in conversation with Monique Rissen-Harrisberg

Are you scared of public speaking? Do you need to improve your accent? Would you like to improve your confidence? If so, The Voice Clinic is here to help.

"We train from bottom to top in an organisation, and we believe we still have an enormous amount to contribute to our nation," says founder and CEO Monique Rissen-Harrisberg. "I want people to be ambassadors of a well-functioning society. I want them to fulfil their potential and be articulate, confident, caring, well-spoken, reasonable, and empowered."

How it started

Rissen-Harrisberg studied at the University of Cape Town, receiving a Bachelor of Arts (with majors in English and Drama) and an Honours Degree in Theatre Directing. She also completed Associate and Licentiate Diplomas in Speech and Drama Teaching from the Trinity College of Music in London.

She founded The Voice Clinic in 1988, identifying a need in the market for the introduction of specialist communication skills training programmes for individuals and groups. Since then she has been at the forefront of creating public awareness of the need to improve and develop speaking skills.

Make Yourself Heard
"I used my voice to convince a few clients to attend training at our offices, which didn't exist at the time," she says of the company's beginning. "Once I had secured the clients I managed to get a three-month lease on offices in Tamboerskloof. And although we have four branches around the country, and outlets in Sydney and Melbourne, we are still in the same Cape Town offices some 28 years later!"

Strong emphasis on women's empowerment

Rissen-Harrisberg places a strong emphasis on women's empowerment and has developed specialist training programmes for women in business. These help them in developing the confidence, communication, and public speaking skills necessary to achieve peak performance and act as role models for young women.

"I learned that one has only oneself to depend on when making things happen, and that if the world doesn't support you in your endeavours, that doesn't mean you cannot be successful," she says of the challenges she faced when starting the business. "I learned about the power of the mind, resilience, and not letting anything knock you down."

The ability to speak effectively is rewarding

Every day, Rissen-Harrisberg receives letters from people who start winning public speaking competitions and awards; individuals who get awarded a top position in a company as a result of interview training; and individuals whose business and sales results improve as a result of developing their ability to speak effectively.

"By developing their voices, confidence, and self-esteem, we have enabled them to be more successful and happier than they would have been," she says. "For me, the feeling that others have improved themselves and their lives as a result of The Voice Clinic is so incredibly rewarding."

-BY: EUGENE YIGA | 7 OCT 2015 06:54

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