Vocal Variety: Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat" Will Help
You Develop Your Vocal Variety and Get Your Point Across!
by Ed Sykes
I was recently coaching
an engineer who wanted to improve his speaking skills. After videotaping him,
we discussed his strong points and then his areas of improvement. Then we got
to the area of vocal variety. Vocal variety is the quality of your speech that
hold your audience. It is the combination of pitch changes, pauses, inflection,
rhythm, and loudness in your voice that adds "color" to any conversation or
speech. I suggested he try Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat." At that point he
looked at me like I had a third eye. I then explained how "The Cat in the Hat"
could help anyone improve his or her speaking skills, especially vocal variety,
and have fun doing it.
Can you remember being
read "The Cat in the Hat" by your parents? What held your attention? What made
you want to hear "The Cat in the Hat" again and again? "The Cat in the Hat" is
set up so that you must use vocal variety to read the story. It's the vocal
variety that held your attention.
Here's how Dr. Seuss's
"The Cat in the Hat" can help you develop your vocal variety and hold your audience's attention:
favorite Dr. Seuss books for this type of exercise are "The Cat in the Hat" and
"Green Eggs and Ham." You can go to any used bookstore and get a gently used
copy of the book at a substantial discount. You can also go to
Amazon.com and get the book at more than 50% off the price.
your children, nephews, cousins, etc. While reading aloud, exaggerate your
pitch, tone, and pauses. The children will enjoy it as you will become used to
the sound of your voice. Children are the best barometers to let you know if
you are doing it correctly. The children will have a look on their faces that
show they are hanging on every word you are saying. Continue to experiment with
different ways to read "The Cat in the Hat" while recording yourself on
audiotape. The more fun you have, the more everyone involved will benefit from
It Right Away (That's the Way!)
Immediately apply your newly acquired vocal variety skills in any speaking
situation whether it's in a meeting, with co-workers, speaking in front of a
group, or one-on-one with another person. It may feel a little strange in the
beginning. However, remember the more you use your new skills, the more
comfortable you will be.
So go out, get a Dr. Seuss
book, and improve your speech and vocal variety. You will have more people hanging on
every word, you will be more persuasive, and your speech will be
more colorful and entertaining. So do it today (It will pay!).
Suggested presentation reading:
Coming to 0rder: Five Public Speaking Lessons Learned from Judge Judy
Presentation Skills: Seven Presentation Secrets Learned from the Academy Awards
May I Have Your Attention, Please? Five Ways to
Retain Focus and Stay in the Moment
Outstanding Presentations Start in the Mind: Five Secrets
for Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety
Explain Yourself! The Reason Why Excuses Sabotage Your
Ten Quick Tips for Outstanding
How to Set Boundaries and Say No
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