A Very Christmas-y Cure to Monotone

One of the most common questions I get from my clients is:

How do I break the habit of speaking in monotone?

I can be presenting on the most interesting subject in the world, but when I start to speak in my boring voice, I see everyone’s eyes glaze over. 

When I try to add more vocal variety, I feel weird and fake. HELP!

Do you relate to this? 

Do you fear that your vocal style is that of Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

Bueller? Bueller? 

Never fear! I’ve got a yuletide cure for monotone coming your way!

Let’s break this down for a second:

What is “monotone”? 

Monotone describes a continuing sound, especially of a person's voice, that is unchanging in pitch and without intonation.

So, what’s the cure for monotone? 

Adding variation in pitch and intonation! 

See, wasn’t that easy?!

I kid, I kid!

Kind of…

See, here’s the problem: 

We know the cure to monotone is adding variation to pitch and intonation, we just feel super weird and unnatural when we do it.

And that’s because most adults only use about 10% of their vocal range on a daily basis. 

In the boardroom, monotone may be boring, but it also feels safe

Most of us would prefer to have our peers tune us out than think we’re over-the-top.

Which is where this holiday-themed tip comes in: 

When you’re trying to improve your vocal expressiveness, don’t practice with adults.

Practice with kids. 

This holiday, grab a niece or nephew and a wintery classic! A few great options include:


  • The Night Before Christmas
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Meet the Latkes
  • The Snowy Day


You will be AMAZED how natural it feels to add vocal variety when reading these books. In fact, children demand it! 

Your Grinch better be a growly bass, otherwise you’ll hear cries of “Do the voice! Do the voice!”

And I dare you to read “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” and not drop down into a suspenseful whisper. 

Children expect expressive storytelling. If you’re looking to break your monotone habit, they will be your best coaches. 

Now,  if you’re looking to master the art of storytelling for adults, I’ve got another Christmas present coming your way…

Make sure to mark your calendars for our upcoming workshop: 


“Storytelling Mastery: The Art and Science Behind Irresistible Storytelling” 

Few things are more powerful than a well-told story.

Told correctly, the stories we tell others have the ability to empower, challenge, and connect us. That's why knowing how to tell a great story is such a powerful tool for public speaking.

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • How to craft the kinds of stories the human brain is hard-wired to respond to
  • The performance techniques used to create “Stage Presence” (it’s easier than you think)
  • The science behind effective storytelling, and how harnessing the power of story can allow you to connect and build trust with audiences and become known as a thought leader in your field



Date and Time

Sat, Jan 11th, 2019

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT


Shaktibarre Harlem

2272 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd

New York, NY 10030



Register Here!

Space is limited, so make sure to reserve your spot ASAP!

Come prepared to play! During this workshop we'll be journaling, doing exercises on our feet, and generally having a rollicking good time! 

Won't you come join us? Set yourself up for success in the New Year and register today

Hope to see you there!

Photograph of Sara Glancy on stairs
Headshot by Jessica Osber.

Sara Glancy is an NYC-based actor and public speaking coach and the founder of Speak Masterfully, a service that helps professionals take the stage with less fear and more fun! 

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