By Paul Robinson

Paul is the voice-and-communication coach for Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training. He also coaches celebrants already working, and other people who are interested in improving their voice and communication. You can find him at

I know there’s a perfectionist in me, bursting to get out of the bottle. I try to keep the cork in place so that doesn’t happen. It can be a tussle between that part of me, and the part of me that’s writing this. Mind you, Mr Perfectionist is a very good mimic, and sometimes, somehow, I think he sneaks out of the bottle and cunningly takes over when this part of me isn’t looking.

And then he wreaks havoc, holding me back, putting the brakes on, when I could be getting on with life and doing the things which bring me joy. I wonder how you feel about that? I’m doing voice and communication sessions with someone at the moment who’s a successful celebrant. He has plenty of bookings, his phone rings a lot. So why is he working with me? That question’s even more pertinent when I reveal that he’s in his 60s!

Perhaps he, also, is a perfectionist with an uncorked bottle? Well, he’s not. He’s decided that although he’s doing well, he senses that he can ‘raise his game’ in a few areas. If that is the case, he’d like some knowledgeable guidance as to how he can enhance his skills, because. as often happens, there’s no one he knows who can give him a well-informed opinion.

And why is this important to him? There are a few reasons. He takes personal and professional pride in what he does. He has no intention of being perfect, knowing that that’s impossible, but he wants to fulfil his potential. (To do that, he needs to be helped to identify his potentials.) And because he takes the vocation of being a celebrant seriously, he wants to do his best for his clients. He knows how important each ceremony is, and he feels the sense of responsibility that comes with the territory.


It can be a fine line between wanting to do your best and needing to be perfect, and this person has it just right. I admire his attitude to celebrancy, and his willingness to give anything I suggest, a go. When I work with people, whether in person or online, I’m careful about what I ask them to do. Exaggeration and fun, with the right client, can be great tools – both for voice work, and for the communication side of things – because when an exaggeration exercise is over, the person doing it tends to retain a little bit of what they were exaggerating, so they end up beginning to acquire the new skill being worked on. I try and tailor each session to the individual client, and this man is reaping the benefits of his desire to be at his best without seeking perfection. His eyes are opening to his possibilities, he’s enjoying himself, and he’s fired up with enthusiasm for the future.