(Fujita)Hello, everyone watching us online. Welcome to WEEK 3 of our “Interactive Teaching” Skill Sessions. Today, we’re going to learn about voice. Hello, everyone. (Students)Hello. (Fujita)So, today’s topic is “voice”. We are often asked about problems related to voice when we run workshops for teachers. Could you raise your hand if you are worried about your voice in any way? Quite a few of you. Thank you. What is it you’re worried about? (Student)The quality of my voice – whether I’m able to make myself understood. (Fujita)Quality. (Student)I feel uneasy about that. (Fujita)About whether you’re making yourself understood with your voice. How about you? (Student)Well, I’m worried about the clarity of my voice – whether I’m directing my voice properly. (Fujita)Whether your voice is clearly directed at the listener. These are problems of utterance and articulation, which are often the main problems for people who have concerns about their voice. TV and radio announcers and actors are the people with the most distinct utterance and the clearest articulation. They have gone through voice training which requires one or two years even at the basic level, with hours of exercises every day. For those aiming to become university faculty, however, I think there are other options apart from voice training. After all, you’re not trying to become announcers or actors. Therefore, it is important for you to make it a goal to learn how to speak in order to make yourself understood instead of how to speak correctly or beautifully. So, what does it mean to make yourself understood? You can check if you’ve made yourself understood by observing your audience’s reaction. You can check by asking, “Can you hear me?” Even if you can’t speak clearly, you can ask the audience, “Did you understand what I said?” to figure out if you communicated successfully. If they say, “No", then you can try saying it carefully one more time. If they say, “You spoke too fast”, then you can try speaking more slowly. There will be no problems as long as you work on improving your weaknesses. Therefore, the first step to speaking in a way that ensures you’re understood is to observe the audience’s reaction. You shouldn’t turn your back on the audience when giving a lecture, because you will won’t be able to see their response. You need to deliver a class while observing the students’ reaction. Ask if they can hear you and see how they react. You should start with this. At the beginning, they may point out various problems, such as “I can hardly hear you". What you should do is remain open to this kind of feedback and improve. You can improve your voice-related problems one by one in this way. As an easy exercise for today’s session, I’d like us to look at the differences between speaking and writing. There are written language and spoken language. What are the differences between them? You have a handout there – take a look at it. This text is written language. It is a passage about musicals written in a formal style. I’d like you to rewrite this into simple spoken language and make a presentation to everyone. I am giving you one minute and after that I will ask some of you to give your presentation in front of us. Please start. You can rewrite the passage in your own words, or you can ask questions to gauge the audience’s reaction. Just remember that you need to make this text easy for all the students to understand. And keep in mind that you should speak in a way that allows you to be understood easily. Time’s up. This time, let’s start with this table. Our eyes met. Please come up here in front of the class. Everyone, let’s give him some encouragement. Watanabe will be one of the students again and listen to your presentation. Don’t look at your script. No, I’m kidding. Either way is OK. You can look at the script or not. Just try and give an engaging presentation on this topic. Go ahead. (Presenter)Hello, everyone. (Students)Hello. (Presenter)I love musicals, and I often sing at my friends’ wedding receptions. Today, I would like to talk about musicals. When you think of musicals, what kind of things do you imagine happening on the stage? (Student)Singing. (Presenter)Yes, there are songs. Thank you. What else? (Student)Dancing. (Presenter)Yes, there’s dancing. Thank you. Can I ask one more person? (Student)Singing, dancing, (Presenter)and…Singing, dancing, and…? (Student)Playing instruments? (Presenter)Playing instruments, music. Thank you. There are many things going on. It sounds like you imagine a musical as a mixture of songs, music, and dancing, but there is one more thing. Musicals also have a story. Protagonists experience a variety of things in the story. They get mad, sad, or fall in love. Those feelings are also a component of musicals. Musicals are a form of entertainment composed of movement, music, dancing, and a story with feelings. (Fujita)Thank you. You did a great job! What did you have in mind when making your presentation? (Student)I thought that if I explained everything at the beginning, there would be nothing to ask the audience, so I asked a question first in order to get everyone to think about musicals. (Fujita)I see. Letting the audience speak before you speak is a high-level technique for giving a talk. What I thought was good in relation to your voice was that you spoke directly to a member of the audience and asked, “What do you think?” The way you directed your voice was good. You had good utterance and directed your voice appropriately. The direction you project your voice is important. For example, could you say hello to Nakamura-san? (Presenter)Hello. (Fujita)Now say hello to everyone. (Presenter)Hello. (Fujita)Now say hello to the people watching this online. (Presenter)What!? … Hello. (Fujita)So, in this way, your voice changes according to the direction you’re speaking in. (Presenter)It’s quite embarrassing. (Fujita)I assume that last one was the most embarrassing. (Presenter)I’ve never done anything like that before. (Fujita)I see. Your voice conveys your feelings, which means that you communicated all those feelings of embarrassment in your voice. (Presenter)That makes me feel more embarrassed. (Fujita)I’m not surprised. It’s important for you to consider the direction of your voice. Keep in mind whether you’re speaking to one person or to the whole audience. Today, the audience is of this size, but suppose you were teaching a class with 100 people in a lecture hall. Imagine that situation and say hello to the audience of 100 people. (Presenter)Hello. (Fujita)That’s it. Imagining the situation helps you change your utterance. Hassei (utterance) is connected with hasso (imagination). What is it you want to convey, and what image do you have when you speak? Who would you like to direct your voice toward? The more concretely you consider direction, the more you can articulate appropriately. Today, you spoke in a good voice, and received a big round of applause from the audience. Thank you very much. Let’s choose the next presenter from this table. You looked like you wanted to do this presentation, so it’s your turn, Teramoto-san. Come up to the front. Please give her a big hand. Are you ready? (Presenter)This is quite a big challenge for me. (Fujita)Give it a try. Please start. (Presenter)Hello, everyone. Hello. Today, I would like to talk about what musicals are. Have you ever seen a musical? Everyone, OK. Musicals include things like music, songs, drama, dancing, and also a lot of different emotions. What kinds of emotions? Can you give me some examples? (Student)Sadness. (Presenter)Sadness. What else? (Student)Love. (Presenter)Love. What else? (Student)Joy. (Presenter)Joy. How about you? (Student)Light. (Presenter)Light. That sounds like it must be a feeling of hope. As you all mentioned, there are various kinds of feelings, from positive ones to negative ones. Musicals express those feelings with words, music, and movement. (Fujita)Thank you. What was the point you wanted to emphasize when giving your presentation? (Presenter)I wanted to make the presentation into a kind of question and answer session. I also wanted to make it clear which direction I was talking in, although my eyes wandered a little bit. (Fujita)I see. I noticed that you asked a question at the beginning, just like the previous presenter. What I would like to point out is that it’s important for you to pause. Pausing means waiting for a response. In this case, the pause would be the interval between a question and the answer. It looked like you were nervous, and you seemed to be rushing the audience member to answer at the beginning. People new to public speaking are likely to be afraid of silence. Silence makes you want to say something to fill it. That often leads to lectures filled with a huge number of “Uhs”, and “You knows”. It’s very important not to be afraid of using silence. There’s one more thing I wanted to point out of you – that is, you were speaking a little too fast. (Presenter)Yes. (Fujita)Speaking too fast often becomes a problem. Many people are likely to talk too fast. What you should do, instead of trying to calm down, is be conscious of the shape of your mouth. Open your mouth vertically as much as you can. That naturally makes you speak slowly, which will allow you to calm down and enunciate distinctly. To sum up, project your voice far out, and don’t be afraid of silence and leaving long enough pauses. I would like everyone to be aware of these points. Teramoto-san, you were extremely brave in accepting the challenge and trying to take a step forward during your presentation. That was a great job. Thank you very much. We had two presenters today. Both of them were good at making presentations, so it was hard for me to give advice. Your voice is not something you can improve immediately. As I mentioned, you must go through a process of observing the audience’s reaction – finding out if they can’t hear you, for example – recognizing your weaknesses, and improving them. Do not neglect this process, and be sure to stick to it. Direct your voice forward, don’t hesitate to pause, and speak slowly with your mouth vertically open. I look forward to seeing you in next week’s session. That’s all for today. Thank you.