Avoiding Monotone Mumble

Avoiding Monotone Mumble! How to Speak More Clearly

Avoiding Monotone Mumble

How public speakers can speak more clearly to be heard

Tips on making your speech sound less boring and monotone

I went to a seminar recently, and listened to three presenters speak on a truly interesting subject. 30 seconds into Speaker #2, my mind started wandering and I totally lost interest. When Speaker #3 took the podium, I was back on target, attentive and involved in the message. What was different? I couldn’t hear Speaker #2! His voice was soft, causing me to strain to hear him. He mumbled his words so his message was lost. Other times he spoke so fast that his words bumped into each other, making them unintelligible.

The speaker had Monotone Mumble! These 4 easy tips can help you avoid Monotone Mumble: 

Loosen Your Articulators

1. Loosen up your Articulators

Your tongue, lips and jaw are all part of the articulators, the physical structure that produces speech. It is important to keep them relaxed in order to produce clear speech sounds.

A tight jaw produces careless, sloppy speech.

Open your mouth. Keep your lips flexible. Be sure your tongue is positioned where it needs to be to produce the sound that you want. As you’re practicing your speech, spend some time relaxing these important speech articulators. Pay as much attention to the clarity of your words as you do to the structure of your text.

A good way to do this is to practice your speech out loud while slowly exaggerating the individual sounds of the words. Make sure you are well hydrated. Exaggerate your words, exercising your articulators into the optimum position for speech production.

Remember Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady? Henry Higgins had her repeat “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” for hours at a time. It was only after endless repetition and exaggeration of the vowel sounds that she got it. 

It takes practice to develop clear articulation, but the results are well worth the effort.

 

Vary Your Rate

2. Vary Your Rate.

Some people speak so fast that it tires you out. Others plod along at such a slow pace that you fall asleep waiting for the next word. What’s a speaker to do?

If you speak too slowly your audience will be bored, their minds will wander and their thoughts will race ahead of your words. If you speak too fast, the audience doesn’t have enough time to absorb the impact of your message. They may still be trying to savor the implications of your story while you are rapidly moving on to another point. 

To be most effective and avoid a monotonous delivery, you need to vary the rate of your speech.  Achieving a perfect balance of rate of speech can be a challenge.

Generally, your pace will coincide directly with the mood of your message.

A slow rate conveys contemplation, nostalgia, and dreaminess.

A rapid rate conveys urgency, fear or excitement. You can change the meaning and importance of words by saying them quickly or drawing them out. For the greatest impact, vary your rate by slowing down and speeding up at critical points.

Slow down when you are making an important point or when you are about to deliver a punch line to a joke. Use a more rapid rate when you are relating something that happened quickly or listing minor, non essential elements to your message.

By varying your rate of speech your audience will stay awake, alert and attentive. Stop. Go. Slow down. Speed Up.

 

Speak Up!

3. Speak Up.

All that time you spent writing and practicing your speech, making sure your words are pronounced clearly, and matching your rate to your message will be wasted if your audience can’t hear you. Before you take the stage, make sure you can be heard throughout the room.

A good sound system is essential. I’m sure you’ve taken time to test the microphone, but a great deal of the volume of the vocal output depends on you. Breathing is necessary for producing and sustaining sounds. Failure to breath properly is the leading cause of poor volume.

Many speakers speak from their throats. The breath should start in the diaphragm with the air moving into the lungs and out of the throat where the sound is produced.  Many breathing exercises are available to help you regulate your breathing to produce a pleasant volume.

All of them start with a well hydrated throat and a relaxed jaw and body. Practice keeping the sound out of the throat to avoid vocal strain and hoarseness. 

Stand tall. Breathe and speak on the breath. Be sure to position the microphone in such a way that it does not pick up your breathing sounds. 

 

Record Yourself and Listen Objectively

4 Record & Listen to your Speech.

Your words sound very different to you than they do to an objective member of the audience. Read your presentation aloud. Record it. Then take a seat at the back of the room and listen to you as an objective observer. Pretend you had never met the speaker or heard the presentation. Be totally objective and honest.

Were there any boring sections? Did your mind wander? Did you understand each word? Were the words pronounced clearly and distinctly? Did the rate keep your mind interested? Did the rate of speech reflect the tone of the message? Was the volume appropriate?

By listening critically you can identify some of the weak areas in your speech, correct them, evaluate your delivery and avoid monotone mumble.

Remember: If your audience doesn’t understand what you are saying, your message is lost.

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Help Me Present!

Upload

  • ADB
  • ADP
  • ADT
  • Accenture
  • American-Express
  • Aramark
  • Carvel
  • Comcast
  • Costa
  • Cox
  • DAI
  • GE-Healthcare
  • GTE-Financial
  • Gtt
  • Johnson-and-Johnson
  • Markem-Imaje
  • Motorola
  • NASA
  • Office-Depot
  • Oracle
  • Polo
  • Republic-Services
  • Ryder
  • Siemens
  • Singlehop
  • Software-AG
  • TD-Waterhouse
  • UBS
  • VTiDirect
  • Venn-Strategies
  • Verizon
  • Whirlpool
  • “We engaged The Presentation Team to do a Presentation training for our team and he did a great job. He spent time understanding our requirements and the skill level of our team members and created a course which met our expectations and goals. I highly recommend The Presentation Team as a Presentation (PowerPoint) trainer.”

    Navdeep Sidhu
    Senior Director, Software AG

  • “Kevin Lerner provided best-in-class services when hired to work on promotional materials for the launch of a key product at Motorola. The expertise and quality that he brought to the project were second to none and as a result, he delivered a top-notch presentation that was quickly adopted throughout the organization. Kevin is great to work with, delivers on time, is a great team player and is always willing to go the extra mile.”

    Maria Cardoso
    Motorola

  • “Kevin has been a working with Cox Communications to deliver world-class PowerPoint presentation visuals since 2009. His ability to meet our specific needs, timeframe, and budgets has been exceptional. His professional interaction with our team reflects his deep expertise in the industry, superior presentation design skills, and commitment to superior service.”

    Jonathan Freeland
    VP, Video Marketing at Cox Communications

  • “Kevin is an enthusiastic, creative, and passionate presentation guru. Our company was impressed and felt the value of his training in 2013 that he was invited again recently to again share his knowledge. Both times he has been energetic and addressed many areas for presentation development. From planning to follow-up Kevin is personable and easygoing, motivating our teams to take their presentations to the next level.”

    Yoshimi Kawashima
    Project Coordinator, Nissin International

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from tips & tricks to aesthetics, all with the intent of getting the message across crisply and creatively. I’ve already received praise for decks that incorporate the skills obtained from his training. I highly recommend Kevin’s services.”

    Era Prakash
    General Electric

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “The PowerPresentations seminar opened my eyes to all the limitless possibilities in presenting.”

    Leah Gordillo
    Saint Francis Medical Center

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “[Kevin and The Presentation Team have] always delivered 110% in terms of meeting our objectives for finished product and budget”

    Paul Price
    Watsco Corp.

  • “I had more people come up to me after I spoke, commenting on the visuals you created, than I did on the subject matter!”

    Andy Smith
    Smith & Robb Advertising

  • “As a Fortune 1000 company, we sought to produce a classy, yet conservative presentation for our shareholders. It was evident that you and your team listened to our thoughts as you developed the presentation…”

    Will Flower
    Republic Services

  • “Your expertise in the filed of PowerPoint and general presentation techniques helped elevate us to the level necessary to beat the competition.”

    Mike Geary
    James Pirtle Construction

  • “Kevin brought a high level of creativity, enthusiasm, and deep multmedia experience to our team. He worked dillegently with the team to produce an outstanding proposal which we subsequently won.

    Jeff Keller
    Accenture/L3

articles education experts help power point powerpoint ppt presentation software presentations tutorials

Planning a Perfect PowerPoint – 7 Point Checklist

How public speakers can speak more clearly to be heard Tips on making your speech sound less boring and monotone I went to a seminar recently,...

Read more

bolts presentations business presentations nuts storytelling storytelling techniques storytelling tips

15 Actionable Storytelling Tips You Can Use Today

How public speakers can speak more clearly to be heard Tips on making your speech sound less boring and monotone I went to a seminar recently,...

Read more

add sections in powerpoint 2010 how to add presentation sections how to rename presentation sections PowerPoint 2010 powerpoint sections ppt rename sections in powerpoint 2010 sections in powerpoint working with powerpoint slides

Organize Your Presentation With Sections in PowerPoint 2010/2013

How public speakers can speak more clearly to be heard Tips on making your speech sound less boring and monotone I went to a seminar recently,...

Read more