Why the L? Why the L not!

Published: 2 January 2024

I’ve been doing this voice-training thing for an L of a long time, but I’m proud to say that I haven’t thrown my L plates away. I’m always open to learning new skills and ideas, and I’m delighted when I do. I can think of several things that I’ve acquired or worked out for myself over the past few years. Sometimes I’ve wondered why I’d never thought of this new knowledge, or, as in the latest case, why had it taken so long for the penny to drop?

A dropped penny (2p because of inflation)

So, what is it? … It’s… PRESENCE. Even the word itself has P R E S E N C E – especially when it’s written in a spacious way. These days, I’m working mainly with celebrants and celebrants-in-training, but this applies to anyone making a presentation in public.

Certainly, for a celebrant, the words that I associate with PRESENCE are benevolent, authoritative, accomplished, assured. A feeling that this person is in control, and has command of time and space.

They have the trust and confidence of the listener. The celebrant creates an atmosphere into which the listener is drawn. The result is that they hang on to your every word, following the feelings and moods that those words may conjure – whether serious or lighthearted.

Another conjurer

Several factors help in achieving PRESENCE. By thinking your way through what you’re saying, you create that time and space.

A well-known time-and-space man

Being very familiar with what you’ve written helps you to present the words in a spontaneous-sounding way that gives the feeling that you care about what you’re sharing. (Sharing, rather than telling! I’ve chosen the phrase ‘sharing, rather than telling’ carefully, because it ties in with the feeling of the listener being drawn in.)

Maybe this one’s over-thinking his way through it

Taking your time as you welcome the people attending the ceremony is important, as is the way you hold yourself (posture), and how you breathe. All these contribute to an unrushed presence. (Part of what I teach is the relationship between posture, breathing, and feelings. They’re inextricably linked.)


It’s not that I haven’t been teaching presence, it’s just that I haven’t used the word in the way that I think about it now. For some time, I’ve been coaching the methods that I’ve described in the previous paragraphs, but something happened recently when things came together, briefly and almost out of the blue, for the person I was working with. He went from sounding as if the words he was speaking were controlling him, to appearing to be in complete charge of what he was saying. How he was coming across was immediately transformed from someone who was rather struggling, to him appearing to have great presence. All those words I’ve mentioned, such as benevolent authority, accomplished, assured, and trust, applied to how he was speaking.

Go to the top of the class

(Actually, my students are always top of the class, because I teach one to one – on line or in person.) So there you have it. I’ll definitely be hanging on to the L plates, and trust that I’ll have many more revelations and penny drops.

I offer a free no-obligation chat (phone or Zoom) so you can see whether you’d benefit from working with me. Often, the answer is yes. I work on a session-by-session basis. Some people book just one, and take it from there. Others commit to between two and four sessions. I charge £70 for a one-hour session. (And as someone remarks in the testimonials, I’m generous with my time.) I send an email after each session with a summary of what we worked on. When you get to four sessions, you get a fifth one, free of charge.

This blog tells you why I’m highly qualified to be a celebrant voice, presentation and communication coach. https://paulrobinsonvoicecoaching.co.uk/my-background-and-celebrant-training/

Website: https://paulrobinsonvoicecoaching.co.uk/


07469 957 199

For full one-on-one celebrant training, see Heart-led Celebrants – Heart-led Celebrants (heartledcelebrants.com)