He is the Founder and Principal Trainer of Be The Voice Academy, an award winning training centre that specialises in voice and presentation skills training. For years, he used his knowledge and expertise to help thousands convey thoughts, feelings and ideas through the strategic use of their voices. While many would have associated voice training with music and singing, he stuck to his guns, knowing there are few in the market who effectively draws the link between voice and success. Today, he has clients from all walks of life, from private to commercial sectors, from youths to Managing Directors of multinational companies.
He is Brian Lee, the man behind the tradition-defying venture.
Pic: Brian speaking at an event.
The team from Affiliate Hall had the privilege of catching up with the candid entrepreneur.
Tell us more about how you got started in this business.
Brian: We got started because we realised, in general, a good number of people don’t really speak very clearly, and usually in a way that is rather monotonous. Learning since young from my father who was a pioneer broadcaster who read Singapore’s first TV news bulletin, I had the privilege of being able to speak well. I was also able to switch conveniently from ‘proper’ to ‘singlish’ having worked 27 years in a totally different field. I thought I could put this skill to good use – teaching people to speak well in a way that is relatable and easy to understand.
How important is one’s voice in determining his or her success?
Brian: The role of one’s voice has generally been overlooked and underrated over the years. A lot of emphasis is usually placed on looks and body language. Yes, I agree that those are important features, but I think one’s voice plays a more important role because no matter how great you look and how well you’re dressed, you will still go back to square one if you’re unable to use your voice and words to effectively deliver what you want to say with conviction and influence.
Who comes for your trainings?
Brian: Literally people from all walks of life. There are sales managers looking to improve results through the strategic use of their voice. There are CEOs who, after attending one of our courses, send all of their company’s staff to our trainings. There are sportspeople and athletes; I’ve a young national sailor who came to us with his parents. I also have youths and youngsters looking to improve their presentation and speech skills.
Pic: Brian in one of his classes with the kids.
What is a typical course with you like?
Brian: We always start with the basics of articulation, pronunciation and accuracy of words. We also teach the important concept of ‘flow’. For some, as soon as they get started on articulation and pronunciation, they lose their ‘flow’. The same happens the other way round. There are people with great ‘flow’ but poor articulation. It’s usually one or the other.
We teach the methodology of how to get great ‘flow’ without compromising articulation. The goal is for the person to be able to present his message in a clear, concise and natural manner.
Once that has been done, the next step is then to teach them how to not be a ‘boring speaker’. We teach them things like adding modulations to their voice. We teach them ‘emphasis’, ‘pace’ and ‘volume expression’. We work on making sure they do not unintentionally create doubt while delivering a presentation.
Once we have shared all the theories of how to be a great speaker with our clients, we proceed to coaching them in applying the tools we’ve given. We believe that this is the most intensive portion of our program. Even though the theory can be easily understood, it’s the techniques of application that is the most difficult.
You do presentation skills training as well?
Brian: We do teach presentation skills, definitely. The thing that sets us apart is that we always believe that our voice is the key to a great presentation. As I mentioned earlier; one can have the best lines in the world. One can have the best information or be the best dressed person. If you are not delivering information properly through the strategic use of the sound of your voice, nobody is going to listen to you. This is because the sound of one’s voice aside from the words he or she speaks, accounts for 38 to 40 percent of what people remember.
At the end of the day, people don’t attend presentations to look at beautiful slides, they are there to listen to a speaker who, hopefully, is able to convey his or her message in an effective manner that is not boring but influencing.
Listening and mimicking the guy on radio, does it help me improve my voice skills?
Brian: There is some truth to that. Not everyone you hear on radio are great speakers though. At the end of the day, if someone on the radio is speaking badly, and you mimic that person, you will probably end up learning how to do the wrong things really well.
Just like going to the golf range, you practise all the time without prior knowledge or training. You hit a thousand times and out of that you got that one perfect shot, how do you replicate it? You need to have the right theory and understanding to be able to replicate that shot effectively.
Practising without knowledge is like making sure you are good at the wrong things. You need the right knowledge to get things done the correct way in which applies to voice trainings as well.
About Brian and Be The Voice Academy
Brian specialises in presentation and voice skills training. Through customized voice training, clients of Be the Voice Academy are equipped with soft skills to help them convey thoughts, ideas and feelings much more effectively and powerfully. Brian believes that speaking well is an art that can be learned. He has made it his mission, since founding his Academy, to familiarise people with the various aspects of being a good speaker of English.
To find out more about Brian and Be The Voice Academy, visit: http://www.bethevoice.com.sg/
Company Name: Affiliate Hall™
Contact Person: Teo Kianmin