"I'm not (gulp!) speaking in public."

It starts often in early school when we're called on to give an answer and someone behind us titters. It gets reinforced later when we try again and a teacher says we can do better. And then we falter during a piano recital and it crescendos further.

By the time we reach high school, the annual public speaking contests are enough to make us hide in the bathroom.

As adults, the discomfort continues. It affects us in job interviews, meetings with clients, making a sales call, having to do presentations and certainly deciding to own our own business.

That ability to connect with an individual or a crowd can be learned. And, if you're dealing with Sheri O'Shea of Voice SOS, it can be fun! The pain of raising our eyes and confronting a sea of faces can be eliminated. Learning how to use our voices, even if it's just for conversation, can open up a whole new world of possibilities. Sheri should know...

With a degree in English, diplomas in broadcasting, and theatre, and experience on stage and in radio and television control rooms, Sheri's life has centred around the spoken word. Formerly the station voice for A Channel, Sheri is using her vast background to help people shake the jitters and enjoy using their voices.

Voice SOS is her company (voicesos@rogers.com) and with Sheri's initial look-see meeting, you'll go through a discussion, an assessment and develop goals and a game plan to achieve them.

In her comfortable home office, Sheri uses a microphone, a mirror, a computer and care to coax our best from us. She offers a mini introductory session followed by packages designed to meet her clients' needs.

She helps people with speech impediments, people who need greater voice volume, people whose jobs depend on their ability to sell. She even has clients who come to her because they do readings in church and want to feel more confident when they approach the altar.

What a wonderful way to move from crushed to confident, with a cheerleader who helps you find and present your unique self.

As Sheri says, "I help people find their voices." She's right! And it's a gift to everyone who's tongue-tied.

Thanks, Sheri!

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