I just finished a weekend with Steve Siebold and Dawn Andrews at the Bill Gove Speech Workshop. This is the premier workshop for speakers worldwide and has been for the last 63 years. I now understand why it’s so esteemed. The content is very rich.
When you go through a learning experience like this people ask you what you learned. It’s a natural question. I’m going to share one essential point here that I need to accept as an area I need to work on with my speaking and that’s sameness.
What is sameness? It’s when you present using one style the whole way through your speech. We all have a comfortable style of speaking – and it might be very good. Your voice is clear and easy to listen to and your pace is good – not too fast. That’s important. We need to get here first before we can grow beyond it. But once we’re there here’s what happens; we present in the same tone and at the same pace through our whole speech.
Sure we have those few moments when we get animated and our voice rises or emotional points where our voice drops to a hush. There are also those times when we intentionally slow things down to emphasize a key phrase or bit of dialogue. What you need to consider is whether these moments are occurring often enough in your speech to keep your audience engaged. I suspect that I”m not injecting enough of these moments in my speeches.
That’s okay if your talks are 5, 10, 15 minutes, but if you’re presenting for longer, you’re going to lose your audience. They’re going to fall asleep, look at their BlackBerry, or check their watch. Count on it.
Bottom line is to check yourself for sameness the next time you rehearse. You do rehearse, don’t you? If you’re not sure if you’re guilty of this, record your next presentation and watch yourself. How often are you mixing up your delivery style? I’d be happy to watch your recording and give you my humble opinion if you’d like it.
Vanquish this enemy and you’ll be on your way to improved speaking.