Now this tip is all about one of the most important parts of the How of presenting, namely your voice. We all have various qualities to our voices, various characteristics so we can vary, alter, use it in different ways.
The first one I’d like to talk about in this tip is the pitch and intonation. Your pitch is the high and the low of your voice, the intonation the music in your voice. What do you think happens when people are nervous and don’t want to be there? You can’t answer me back on here, but I will tell you, it goes flat, it goes monotone, and this you want to avoid at all costs because it will just send your audience into a deep trance. Instinctively we know that speaking in a flat voice is boring, but the word monotone is very close to the word monotonous which means the same thing.
I heard on BBC Radio 4 a few years ago, they were interviewing on the Today programme, which is one of our most highly respected political chat shows, they were interviewing the winner of the Worlds Worst Speaker competition, the most boring speaker in the World. They said “Congratulations Mr Smith, you are the most boring speaker in the whole World, how do you do it?” and he said “It’s very simple, most people in this competition make the fundamental mistake of picking a really boring subject, I don’t, I pick a really fascinating subject, one that is guaranteed to rivet people. But then I play back the recording and if I notice any change in speed, any change in pitch, I eliminate it all and I deliver the whole thing in a complete monotone and I guarantee to send people to sleep in three minutes.”
So pitch and intonation is one of the most powerful things for you to consider when you are presenting, and you need to vary it, vary it more than you would in every day conversation.
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