Posted: 25 May 2018

Finding out how I could help

Serena Gay used her expertise as a voice over artist to train volunteer speakers.

How I got involved as a volunteer

I got involved with The Children’s Society after meeting someone who worked in fundraising at a business fair and got chatting with her about the charity. It was then that I realised I could do something useful as a volunteer using my public speaking expertise.

With over 20 years’ experience working in voice overs and teaching others in broadcasting in both the UK and abroad, I thought I could use this background to help others. 

In order to do this I ran a session with a group of students at University College Birmingham who were going to be volunteer speakers for The Children’s Society. In preparation for the session I had spent a couple of hours developing role play ideas we could use and a typed up a handout.

During the session I got them to talk about who they think is a great public speaker and why, and about their own fears concerning public speaking. Then we discussed the kinds of audiences they will be addressing and the material they need to convey and talked about the need to adapt the material for the audience.

I gave them some tips on breathing and enunciation as well as exercises to do at home to strengthen their voices. We also did some role playing and ended up with each student making a short prepared address to the class about a troubled child and how The Children’s Society could help him or her.

Having worked globally, I am used to teaching people who do not have English as a first language, which was the case for many of the volunteers I was working with.

A success

It all seemed to go well and I was delighted with the way each student made their final presentation – seemingly without any nerves at all although many had confessed at the start to zero public speaking experience and serious nerves at the prospect!

You can speak to The Children’s Society to find out how you could use your skills to volunteer for them.  

By Serena Gay - Guest bloggers
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