Last month, we were privileged to have a professional voice/speech coach, Anna Bernstein, volunteer to address one of our client workshops and share her thoughts about how people can improve the power, flow, and impact of their verbal presentation skills. Not surprisingly, Anna’s presentation was a big hit and her delivery style can best be summed up as, well, downright impeccable!
One of the best parts about Anna’s presentation, however, was that it didn’t just focus strictly on the content element of speaking effectively, but also discussed the underlying physiological and neurological aspects that support quality verbal communications, as well. This unique dual approach and resulting insights were all the more credible given Anna’s background both as a successful Wall Street stockbroker, as well as a professional singing coach for many years.
A few of the top tips we gleaned from Anna’s presentation include:
— When sharing your name or phone number with somebody, slow down and use a different pitch for each different syllable; it will help the listener understand and remember your name better
— When drafting your elevator pitch, decide which words of each sentence are the most important ones, underline them, and then place the emphasis directly on each of the key power words you’ve identified
— If you want to find areas of improvement in your speaking patterns, and are brave enough, use a tape recorder (or your own voicemail) to leave yourself messages and hear how you sound; it won’t take long to identify where your speaking skills might need to be improved or tightened up!
And now, our favorite one…
— When you speak, visualize your words as a string of pearls leaving your mouth, pearls that you are actively shaping, polishing, and rounding to perfection as they come out; or alternatively, try visualizing your voice as a surfer riding a wave, since this will infuse your speaking with more pitch and inflection
One other important fact Anna pointed out was the notion that when you speak, you’re not actually talking to a person, per se, but to their brain — and brains quickly become bored once they think they’ve “figured out” a simplistic speech pattern! So if you feel that people tend to tune you out or not pay as much attention to your stories as you’d like, it may well be that you need to mix up your inflection and sharpen your delivery style in order to keep those brains out there interested!
Looking for more advice on how to improve your verbal communication skills and speak with more power and confidence? Take a minute to check out Anna’s “Speaking Matters” website, here, to read more about her capabilities and the programs she has available for both individuals and organizations…