23: Improve How You Speak with Elaine A. Clark’s Real Talking Tips Podcast!

If you’re wondering what a speaker’s Power Box is, think of it as a small stage area where the speaker’s hands and gestures stay inside. The power box may be tall and narrow, wide or small, v-shaped, thrust forward, rectangular, circular, or square. When the speaker’s movements stay inside this specified power box area, the message is more focused and impactful. Otherwise, the audience can easily become distracted with the ‘in and out’ sound of the speaker’s voice is diffused as the gestures go beyond the imaginary power box walls.

Real Talking Tips Episodes 23-26 explores the speaker’s various power box sizes, shapes, movements, and voice placements. The vertical high vs. low power box is the first of this 4-part micro-learning power box speech communication mini-series.

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What is a Speaker’s Power Box?
The voice is an instrument. It has highs and lows, fast and slow tempos, attitude, history, information, and opinion. Engaging an audience and keeping their attention requires not only good content but active communication. The words and movements in that active message need structure. The speaker’s physical structure is directly impacted by the size of the location, environmental conditions, audience expectations, and audience size. Placement of the hands in the appropriate ‘power box’ helps focus the message and keep the voice and attitude consistent.

Imagine that the Power Box is a Stage. The power box is the personal space the speaker’s hands use to gesture. That’s the size of the stage. The power box can be wide or small, tall or short, thrust out or in. The location of the power box can be high, low, close to the body, or stretched out. Therefore, the hands establish the size and shape of the speaker’s power box.

stage with person with stretched arms holding a box

Vertical Stage: High and Low Power Box

Real Talking Tips Episode 23 is the first of four in the speech communication micro-learning Power Box mini-series. This episode focuses on the high and low vertical stage area.

To get the most out of this lesson, follow along as we establish the size and shape of the vertical stage hand-movement area.
1. Place both hands in the center of your body with one hand on top of the other.
2. Separate the hands so the top hand moves higher and the bottom hand drops lower.
3. To create the width of a rectangular power box, hold each hand in their respective high and low positions and flip the wrists so the fingers point up.
4. Now, use your hands to find the maximum size and shape of that vertical rectangle speaking stage. When you do this, it may feel like a bad ‘Mime in a Box’ imitation.
5. Knowing the parameters of your speaking box, create imaginary barriers on top, bottom, and sides by popping the hands to those extreme positions and not allowing them to go outside the imaginary walls.
6. Then, explore the area in the middle of the rectangle by moving your hands around and gesturing within that confined area.

The power box is a way to focus the sound and attitude of the voice. When the movements and gestures go beyond the imaginary power box walls, the voice ‘falls off the stage.’ The resulting sound is inconsistent and confusing to the audience as it goes in and out of character.

How to use the Speech Powerbox written on a chalkboardHow to Use the Speech Power Box.
How you talk and say things needs breath support filled with thoughts, ideas, feelings, and emotions. The specific musical placement of the voice and movement of the body adds clarity to the message. Your voice needs subtlety and power that is grounded and confident. How you stand, the muscles that you engage, attitude in your breath and body position, support your opinion and personal history. Otherwise, the voice can sound weak, thin, too high, or too low. The placement of your hands in the proper ‘power box’ clarifies the message, focuses it, and gives it more impact.

3 Vertical Power Box Practice Lessons

As always in this third section of each episode, it’s time to practice this Real Talking Tip. Using the shape of the vertical power box, we’re going to say the same line three different ways, changing the size and location of the power box performance area each time.

We’ll use this line: “It gives you everything you need to get professional results.”

1. Position your hands in the center of the body with the hands 4 inches apart for the first half of the sentence. Then, raise and lower the hands 6-8 inches apart for the second half of the sentence.

“It gives you everything you need to get professional results.”

Now, say the line again and gesture inside that same shaped area.

“It gives you everything you need to get professional results.”

2. To have a higher pitched voice, raise the hand position to chest level. Start with one hand in the lowest position and the other hand moving up and then both hands wide.

“It gives you everything you need to get professional results.”

3. For a lower voice, drop the power box hand position below the waist. Start with one hand in the highest position and the other hand moving down and both hands spreading wide.

“It gives you everything you need to get professional results.”

Now listen carefully as I say the line but extend past the designated size of the power box: “It gives you everything you need to get professional results.” And again, when I stay inside it: “It gives you everything you need to get professional results.”

If you are blessed with a natural voice that is perfectly placed for your message and audience, you can support and own that strength. If you want a higher or lower your voice, you can use a higher or lower Power Box position to focus the message and keep it ‘in tune.’

Real. Talking. Tips. Podcast by Elaine Clark

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