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The Sykes Group
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Presentation Skills

 

Vocal Variety Is the Spice of Outstanding Presentations:

Seven Secrets to Creating an Engaging, Entertaining, and Persuasive Speech

by Ed Sykes

copyright © The Sykes Group

 

I was recently coaching one of my presentation skills students, and he shared that during a business meeting he was following another speaker. Just before he was to speak, one of his colleagues asked him the following question:

 

“You are not going to be boring, are you?

 

Knowing and seeing my student in action, I knew he was not boring. I suggested to my student that what the questioner was really asking was, “You are not going to be like the last speaker I heard with their monotone presentation style, are you?”

 

Just as spices make your favorite meals more delicious to eat, vocal variety, the way we use our voice, vocal rates, pitch, tone, pausing, makes your presentation appetizing to the audience’s ear. When using a monotone voice to convey your message, you will lose your audience and your message will lose its power. When you use vocal variety in your presentation, you create a more engaging, entertaining, and persuasive audience experience.

 

The following are seven secrets to developing your vocal variety and giving an outstanding presentation every time:

 

  1. Read a Children’s Book Out Loud – Children’s books are wonderful tools for working on your vocal variety. If read correctly, you will see the wonder in a child’s face as you share the excitement of the story. The same holds true when you tell a story when presenting to an audience. By using your powerful vocal variety skills, you will engage the audience with your presentation.

 

Read a children’s book out loud to your children or friends. My favorites are Dr. Seuss’s “Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” because Dr. Seuss’s writing style forces you to work your vocal rates, pitch, tone, pausing, etc. You can’t read his books in a monotone voice and be successful. Explain to your friends what you are trying to accomplish with the reading. Read out loud and have fun.

 

  1. Punctuate Your Notes – Use bold face, underline, and italicize key words in your speech so that you know when to accentuate key words. Add extra space or add additional dots between words or sentences to show pauses. Customize your annotations to fit your needs in front of the audience.

 

  1. Tape Yourself – The best investment you can make is a digital recorder or camcorder. These tools will give you a true reading of your speaking ability. Record different versions of your speech until you achieve the version you want to use.

 

  1. Seek Feedback – Work with a “presentation partner” who will give you earnest, constructive feedback. But most importantly, have the courage to listen to the nuggets of help and act on it.

 

  1. Listen to Favorite Speakers – Pick two or three favorite speakers that you enjoy listening to, and analyze what make them good speakers. Ask yourself what vocal techniques they use to engage and entertain their audience. Then, challenge yourself to adapt those techniques to your speaking style.

 

  1. Master the Pause – In today’s fast-paced world of fast solutions, fast information, and fast television and movies, we rarely have time to pause. Pausing is one of the most powerful tools to engage your audience. Learn to pause before an important statement to add impact to your statement. You can use pauses for a shift in your presentation to let your audience know that there is something different coming up.

 

  1. Create Drama – Along with working with a presentation skills coach, take a drama or acting class. A good drama class will teach you the secrets to interacting and engaging the audience. You will learn how an actor uses their voice to get the audience to feel a certain way and react accordingly.

 

Developing your vocal variety skills will enable you to take your presentation skills to the next level. Use vocal variety to entertain, engage, and move your audience and you will be a great speaker who will own any audience.

Additional Presentation Resources

 

Ten Powerful Presentation Skills Secrets to Outselling the Competition

How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking in Seven Powerful Steps

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

Explain Yourself! The Reason Why Excuses Sabotage Your Success

E-mail Protocol – 12 Simple Rules to Stay Connected

Common Courtesy Isn’t So Common – 10 Telephone Blunders in Everyday Business

Verbal Faux Pas – The Words You Use Can Empower or Confuse

Bite Your Tongue! 10 Ways to Be an Effective Listener

Five Secrets to “Thinking on Your Feet”

Ten Quick Tips for Outstanding Presentations

Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat" Will Help You Get Your Point Across! (Yes you can, here's the plan!)

How to Set Boundaries and Say No

 

Keywords:  Ed Sykes, Edward Sykes, The Sykes Group, Communication Skills, Speech Preparation, Speech Visualization, Take control of the audience, Empowerment, giving great speeches, connect with the audience, vocal variety, overcome nervousness, Presentation Skills, Presentation Tips, public speaking, public speaking, vocal variety, presentations, presentation

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