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[Speaking-Out-Loud June 2014] Bye-bye monotone - boring be gone
June 09, 2014

Welcome to the June Issue of Speaking-Out-Loud's newsletter to help you effectively 'talk your walk'.

In this Issue

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Bye-bye monotone - Hello multi-toned variety

Retro graphic -woman with a piece of string tied around her finger - a reminder to add variety

How many of you struggle to listen to a speaker whose voice is, to put it bluntly, boring?

The information offered could be really good but it's plain packaging, monotone, one-note-fits-all delivery is pure tedium.

There are no highlights. You can't tell which bits are important, which bits can be safely discarded, or whether the speaker was ever actively interested in what they're sharing with you. The entire communication has been pushed through a blender; homogenized to the point where no point distinguishes itself from any other. Beginning to end - same rate, same pitch, same volume and same tone.

Sometimes the reason for lack of variety is fear. Just getting up to speak is enough of a challenge without adding an extra one to sound interesting as well.

And sometimes it's because the speaker has very little awareness of how they're being received because there is no formal feedback or evaluation offered to them. They may be conscious that something they're doing is not quite right, but they don't know what it is, or how to begin to address it.

But whatever the reason, monotone delivery acts as a camouflage - masking or hiding the true value of the speaker's communication.

If that's you, or people you work with, here's an exercise to color the voice. It's one of a series called quick easy tips for vocal variety.

Take some exceedingly dry reading matter (a telephone book, a stock market report or this piece on Google services and prepare to have fun with it.

To extract as much as you can from the exercise first of all record yourself as you would normally speak and then record all the subsequent variations. When you've finished the session you'll have a good "before" and "after" measure.

Here's the recipe.

Read the piece as if you were extremely: sad, angry, happy, bored, shy, confident, perplexed, excited ...

Give yourself as many emotional states to practice with as you can. Exaggerate them. Make them large to actively experience the differences between them.

For a variation trying reading the piece in the style of a: news reporter, DJ, racing commentator, auctioneer, weather reporter ...

PS.If this feels strange, don't worry. You are not going to lose your essential self and become a hyperactive "look-at-me" on steroids. All you are doing is chipping away the uniformly bland exterior (the camouflage) to allow the "color" of the real you to come through; the person who genuinely cares about their content, and their audience.

(The pdf download is from the 30+ collection of support pdfs that come with my Public Speaking Games eBook - getting from fear to fun in 28 ways. If you teach or lead a public speaking group, it's a great resource to have on hand.)

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What's new

A round up of pages; either revamped with added information, or new on the site

  • Voice health. Tips & essential resources (links to specialist sites) for those who use their voice professionally.
  • Speech evaluation. For folk wanting to improve their public speaking: how to get a useful evaluation, plus a downloadable evaluation form
  • Speech writer for hire. A service providing scripts for special speeches. I write, and you deliver it.

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The Great Debate

Yours truly, me, had an absolutely wonderful time at The Great Debate . (If you click the link you'll see me with my team mates.) Teams drawn from Toastmaster clubs in our area met for an afternoon of rapid round robin impromptu debating. Four hours and five debates later, we emerged as the overall winners.

What taking part reinforced (yet again) was the power of fun, and the value of impromptu speaking. There was so much laughter, as well as so much to learn from the other speakers.

A reminder that if you'd like to get in some impromptu speaking practice there are a bunch of excellent resource pages on my site to assist.

If you've got comments, feedback or questions you're most welcome to contact me through my About Me page.

If you liked this issue of Speaking-Out-Loud, please feel free to send it on to any friends or family. The site url to forward so they can subscribe is Speaking-Out-Loud.

Until next time,
Happy speaking,


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