Want to be an Even Better Celebrant?

Published: 3 June 2023

Because I’m passionate about helping people develop their voices and their communication and presentation skills, I love sharing my knowledge and experience with celebrants in training, and working celebrants. I have two aims: for each person I work with:

to have a pleasant-sounding voice; and the ability to speak to an audience/congregation/gathering of people in an interesting, natural and dynamic way. Why do I think these are important? Actually, I’d go further than that. As far as I’m concerned, those abilities are essential! Imagine that you’ve written a brilliant ceremony – covering, in a creative, imaginative way, everything your client has told you. The last thing you’d want is to present it in a lacklustre fashion – falling at the final hurdle!

And perish the thought, what if for some reason the ceremony you’ve slaved over isn’t quite as good as you’d hoped? If you can present it in natural-sounding, communicative way, it could still sound as if it’s had a light sprinkling of fairy dust.

Because they’ve had the experience of presenting ceremonies, I particularly enjoy helping working celebrants. They know from experience what the challenges and pitfalls are that they might encounter. Most of them have had celebrant training, but that doesn’t usually include adequate voice and communication coaching.

I’m scratching my head as to why this is. You’d think that preparing for a profession that involves speaking in front of an audience would make high-quality teaching of how to do that a priority! Anyone who’s had their voice trained has a competitive edge over someone who hasn’t. Their voice can be a secret weapon.

And the other – even more important – secret weapon is to be able to communicate in a natural, dynamic way. In other words, make it sound good, and make it sound interesting!

Because of their experience, when I present my ideas, techniques and advice about voice and communication, working celebrants (and ministers of the church), realise immediately how what I suggest can help them. (They often say things such as “Why wasn’t I told that when I was training?” and “Nobody’s ever pointed out that to me before”. “Oh, that’s a good tip”.) What I talk about isn’t rocket science.

(Wrong sort of rocket!)

I explain it clearly, so it’s straightforward to understand. But for most celebrants, it does take practice to put into… practice. I’ve developed exercises to help the people I’m training; and like most things in life, if they put the work in, they’ll get to where they want to be.

This ability/skill raises the way they come across to a much higher level.

That increases the chances of them getting work. And knowing that how they present a ceremony is a cut above how most people do it, gives them added confidence: which means they’re even more likely to be booked for ceremonies.

I get a real kick out of sharing my ideas. The sessions are enlightening, but relaxed and fun. (There are several comments about that on my website. For example: Paul has a very relaxed and humorous manner, which makes learning stress-free and fun. L W; His use of humour and anecdotes along with the pace of the sessions all enabled me to understand and absorb fully the learning points. A P; I can still hear his voice in my head with his brilliant advice and techniques that he taught me with such humour and care. P R

(I find that a light touch helps get my ideas across clearly.)

Maybe not as light as this!

I’ve used the vast experience I accumulated in the several voice-related professions I’ve been involved in to fashion a clear method for public speaking in general, and for celebrants in particular. (If you’d like to know what those voice-related professions are, and how they’ve influenced what I teach, check this out: https://paulrobinsonvoicecoaching.co.uk/my-background-and-celebrant-training/) And if you want to have a look at my website, it’s https://paulrobinsonvoicecoaching.co.uk/

If you’re thinking of training to be a celebrant, look here: Heart-led Celebrants – Heart-led Celebrants (heartledcelebrants.com) and Celebrant Training UK – Training Celebrants for over 20 years