20: Communication Tips for Public Speakers, Podcasters, and Voiceover Actors.

Lists can turn off a listener if you don’t know how to change the speech rhythm and focus of the key words. Lists need their own location, meaning, and musical placement. Lists shouldn’t be spoken with one repetitive sound and tempo. List items shouldn’t be lilted upward unless the intention is to bore the audience. Lists need their own tempo and focus. There are four different and distinct list types. Noun lists focus on people, places, and things. Verb lists require action. Modifier lists clarify the merits of the person, place, location, product, or service. Laundry lists offer multiple options and expectations.

Join host Elaine A. Clark in Episode 20 Real Talking Tips as we explore ways to say lists with more meaning and impact.

Lists are Boring. Say Lists Faster.
Lists. Who likes to hear them? Who likes to say them? Hi, I’m Elaine A. Clark with Real Talking Tips offering practical advice on how to engage your audience and speak with more impact. Episode 20 is the third of a five part mini-series on adding Tempo Changes to your speech.

Lists are often a thorn in an audience’s side. Parents gave children a list of chores to do. Teachers spewed off a list of assignments for the next day. Bosses give employees checklists to accomplish. No wonder we tune out when we hear a list. Yet, lists are an everyday part of communication. We need to-do lists, grocery lists, business milestone lists, party lists, home repair lists, and countless other lists throughout the day. Few people jump for joy when asked to make a list. There’s usually a feeling of resistance and dread when asked to make a list. So, when lists are spoken there’s usually a ‘listing sound’ and upswing in the voice similar to the uptalk discussed in Real Talking Tips Episode 6.

Lists need their own location, meaning, and musical placement. They shouldn’t be lumped into one repetitive sound and movement. And each item on a list definitely shouldn’t be lilted upward unless your intentions is to have the audience be bored, too.

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Do You Know the 4 Different List Types?

There are multiple types of lists: Noun, Verb, Modifier, and Laundry Lists.

  1. NOUN lists focus on people, places, and things. If you incorporate the concept we discussed in Real Talking Tips Episode 15, you would point to the location of each person, place, or thing. These actions mimic a choir director conducting a choir. Alternating hands as you point to each noun adds additional specific musicality to each separate list item. Gesturing with the same hand has a tendency to lilt the words upward and connect them together so they sound like a group of unimportant ‘stuff’ rather than individual unique items.
  2. VERB lists require action. That means that in addition to the alternating hand location, a specific and unique physical action is needed on each verb. These movements don’t have to be big as we discovered when we compared the difference between Active and Non-Verbs in Real Talking Tips Episode 14. They just need to represent the action in the verbs. And the action should only be on the verb and not spill over onto the noun. Otherwise, the message becomes muddy and confusing.
  3. MODIFIER lists clarify and extol the merits of a product, service, location, or person. Corresponding hand movements and gestures should demonstrate the quality, size, amount, shape, texture, weight, or other important unique attributes or comparative differences. Modifiers are focused audiences that are familiar with that particular noun, know the verb action, how it works, and how to use it. Modifiers focus is on the unique and special attributes that make people, things, locations, and services stand out.
  4. LAUNDRY LISTS are a long list of items. The list includes a wide assortment and gamut of possibilities and offerings. It’s a way of throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. The hope is that something or someone in that long list of possibilities will capture the audience’s attention.

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TIME TO PRACTICE: Noun, Verb, Modifier, and Laundry Lists.

Once again, it’s time for you to put this Real Talking Tips Speech Communication micro-learning lesson to practice. You can find the scripts we’re about to work on in the Episode 20 blog page of my website ElaineClarkVO.com/podcast. The purpose of Real Talking Tips is to not just provide information but to give you an active Speech Communication and Voice-Over assignment to practice in each episode. I don’t mean just one time. To get “wired for sound” you need to keep working on putting these speech communication movements in your body so the words, actions, and emotions work together. While my background is as an actor, voiceover performer, coach, and educator, these skills transcend the voiceover world and build confidence and clarity in all speaking situations, whether it’s in business, personal life, or entertainment.

Now it’s time to practice shifting the focus and alternating hand movements of specific words in a list depending on the purpose and desired response. Remember that lists are spoken at a slightly faster pace than the rest of the information in the sentence.

1. NOUN LIST: Blueberries, nectarines, peaches, and strawberries are in season right now.
2. VERB LIST: Tony’s Tune-Up will rotate your ties, tune up your engine, change your oil, and smog-check your vehicle.
3. MODIFIER LIST: Our company offers quick results, affordable solutions, helpful analytics, and free training.
4. LAUNDRY LIST: Latimer’s is having a sale on socks, slips, panties, boxer shorts, cotton briefs, T-shirts, pajamas, pants, dresses, dress shirts, skirts, blouses, belts, wallets, purses, shoes, sheets, towels, and more.

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