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How can I have more influence?

How can I have more influence? It’s an important question in a crowded, noisy, competitive world.

In theory there are many sources of power and influence: position, expertise, association, reputation, and of course wealth, if you’re lucky enough to have it. But most of these are difficult to acquire and highly dependent on the support or goodwill of others. Yet there is one source of influence that is uniquely within our own control: the power of the spoken word.

vp-adminHow can I have more influence?
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When is a question not a question?

We all do it…
We ask a question when, in our heads, we have something else we want to say.

“What do you think about that new restaurant down the road?” I ask my husband.

In VoicePrint terms, a simple, open-ended inquiry you might think.

My husband, wise to the ways of the world (and, in particular, those of his wife) knows better than to fall for it.

“That’s not a question” he states using the voice of Challenge “what you really want to say is ‘I’d like to go to that new restaurant down the road’”.

And he’s right. Add mind reading to his already long list of accomplishments…

vp-adminWhen is a question not a question?
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How To Set Better Agendas

A common recommendation on how to improve meetings is to ensure that they have a clear agenda. Other bits of good advice then include sticking to that agenda and making sure that you deal with the most important items first. But here’s a further suggestion that can make a huge difference when it comes to making meetings more productive.

vp-adminHow To Set Better Agendas
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How coaches can make Chemistry Meetings useful

As a coach I’m often asked to have a ‘chemistry meeting’ with a prospective coachee.

Chemistry Meeting is a phrase that has come into fashion in recent years, but it’s never been very clear what it actually means. This piece offers some clarification and some advice.

Personally, I find the notion that you can ‘have’ any sort of meeting rather strange. It suggests that meetings are something you can possess, rather than what they really are, which are somewhat unpredictable interactions created as they go along by the people taking part. Meetings are essentially dynamic, their qualities emerge from the process; we should not expect their outcomes to be fully within our control. So when someone says, ‘It’s my meeting,’ that doesn’t give them control; it only gives them the primary responsibility for facilitating the interaction to make it productive.

vp-adminHow coaches can make Chemistry Meetings useful
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Voices at Work The Hotel Receptionist

A look at the Voices at Work for a Hotel Receptionist

Claire is a hotel receptionist. She works in the West of Scotland, but listening to what she is saying, you could be in a hotel lobby anywhere in the world.

‘Good afternoon, how can I help?’

‘I need the credit card you intend to use and I need you to sign this form here and here.’

‘If you’re planning to dine with us this evening, may I suggest you make a reservation, as the restaurant is expecting to be quite busy.’

The Inquire, Direct and Advise voices: the stock-in-trade of the hotel receptionist’s interaction with guests.

This is speech which might sound too straightforward to hold much interest. But when you pause to reflect on what makes it seem so ordinary, you start to notice how it highlights important features and differences in how talk can be used.

vp-adminVoices at Work The Hotel Receptionist
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Literacy and Numeracy are not enough – we need Oracy too

This is the latest in our series of blogs about helping young people to find the voices they need. It takes the form of an interview with Junaid Hameed, a school student and alumnus of the English-Speaking Union’s public speaking programmes. It shows how teaching oracy skills can develop the range and impact of a young person’s VoicePrint profile.

vp-adminLiteracy and Numeracy are not enough – we need Oracy too
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Duncan Partridge – International Educationalist & VoicePrint Practitioner

Duncan Partridge is a VoicePrint Practitioner with a particular interest in developing the communication skills of young people.

His expertise lies in the fields of International Education, Teacher Training and Educational Leadership. An experienced teacher himself, with first-hand experience of working in Africa, South America and Western Europe, he was formerly Head of the Halcyon London International School, shortlisted for the Innovative school of the Year Award by the Times Educational Supplement.

vp-adminDuncan Partridge – International Educationalist & VoicePrint Practitioner
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It’s the way that you say it: young voices in action

Duncan Partridge, Director of Education at the English-Speaking Union, on how being more aware of our speaking styles can help us to communicate more effectively

We are living through an age where we’ve never had more information or more opportunity to debate the issues of the day. At the same time, somewhat paradoxically, many would say that the quality of public discourse around the world is at an all-time low. Why is this?

Has overload led to dysfunction? Are we living in digital echo chambers where we only ever hear our own views repeated back to us? Or are we becoming naïve and passive consumers of information, manipulated by peddlers of fake news and sophistry? Whatever the case, perhaps a more important question to ask is: what can be done about this?

vp-adminIt’s the way that you say it: young voices in action
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What sort of communications problem have you got?

All organisations have the problem of communications, but what sort of communications problem have you got?

It’s an inevitable by-product of sub-dividing effort. Splitting work into different functions, departments and roles creates differences of priority, attention and concern. It not only produces unintended barriers to the flow of communication, but also real inter-personal tensions and active differences of opinion, arguments and conflicts that need to be recognised and resolved.

The other reason why all organisations have a problem with communications is that individuals differ enormously in how they go about these things. While there is only a limited number of different ‘voices’ – or modes of expression – that we can use (VoicePrint identifies nine useful voices and a further nine dysfunctional ones), individuals tend to draw on them selectively and then exhibit many, many different ways of deploying the particular ones that they prefer to use. The result is that we often talk at crossed purposes.

vp-adminWhat sort of communications problem have you got?
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Five Trends Raising the Importance of Employee Voice

Yes, I know. There’s been a surge of interest in internal communication in the last couple of decades. There are now around 50,000 people in the UK alone involved in developing employee communication. Employee attitude surveys are commonplace whereas they hardly existed until the early 1990s. A new vocabulary has emerged encouraging managers to think in terms of ‘internal marketing’, ‘aligning’ employees with Mission and Vision statements, ‘empowering’ them and most recently ‘engaging’ them. But the fact is much of this internal communication directed at employees has been a lightly disguised form of progaganda.

vp-adminFive Trends Raising the Importance of Employee Voice
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