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?
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!
See, here’s the problem:
It's time to own up...
Last time I updated the blog, I gave you my go-to exercise for curing "uhs" "ums" and"likes" in a prepared speech.
(Need a refresher? I'll give you a hint: The exercise is called "Beat the Buzzer.")
At the end of that article, I promised I'd come back next week to reveal how to get rid of those pesky filler words in extemporaneous speaking.
a very long...
Now, is it possible I forgot to hit the "schedule" button on the following blog?
BUT, wouldn't it be more exciting if this long pause was intended to illustrate a point?!
(Let's go with that.)
Because guess what?
When it comes to extemporaneous speaking, the #1 cause of filler words is:
The "uhs", "ums", and "likes" usually creep in when we're unsure of what to say next.
We use filler words as a crutch to help us avoid silences.
Buckle up for week 3 of our on-going blog series:
You ready for tip #3?!
Okay! Here it is:
“Don’t be nervous!”
Wouldn't that be an incredibly unhelpful tip?
Let's talk for a second about why “don’t be nervous” such an unhelpful piece of direction to give someone.
Because it’s inactive.
In general, humans aren’t great at processing negative direction.
For example: Don’t think of an alligator.
Similarly, a doctor trying to improve a patient’s diet will probably have greater success with the prompt “Eat more vegetables” than “Eat less junk food.”
A lovely side-effect of eating more vegetables is that people naturally eat less junk food, but it’s much easier to get them there with an active prompt.
It's week 2 of our cheeky blog series:
and it's time to talk about our pre-speaking warm up!
I'll be doing a video series demoing some of my favorite physical and vocal warm-ups down the line, but today we gotta talk about an essential and too often skipped step of the process...
Who's ready for a pre-speaking mini-meditation?!
WAIT, WAIT, DON’T SKIP THIS PART!
I promise I’m not going to suggest a daily hour-long transcendental meditation practice.
(Although, if you’re into that, by all means go nuts!)
Look, I know that slowing down and focusing on your breath is probably the last thing you feel like doing when those pterodactyls are flapping around in your belly. (Some people talk about butterflies in the stomach, but I think pterodactyls are a more accurate description.)
But at this point, the scientific benefits of meditation when it comes to...
Please...Don't picture the audience in their underwear.
I’m not sure where that advice initially came from, but I guarantee you there are more effective (and less creepy) ways to calm your public speaking nerves.
How do I know? I’m an actor.
Hi, I’m Sara Glancy, founder of Speak Masterfully. I received a BFA from NYU Tisch School for the Arts in Making a Fool of Myself in Public. (Okay, it was in Drama, but those are basically the same thing.)
And here’s something that might surprise you:
Even after 5 years touring and performing Off-Broadway, I STILL get nervous before stepping onstage.
Yep. Like clockwork, the curtain rises, the heart-rate quickens, and the butterflies flap.
In fact, most actors get pre-show jitters. You learn to get comfy with those nerves and let it fuel rather than derail your performance.
But here’s something that surprised ME:
The first time I stepped onstage as an...