An often made comment about a speaker’s style might involve their “boring” presentational voice or tone. Or worse still a commentator might refer to a speaker droning on and on and on…
Unfortunately the two are often linked.
There are not many of us who have a problem with the art of conversation. Yes, there are undoubtedly some experts out there, but it isn’t something that concerns most of us. We know the rules. We know what to expect and so do our co-conversationalists.
We speak at an understandable pace and with a volume or tone that’s right. But when we take that same tone of voice into the presentation room then we run the risk of sounding monotonic and perhaps…dull? Why is this?
There is a simple reason.
Conversation Tone Versus Presentation Voice Tone
The conversation style works when you are speaking in small groups with close proximity to one another. You don’t need and certainly don’t expect drama from your interlocutors–albeit a good contentious subject will result in some drama.
But speaking at the front of a seminar room there’s a distance between you and your audience – who are not cast in the role of interlocutors. Your face-to-face positioning is replaced with a group to individual stare. The relatively flat conversational tone, fine for daily use is rendered inappropriate by the combination of distance and body positioning.
Distance and one-to-many stances amplify a conversational tone. Where it’s conversational on the front row it’s definitely monotonic and without emphasis at the back. And that’s a problem when you want to seriously engage your public speaking audience. You can try to get closer to your audience.
But no matter how close you are to the front row you are going to be further away from the second and third rows. And that can not support a conversational tone.
A better presentation solution–introduce some drama and excitement into your voice. Inject your speech with added emphasis – louder words at key moments or lower and softer phrases at others.
You should practise some exaggerated emphasis on either the first, middle or closing words in your sentences. Try practising your presentation when you are on your own at first!
It might seem strange to you–but by the time you are heard by your audience it will be fine. The added emphasis and tonal variation that you introduce to your presentation will be greatly appreciated.
You can always attend a PresentPerfectTM presentation skills course to learn new presentation skills tips.
“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”