Sunday, January 24, 2010

New pages on the blog

The Eloquent Woman blog is expanding with new pages to provide you background on my services, trainee feedback, resources and even the backstory of the blog.  I'm delighted to share these new pages and will be adding more in the near future. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment with your suggestions about what you'd find most useful--or your reactions to these new pages. I appreciate your feedback! Here are the new pages:
  • About this blog: Read the story of the trainee who got me thinking about women and public speaking...and more about my approach to this topic.
  • Coaching and training services:  This page lists many of the skills you can learn from me in everything from message development to speech delivery.
  • Speaker resources store:  Go here to find the books, electronic tools and presentation supplies I recomment for you to buy. I'm an affiliate, which means I make a few pennies when you purchase from these links. 
  • Feedback from trainees and readers:  Here, you can see reactions to my training and coaching from men and women who've used the blog, participated in a group workshop or had one-on-one coaching from me. 

Vocal image, part 3: cadence, volume, clarity

(Editor's note: I asked vocal trainer Kate Peters to share a guest post on one of her specialties, helping speakers develop a great vocal image--and she's generously provided enough material for a three-part series. The author of Can You Hear Me Now? Harnessing the Power of Your Vocal Impact in 31 Days, she blogs about vocal impact on her blog, Kate's Voice. There's a lot of specialized information here for you. Part 1 looked at defining your vocal image; part 2 helped you discover your own vocal image, and this post focuses on how to improve.)

Working with Cadence

Do your sentences inflect up or down? Do you sound like you’re asking a question when you’re not? Perhaps you sound like you’re demanding something or giving orders when don’t intend to. When one’s voice is raised at the end of a sentence, it invites conversation from the listener. When the voice falls at the end, it sounds definitive and tends to close off comments. A good speaker knows when and how to use both types of cadences.

Working with Volume

Can you hear yourself on your voice recordings? Are you whispering? Shouting? Contrast is an important part of communication; it’s a good idea to change your volume from time to time in order to keep people’s attention. You can use volume to add drama to what you say. Try emphasizing your words by speaking more quietly at times, without diminishing the energy. Note: Speaking softly does not necessarily mean speaking with less intensity. Sometimes there can be more intensity in a quiet sound, which can also be engaging.

Working with Clarity

Your tongue and lips need to work independently of each other. If you find your articulation seems a bit “lazy,” try isolating your lips and tongue with tongue twisters. Try them slowly, repeating them several times and speeding up gradually as you improve. This is also a great way to warm up for a talk. Here are some to try:

• Unique New York

• Red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry

• Three free throws

• The myth of Miss Muffet

• Tim, the thin twin tinsmith

Final words

We all have a vocal image which others use to make conclusions about who we are and what we want. Through some simple exercises to strengthen awareness and through deliberate focus on improvement, we can make adjustments to our vocal image to match our message and intent.