout our lessons I will help you identify the ways in which you use your mouth, throat, head, neck and your whole self that might be interfering with your speech.

What happens in an Elocution Lesson?

I will work with you to identify your problem areas and guide you through new or modified ways of speaking, with exercises and discussion and some hands-on guidance.

We will work through exercises for you to repeat and practise. The aim is that the stronger and clearer speech you are learning will become natural to you over time and become part of your daily speaking.

As the Alexander Technique creates the conditions for improved use of your speaking voice, I always incorporate some Alexander work into each (adult) lesson. 

Lessons are always individual, one-to-one, so that I can give you complete personal attention, working on your particular needs and adapting as these change. Adult lessons are usually one hour; lessons for young people are usually shorter.

My teaching room in Sunningdale provides a comfortable and peaceful environment - this tends to help my clients feel relaxed and to enjoy coming to their lessons.

Appointments & Fees

Speech and Elocution Lessons for Adults
1 hour : £50.00

Speech and Elocution Lessons for Children and Young People
30 minutes : £30.00 

Appointments in Windlesham are available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday.
Some early evening and Saturday appointments can be made. 

07502 304035


Flat 8
Fairway House
London Road

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