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Janet Howd

Janet Howd

Janet Howd is a voice coach who works with corporate, academic, legal, theatrical and private clients in the UK, North America, Australia and Europe.

@janethowd website

Success depends on you

26 Apr 2017

One of the most stressful situations anyone can find themselves in is delivering a presentation. But as with any human endeavour, the key to delivering a successful outcome is simple. Practise.

Meaning what we say?

09 Jan 2017

An unintended consequence of the aftermath of the deregulation of the financial markets in the late 1980s was the deregulation of once-powerful words that has stripped them of much of their impact.

Your voice and your identity

08 Dec 2016

Technology has made it possible to identify anyone by their unique voice pattern within about three seconds. That has some interesting implications - for good and for ill.

You can't take the practice out of presenting

25 Oct 2016

Our fear of giving a presentation often means we perform well below par. But running a marathon scares people too, yet those who try it usually perform well. Why should that be?

Interconnectedness: a blessing or a curse?

12 Aug 2016

For a species that is often belligerent and territorial, it isn't surprising that human beings are finding the sudden interconnectedness brought about by technology sometimes difficult to handle.

Taking the terror out of talking

08 Jul 2016

Apple’s new Breathe app is designed to help reduce stress through deep breathing. But breathing is also critical to taking the terror out of speaking or presenting in public.

Melting pot

03 May 2016

All over the globe, attitudes to human diversity divide societies. Why are so many of us dismissive of anyone who does not carry the same cultural baggage as we do?

By their words you shall know them

22 Feb 2016

'Mis-speaking’ is an impossibility because words that go against the grain of your own beliefs just don't enter your head. Which leads me to think about the meaning behind the words of one Donald Trump.

We need to talk!

13 Jan 2016

Our growing addiction to smartphones, digital symbols and text-speech is marginalizing spoken language and risks turning mankind into a race of sedentary, picture-watching zombies.

Will too much communication kill communication?

15 Dec 2015

We are the first generation in history to have all humanity’s accumulated knowledge, quite literally, at our fingertips. But far from empowering us, that deluge of information is in danger of doing us more harm than good.

Extending your vocal range

17 Sep 2015

If you want to be heard at a distance, there’s never any need to shout. As every actor knows, projecting your voice is a question of technique and practice.

Only an emigrant?

04 Aug 2015

All humanity migrated from somewhere at some time. But as the popular songs of the 19th Century remind us, the suspicious attitudes of those already settled has always been a problem for would-be newcomers.

The best way to vent your feelings

24 Jun 2015

Just like our fingerprints, each of us also has a distinctive voice print. So let’s take a look at the human voice, how we use it and how we can best access the range of skills it places at our disposal.

How to handle a Q&A session

03 Jun 2015

It isn't just your presentation skills that can be practised and improved. How you handle the Q&As afterwards can also be planned for and anticipated so that the risk of getting blind-sided by an awkward question is reduced.

The benefit of seams

04 May 2015

What do we have against seams? Many organisations like to boast that their organisational tapestries are ‘seamless’, as if this is something that bolsters their resilience and profitability. But without seams, it is heard to adopt, adapt and improve.

Give yourself some air

24 Mar 2015

Many people get so nervous and uptight when they have to present or speak in public that they feel as if they are going to pass out. If that’s you, don’t worry. All you need to do is learn to breath.

Let me spell this out for you

09 Feb 2015

In a world of instant access to ideas and information, isn’t it time that we acknowledged that English spelling - the code we use to write down our thoughts - is well past its sell by date?

Your thoughts can catch you out

18 Dec 2014

When speaking to an audience, a little empathetic laughter can be a dangerous thing, causing even the most polished presenter to drop a verbal gaff that completely destroys the message they were hoping to get across.

The act of presentation

25 Nov 2014

Managers who are expected to give presentations can learn an enormous amount from the techniques of acting. So forget the Powerpoint slides for a moment and take some lessons from the stage...

Voicing thoughts

23 Oct 2014

Every emotion, every word and every sound you utter, from birth till death, expresses what you are, what you feel, what you think and what you do. So voicing your thoughts out loud can be a powerful and cathartic psychological tool.

Words are all in the mind

04 Aug 2014

Only words related to consciously-held ideas can pop out of a human mouth without forethought. So don’t allow sloppy thinking to distort your language and undermine the crux of your argument.

World-wide word power

09 Jun 2014

They may be separated by more than 400 years, but Shakespeare and the European Court of Justice both remind us of the enormous power of the written word holds over information and our perception of history.

More from Janet

Standing up on the job

19 May 2014

Human beings are designed to stand on their two legs. So standing up and moving around during our working day makes a job more interesting as well as being better for our physical and mental health.

Clear and present danger

07 Apr 2014

Human beings are social animals. They need real, physical contact with others, not just the often-spurious connections made online. So neglecting real connections means neglecting who we really are.

Attention is the key to the memory

07 Mar 2014

To present effectively, you need information at your fingertips. And if you want your memory to work effectively, your mind must, at some time, have paid full attention to the subject it is expected to recall later.

Keep on with the tablets!

03 Feb 2014

The iPad is nothing new. After all, writing on tablets is almost as old as the hills – except that today's tablets are altogether more dynamic, possessing the power to bring information to life and electrify learning.

Want to be a better leader? Learn to be poetic

06 Jan 2014

A key component of leadership is the ability to make sure that other people understand what you want from them. The best way to go about that is to use "the best words in the best order" - which happens to be Samuel Taylor Coleridge's description of poetry.

Google, open minds and extended life

09 Dec 2013

Google's launch of Calico earlier this year to seek new ways to fight the aging process was met with some amusement and much skepticism. But the business plan of this novel venture is by no means novelty-based.

Changing your tone

25 Nov 2013

When you listen to a recording of your own voice, it never sounds like the voice your hear inside your head. But as vocal coach Janet Howd reveals, there are ways to change this.

Learn to be wrong to get to be right

04 Nov 2013

If you really want to improve your voice and presentation skills, learning how it feels to present badly is an essential step on the road to learning how to do it well.

Keep an eye on what's going on around you

30 Jul 2013

Why do peacocks fan their tails? Surprisingly, it isn't the size or the beauty of the peacock's tail that attracts a mate - in fact the female pays little attention to it once the two are face-to-face. So what has this got to do with management?

Boxing clever

18 Jun 2013

It's been argued that the invention of containerization led directly to the modern global economy. But it isn't just the packaging of goods that matters. How ideas are packaged is equally important.

Sharing information well

29 Apr 2013

You cannot be responsible for how a person uses information you present to them, but you are responsible for delivering it in such a clear and helpful a way that they can use it if they want.

The feel good factor of voicing thoughts

08 Mar 2013

Mark Twain once described lecturing as "gymnastics, chest expander, medicine, mind healer, blues destroyer all in one" - the same ingredients that make up a successful recipie for delivering a presentation.