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The Sykes Group
2476-115 Nimmo Parkway
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Is the Spice of Outstanding Presentations:
to Creating an Engaging, Entertaining, and Persuasive Speech
by Ed Sykes
© 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
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:
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.
Punctuate Your Notes –
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.
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.
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.
to Favorite Speakers –
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.
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.
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.
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Explain Yourself! The Reason Why Excuses
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Ten Quick Tips for
Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat"
Will Help You Get Your Point Across! (Yes you can, here's the
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,
Presentation Skills, Presentation Tips, public
speaking, public speaking, vocal variety, presentations, presentation
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