At last it is considered a good thing to speak well and clearly! For the last ten years or so, if I was recording an advert, I would often have been asked to speak less well, to knock the corners off, speak more London, less posh please! … Blimey, stop sounding like Waitrose and be more ASDA!

Well, now our radios are filled with the voices of Cameron and Nick Clegg and the job market being what it is, suddenly it is okay to end your words, pronounce your t’s and d’s and form vowels in such a way that is universally understood!

In fact, it is even an advantage, because as companies scrabble for their share of the market, clear effective speech is highly prized.

What is so fascinating is how speaking well and clearly, not only gives one more confidence to communicate, but also hugely improves the person’s confidence in other areas and it really is a delight to watch somebody blossom… smile more… laugh more and generally feel better about themselves.

I went to a very blue stocking, strict girls’ school and was partly brought up by a grandmother who had been one of the first ever scholarship girls. When Dorothy Hiles went to Hereford High School in 1917 from the agricultural village of Allensmore, she was suddenly surrounded by girls who wore silk shirts rather than cotton and most of whom were from the wealthiest families in the county. Here she was brought face to face with the importance of speaking well, having impecable manners and holding herself well.

Dorothy worked hard, went to college and by the time I arrived in this world she had retired from being a headmistress. She never, however, retired from teaching her loved ones and her endless patience with me, reminding me that pour and poor; and our and are were pronounced differently; that one didn’t have a bit, but a drop of milk; was not wasted and I can honestly say I have never been nervous of speaking to anyone.

Good, clear, accurate speech is a joy to listen to and enhances all our relationships… even with ourselves.