It isn’t every Elocutionist who can seamlessly shift the gears of your speaking skills. But this is the primary part of Olubukola Rukayat Agbalaya, The diction queen.
She is differentiated by her expertise combined with her ability to get into your mind before your head. She is the founder of Fluent Speech Educational Consult, a speech and reading organization that helps professionals and individuals hone their speaking and reading skills.
Olubukola has written 4 books, ranging from worksheets to teachers’ guide. Her last book, Speak it Right, is an audio book. She has trained hundreds of professionals online and offline.
In addition to being an elocutionist, she is an audiobook narrator and a reading & learning specialist. She enjoys helping children and adults with reading difficulties to become fluent in a space of few months.
In this Interview with Oyinlola Sale, she explains how she became the Diction Queen.
You are called the Diction Queen, because of your excellent delivery as an elocutionist in Nigeria, now how did you arrive here?
As the first child of a family of six, I learned early enough that I wouldn’t get anything on a platter. I knew I needed to prove myself. So, the name “Diction Queen” came from years of hard work, consistency and discipline. I worked for it, and still working to retain it . It’s hard to be an Elocutionist in this part of the world, and I was given a thousand and one reasons why I won’t succeed as an Elocutionist. The fact that our people hide under the mediocrity that English isn’t our fathers’ language is an excuse to stop funding the dream. But I know what I wanted, and I’m determined to make it a reality.
What impact has your company, Fluent Speech Educational Consult made in the Educational sector?
In the Educational sector, it is evident that there is a yawning gap between English pronunciation and other aspects of the language. At Fluent Speech, English Diction is one of our pillars. Our job is to bridge the gap between distinct English pronunciation and poor pronunciation. We are committed to helping executives, professionals, individuals and children polish up their spoken English. We help speakers become fine, powerful and eloquent speakers. We have even able to help over 10,000 executives, professionals and young children improve their spoken English, public speaking skills and poise.
We also take literacy intervention courses for children and adults; and the outcome has been satisfactory and fulfilling.
Over the years, you have written 4 books, but your recent one is Speak it Right, tell us about it?
The Speak ITRight audiobook makes a best-selling author. The audiobook was created to help anyone who wants to learn the correct pronunciation of words conveniently and in a simplified way. The audiobook contains over two hundred (200) commonly mispronounced English words.They have been compiled in alphabetical order to make it easier for you to search out, study and pronounce properly. It also contains tips to help you speak right. Each word is transcribed using the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) and it includes a simple explanation of the word in layman’s language. An audio CD is attached which is a pronunciation guide for all the words highlighted in the booklet. The audiobook has sold over 1500 copies within and outside Nigeria. The soft copy is also available.
You are also an Audiobook Narrator, how do you infuse your emotions verbally?
The secret is my understanding that uttering words with right emotions is the ultimate way to touch people. I have a finely honed skills at understanding where to apply emotion or take on the story I am telling or the character I am inhabiting. I understand that reading words with a clear diction isn’t enough so when it’s time to add emotion I make sure I add it authentically.
Illiteracy in this part of the world is a major issue, what has your Organization done to curb it?
Curbing illiteracy isn’t a walk in the park. In truth, Illiteracy is a problem that strikes every community – even highly educated countries. At Fluent Speech Educational Consult, we promote literacy both online and offline through our seminars, trainings, workshops, competitions conferences and corporate social responsibility. We create supports for schools, individuals and organizations – which has proved to enhance the status quo. Some months ago, our CSR was at AOCOED International School to influence the learners’ Diction and reading skills. Interestingly, our objectives were met and the impact was satisfying.
What did it take for you to become a TEDX trained Speaker?
It took a lot but most importantly, my love for sharing ideas, as the TedX slogan stated – ideas worth sharing made. This made me seek how to become one. The truth is information is powerful. When you have the right information, you would break boundaries. I seeked the information, took action and I did it… “A TEDx trained speaker”. I am looking forward to the opportunity of being a speaker at a TEDx speaking engagement soon.
What are some of the challenges you have faced along the line in this business?
I have faced numerous challenges which makes me feel tired, frustrated and sick sometimes. Amongst those challenges is dealing with those set of people who hide under the mediocrity that the English language is not our fathers’ language, even when English is unanimously made the official language of the nation.
What is your growth projection for Fluent Speech Educational Consult in the next 5 years?
Fluent Speech Educational Consult is an organization built on God’s direction..at Fluent Speech, we work with a-list executives, professionals, organizations, schools and individuals. In the next 5 years, we want to be one of the best Elocution, public speaking and reading intervention academy in Nigeria.