Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Powers of speech UNLOCKED. Here’s how you can overcome the curse of monotony! [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]

June 16, 2021

Monotony.

—the sameness of a pitch or tone in a sound or utterance (Google Dictionary).

If you listen to a speaker who speaks monotonously, how long do you think can your attention last?

5 minutes?

15 minutes?

30 minutes?

Monotony in public speaking is boring. It not only makes an audience fidget on their seats, eager to leave early, but also limits the impact of a speaker’s talk.

According to Dale Carnegie, the author of “The Art of Public Speaking,” monotony is one of the most common issues among speakers.

He said that a monotonous presenter “not only drones along in the same volume and pitch of tone but always uses the same emphasis, the same speed, and the same thoughts.”

Here are 3 main patterns of a monotonous speech or presentation:

  • All words are pronounced with the same vocal power, tone of voice, and pitch level.
  • There’s an incorrect use of pauses or there are no pauses at all.
  • The speaker doesn’t show the “color” or emotion of words.

As a speaker, these are some of the things you have to look out for and avoid if you don’t want to see your audience zoning out or checking their phones frequently while you deliver your talk.

How can you overcome what Carnegie calls, “The Curse of Monotony?”

  1. Enunciate. Articulate your words clearly.

    You have to pay as much attention to the clarity of your words as you do to the structure of your talk.

    Open your mouth, keep your lips flexible, and make sure your tongue is positioned properly to produce the sound you want.

    Then…

    As you practice your speech or presentation, spend some time exercising the articulators mentioned above.

    One good way to do this is to practice your talk out loud while articulating the individual sounds of your words. Another option is to do a tongue twister exercise before rehearsing!

    Below are a few tongue twisters you can recite repeatedly:

    The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.

    How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?

    Rory the warrior and Roger the worrier were reared wrongly in a rural brewery.

    Make sure you are well hydrated as you do this exercise. Open your mouth properly and pronounce every word well to prepare your articulators for optimum speech production.

  2. Add variations to your pace.

    Another way to avoid a monotonous delivery is by varying the rate of your speech or presentation—meaning, not consistently too slow or too fast.

    While achieving a balanced pace can be quite challenging, doing so will help you and your audience get on the same page in your discussion.

    Generally, this has to coincide with the mood of your message.

    For example:

    A slow pacing may indicate contemplation, nostalgia, or dreaminess.

    On the other hand, a faster pace may convey urgency, fear, or excitement.

    For better impact on your audience, add variations to your pace by slowing down or speeding up at some important points in your talk.

    By not remaining stagnant in your presentation tempo, you’re helping listeners stay alert, awake, and attentive throughout your presentation.

  3. Pronounce at least one word using a different tone.

    Placing emphasis on certain words in your speech or presentation adds extra energy to your message.

    This helps sustain the audience’s attention better compared to simply pronouncing every word in just one tone.

    Example:

    Our sales are improving to the tune of a 20increase this year.

    Our sales are improving to the tune of a 20% increase this year.

    Our sales are improving to the tune of a 20% increase this year.

    Those in bold format are the parts where you can emphasize the words or change your tone of voice.

    It’s up to you to identify what part of your talk you want to highlight. As long as you don’t use the same voice tone all throughout your speech or presentation, you won’t fall into the trap of monotony.

  4. Include gestures to your speech or presentation.

    Moving as you speak boosts your overall energy level and makes you more likely to add variations to your speech or presentation.

    Aside from that, incorporating appropriate gestures into your talk helps you emphasize a certain point or topic. This also aids in capturing your audience’s attention and making your message easy to recall.

    On the contrary, restraining your movements as you deliver your presentation makes you boring and less attention-grabbing. This restraint will also be seen in your voice tonality and overall pronunciation.

    When this happens, your listeners might get an impression that you haven’t prepared well for your talk and could lead them to lose interest in what you have to say.

    What’s one thing you can do to prevent this from happening?

    Be confident, move around whenever possible, use appropriate presentation gestures, and allow your voice to naturally move up and down to match your movements!

  5. Be excited and passionate about your talk.

    Before you go up on stage, go over the main themes and topics in your speech or presentation.

    Immerse yourself in the subject you’re about to discuss.

    As you deliver your talk, channel your inner passion and enthusiasm for your topic for greater impact.

    By injecting excitement to your presentation and allowing that to be evident as you speak, it will be easier for you to become more lively and less monotonous as you present.

    On the other hand, if you don’t care about your topic, you’ll appear uninspired and uninspiring in front of your audience.

    To maximize the impact of your speech or presentation…

    Tap into your passion, get excited to be able to deliver an important message, and find joy in what you’re doing!

As Dale Carnegie states in his book,

“We obviate monotony in dress by replenishing our wardrobes. We avoid monotony in speech by multiplying our powers of speech. We multiply our powers of speech by increasing our tools.”

Part of increasing your public speaking tools is by mastering the tips mentioned above!

Once you’ve done that, you’ll no longer have a hard time dealing with monotony in your speech or presentation.

Apply these tips as you prepare for your next public speaking engagement!

You’ll see—these guidelines will help you gain variety in your powers of expression!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”

In a meeting with one person

…a boardroom with five people

…or a huge venue with hundreds of people

—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.

No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.

What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?

Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.

The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.

(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)

Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.

Have that advantage.

Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!

Cheers,

Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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