Using talk

Our Voices Leak Information

This latest blog comes from guest contributor, Dr Silke Paulmann, who is Professor of Psychology at the University of Essex and an expert on the ‘non-verbal’ aspects of the human voice and the vital part they play in communications.

Claire KnightsOur Voices Leak Information
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3 New Year Resolutions for Committed Communicators

If you’re interested in VoicePrint, you’re likely to be someone who not only wants to be a good communicator personally, but also shares our ambition to see improved communication on a much wider scale, between individuals, within organisations and across societies.

On the VoicePrint blog we will continue to publish pieces designed to support and enable improved communication and interaction at all levels. There will be more case studies, more illustrations of ‘voices at work’ in particular roles and contexts, more features with practical guidance on how to develop specific voices for particular responsibilities, occasions and purposes.

But the world goes into its new calendar year at a time when authentic, principled and genuinely useful communication seems in many ways to be under pressure and in real danger. So in 2018 the VoicePrint blog is going to make three highly relevant issues the focus of special and sustained attention.

vp-admin3 New Year Resolutions for Committed Communicators
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Must Try Harder, Mr Paxman

I’ve been wondering why I found this week’s television interviews of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn by Jeremy Paxman so hugely disappointing.

The problem, I think, is that Paxo’s interviewing didn’t manage to give us deeper insights into the two party leaders and how their minds work.

His starting point was promising: he had direct, provocative and potentially uncomfortable questions for each of them about why they had once said one thing about a major issue and were now saying something very different. Good start. We have a right and a need to know why our would-be leaders have changed their minds on important topics, and more broadly on how they arrive at judgements on big, complex issues.

vp-adminMust Try Harder, Mr Paxman
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A Negotiator’s View of Brexit

Brexit Negotiations and the Theatre of Managing Expectations

I used to do a lot of negotiating.

I spent years in industrial relations management back in the 1970’s, when it was a particularly live affair, industrial disputes were commonplace and wildcat strikes were so frequent that they were known as ‘the British disease.’ Forty years on and I expect the European Union, or at least those charged with its management, are now describing Brexit as ‘the British disease.’ They’ve certainly made it clear that they don’t want it to spread or to see more exit doors opening.

vp-adminA Negotiator’s View of Brexit
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Talking Collaboration

3 patterns of working together to create productive conversations

It can come as a shock to discover that others find you less co-operative than you think you are. One reason for this mismatch of understandings is that people can approach collaboration in radically different ways. The purpose of this paper is to call attention to three of those ways, so that the collaborative intent implicit in these approaches can be recognised and utilised rather than being misconstrued or lost.

The three patterns presented here are all active forms of collaboration. Passive forms, such as taking care to preserve a relationship[1] or exhibiting a willingness to compromise[2], are not unimportant, but are of less immediate interest and use, precisely because their success is even more dependent on the reactions of others. The focus here is on what you can initiate yourself: how to speak, what to listen for and how to cultivate particular, productive patterns of dialogue.

These three patterns have all been observed in the course of working with individuals and their VoicePrints. What follows is a short description of each pattern, its merits and demerits, and the circumstances in which it is likely to be effective.

vp-adminTalking Collaboration
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Voices at Work – In the Recording Studio

This is the second in our series of features illustrating the use and importance of particular voices in different occupations and contexts.

Freeland Barbour is, although he is too modest to say so himself, a highly respected and internationally acclaimed composer and musician, who works primarily but by no means exclusively in the musical tradition of his native Scotland. A former BBC producer, he continues to produce records as part of the portfolio of creative interests that make up his career.

vp-adminVoices at Work – In the Recording Studio
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Talking with the Brits – the problem with indirectness

Oh hi, hello. I was hoping to bump into you. Not literally of course. It’s just something I needed to say. But how are you? I wondered if we might have a little chat. And how’s the family? Good, good. What did I want to say? It’s not a big deal. Well, it’s quite a big deal. But not huge. It’s just something I think we both need to be a bit clearer about.

No. Let me start again.

We Brits tend to have difficulty being direct. Not all of us. Some of us can be spectacularly rude, perhaps from a sense of being superior to everybody else or because we think that’s what is meant by ‘being authentic.’ But most of us struggle with it. We British are generally uncomfortable with speaking directly.

vp-adminTalking with the Brits – the problem with indirectness
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Voices at Work – In The Operating Theatre

This is the first in a series of features illustrating the use and importance of particular voices in different occupations, if you’ve got a great example of voices in action, let us know on twitter or linkedin.

Chantelle Smith is a ‘scrub nurse’ who has worked in a variety of roles in different hospitals. Her operating theatre experience is both broad and deep, with experience in  clinical areas including colorectal, bariaritrics, hepatobillary, ear, nose & throat, plastic surgery, gynaecology and robotics. As a senior theatre nurse she has a leadership role.

While she makes use of all nine voices, the dominant voices in her profile are to advise, direct, advocate, articulate and challenge. It’s a repertoire well-matched to the demands of an environment where the implementation of standard procedures to the specifics of individual cases requires the surgical team to sustain an ongoing, moment-by-moment balance between knowing the current ‘position’ and acting to maintain ‘control.’

vp-adminVoices at Work – In The Operating Theatre
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Japanese Ambassador gives Master Class in Communication

If you didn’t hear yesterday morning’s Radio 4 interview between the BBC’s John Humphreys and the Japanese Ambassador to Britain, you missed a master class in good communication. It’s worth listening to, because we’re all going to have to pay a lot more attention to the quality of the dialogues surrounding the implementation of the Brexit vote, if that complex process is to take place in a spirit of co-operation, development and resolution rather than remain stuck in the simplistic exchange of rhetorical sound-bites which characterised the pre-referendum debate.

vp-adminJapanese Ambassador gives Master Class in Communication
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