19: Communicate Better with Practical Speaking Tips from Elaine A. Clark.

3 Tips for Adding Tempo Changes to Your Speech.

Public Speakers, Presenters, and Voice Actors have a tendency to speak at a steady pace and rhythm and forget to add variety to their voice when they’re giving a speech, presentation, or recording a script. Real TalkingTips Episode 19 offers communication and voiceover tips for speakers to break you out of “reading conditioning” and into expressive, real, conversational speech. Listen and practice along with Elaine A. Clark to vary the speaking pace based on three different levels of information.

S-L-O-W… Medium… Fast!
Why do public speakers, presenters, and voice actors have a tendency to speak at a steady pace and rhythm? I’m Elaine Clark, host and creator of the Real Talking Tips podcast where I offer practical advice on how to effectively get your message across and speak like a pro.

In regular conversation, people vary their speaking pace. Important information is slow. Unimportant information is fast. And normal information is spoken at a medium speed. Yet, most people tend to get trapped and forget to add variety to their voice when they’re giving a speech, presentation, or recording a script. That’s the result of reading conditioning.

Long ago, before radio became a form of entertainment, many schools taught elocution. Children in those schools were coached and instructed in reading poetry and literature aloud with clear and expressive language, as this was a form of entertainment for family and friends. In the 1920s, radio broadcasting became popular and the need for creative and engaging speaking instruction fell out of favor. Since then, most students have been instructed to read silently at their desks. And when selected to read aloud, few if any were given pointers on how to read in a more conversational manner. Especially in the younger years, teachers and parents were thrilled that we could look at a book and see Jane run. And form the words, ‘Run Jane Run’.

Fortunately, all is not lost in expressive speech and sounding real and conversational. One approach is to break out of steady speech patterns and add vocal variety.

RTT 19 - Sentence Structure:Tempo Changes

Tempo Changes: Subject –Verb – Object – Throw Away.

Let’s spend a moment in the Melody and Tempo section of my book, There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is. Here are the practice examples:

Independent Clause (subject and verb):

I got it!

Dependent Clause (needs the independent clause in addition to the subject, verb):

I got it, as I walked over to the counter.

Simple Sentence (subject, verb, and independent clause):

I got it and gave it to a friend.

Compound Sentence (two or more independent clauses joined together by but, and, yet, or, nor, for, sometimes conjunctions):

I got it but I knew that.

Complex Sentence (independent clause and one or more dependent clauses joined by a subordinating conjunction — when, where, while, before, until, as, since, if, etc. — or a relative pronoun — that, which, who, whom, whose):

I got it when Jane told me the answer to the question.

Compound-Complex Sentence (two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses):

I got it on Friday, and Jane learned it on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday since there was a lot to learn before the test.

Copyright © 2018 by Elaine A. Clark


Remember when we worked on Storytelling, Verbs, Nouns, and Sentence Balancing in Real Talking Tips Episodes 13-16? Visualization, movement, location, and emphasis impact the speech pace and timing. How we move and gesture does, too!

Bear with me now as you imagine yourself as stereo speakers. If you gesture to the right, the right speaker is more prominent. Gesture to the left, the sound focus changes to the left speaker. If you gesture with both hands, you get stereo sound where the right and left speakers are evenly balanced. Gesturing with two hands not only adds more weight and support to the voice, but the added movement slows down the pace. Therefore, important words and phrases are “bill boarded” when two hands gesture equally. Then, one speaker… or right or left hand…is either spoken at a medium speed or faster.

RTT 19 - Shake up the Speech Pattern

Real Talking Tips Episode 19 – Homework Assignment.

As discussed previously, there are multiple sentence structures. For this demonstration and homework assignment, we’ll work on the following sentence. Use two hands for the important information, one hand for the medium speed, and the other hand for the faster speed. While this system looks simple, it’s much harder than you think to become “wired for sound.” Practice these lines and other sentences with the gestures until your body instinctively knows what to do. Otherwise, this information is nice book learning but not engrained in your muscle memory.

Here we go:

I got it when Jane told me the answer to the question.”

I got it when Jane told me the answer to the question.”

“I got it when Jane told me the answer to the question.”

Elaine Clark VO Real Talking Tips 01

Move. Read. Speak. Present. Practice. I encourage you to keep improving your speech communication by watching, listening, and reading Real Talking Tips and my books and apps.. Please take a moment to share this Episode using the purple bar below. It would be great if you’d add a positive review or comment on my youtube channel as well!. As part of the Real Talking Tips community, let’s work together to improve speech communication!