Voices at work

Voices at Work – The Emergency Simulation Manager

Facilitating a simulation exercise is probably a familiar sounding activity for many learning and development professionals. Scenario-based group work is a common component of many recruitment processes, assessment days, development centres and team-building events.

But, when your participants are humanitarian practitioners, and your subject area is the serious matter of preparing to provide life-saving humanitarian aid, how you design, deliver and debrief your simulation takes on a new importance.  The simulation is the safe space in which people can practise skills and routines that, in the field, can become matters of life and death.

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Voices at Work – The Professional Mediator

Catherine McIntosh is a professional mediator. She helps people to resolve their disagreements, acting as an independent third party through a process which is less formal and less expensive than resorting to litigation or going to court. Judging from the feedback she receives from her clients, she’s rather good at it. ‘Very professional.’ ‘’Very helpful.’ We felt comfortable.’ ‘This was the first time we’d been able to talk.’ ‘You made it easy to have a conversation.’ Given that emotions run high during disputes, these are significant accolades.

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Voices at Work – In the Dentist’s Chair

The great thing about lying in the dentist’s chair is that it obliges you to listen.

And if you listen carefully, it helps you to gain a sharper (ouch!) appreciation of some of the very different forms that conversations can take.

Mary has been my dentist for years. We’ve both forgotten how many. I like the way she works for three reasons. First, she always treats you like an intelligent, grown-up participant in the business of looking after your teeth, whether the way you’ve been doing it deserves that or not. Secondly, she keeps the interventions to a minimum: she endeavours to make your original teeth last as long as they can and doesn’t undertake major bits of work until that becomes the most sensible option. Thirdly, and actually this might really be the most important reason, when you have to have an injection of local anaesthetic, she somehow manages to do it in a way that is unexpectedly but joyfully almost pain free.

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The Investigative Interviewer

With terrorism a matter of acute public concern, the latest in our Voices at Work series focuses on one of the roles in the front line of keeping us safe.

Voices at Work – The Investigative Interviewer

Neil Brewster is an investigative interviewer. If you wanted to be more sensational about it, you’d call him a professional interrogator. He is a former military intelligence operator who now runs a consultancy service for clients who place a premium on the honesty and integrity of the information provided by people. Neil carries out investigative interviews for his clients and also provides them with training and coaching in how to do it themselves. He is an expert in his field, having conducted investigative interviews in a wide range of contexts from counter-terrorism to human resource management, from the high stakes to the everyday, from interviewing terrorist suspects and incident debriefing to security vetting and assessing candidates for job selection.

vp-adminThe Investigative Interviewer
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Voices at Work – among the out-of-work

A focus on nameless people who are out of work, reveals that our voices are always at work, even when we are not.

In some occupations, perhaps most, certain voices are particularly important. Diagnosing and directing are essential parts of being a paramedic. Detectives need to probe and critique. Salespeople need to use both inquiry and advocacy. But what about the out-of-work? Are they voiceless as well as jobless?

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Voices at Work – On the Flight Deck

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking.” As you read the words, I expect you can already hear the familiar sound of the voice. The diction is crisp and clear. The accent is educated. The pace is business-like but unhurried. The message is concise and instructional. The tone is relaxed, confident and reassuring. Such is the speech of the commercial airline pilot, as much a part of the uniform as the smartly cut suit, the braid rings on the sleeve and the peaked cap. You might almost imagine that airlines carry a piece of equipment which transponds pilots’ own voices to make them all sound the same.

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Voices at Work – In Media Relations

‘Spin doctoring’ has given media relations a bad name. Even the easy way the phrase rolls off the tongue softens and disguises the nature of what it is describing. Spin doctoring is a deceptive phrase for a deceptive activity, the business of manipulation. But we shouldn’t allow the behaviour of political lobbyists or celebrity publicists to distort our understanding. Media relations is an important sphere of activity for businesses in crowded, competitive and noisy markets, and it is one where honest communication is vital, if products and services are to earn deserved reputations and maintain strong brands.

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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.

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Voices at Work – In The Operating Theatre

This is the first in a new 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, admonish (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.’

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