26: Get Your Message Across with
Real Talking Tips.
The voice, body movements, and gestures are all connected. Though for many people, the body movements, gestures, and voice are not always coordinated. When people see and hear a person talk, the gestures and movements can be separated from the speaking voice and still be received as intended by the viewer. For voice actors, podcasters, and audio presentations where the speaker is heard and not seen, the body, movements, and gestures need to be coordinated with the speaker’s words and overall message. Otherwise, the movements and gestures in the ‘dead air’ space between the speaker’s auditory message are wasted and not shared with the audience.
In this 4th Power Box mini-series episode we’ll work on coordinating our voice and body, adding musicality to the voice, and ‘choir directing’ our speech.
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The Speaker’s Choir Director Power Box.
The Power Box is the big, small, tall, short, square, thrust, oblong or circular area where gestures and movements occur that define the musical range, pitch, attitude, and intensity of the speaking voice. Like performers on a physical stage, the imaginary walls of the speaker’s power box confine the performance to a specific speech area that focuses the speaker’s message and the audience’s attention. When hand gestures and movements extend outside the defined speech performance Power Box area, it’s the equivalent of an actor or singer falling off the stage. While less painful and embarrassing, extending past the imaginary power box floor, ceiling, and walls can lead to an unfocused and inconsistent ‘in-and-out’ performance, presentation, or audio voice recording.
Practice along with me, Elaine Clark, as we stay inside the focused power box area and add musical direction to the speaking voice.
Conduct Your Voice And Body To Work Together!
With a wide, tall, short, small, angular, circular, oblong, or thrust stage power box shape, the spoken word can be conducted to change pitch, tempo, volume, and emotion. You, as the speaker, have the power to orchestrate what you say when the body and voice work together without the brain interfering and trying to control and self-correct. When a speaker trusts their movements, the voice, tempo, emotion, and volume follow. For example, the higher the hand placement, the higher the pitch of the voice. The lower the hand placement, the lower the voice. The quieter the volume, the smaller the hand placement and gestures. The bigger the voice, the wider the hands are outstretched. When the muscles relax and tense up, the muscle memory kicks in and impacts the speaker’s attitude, pace, and emotion.
‘Choir Director’ Power Box Shifts
Here are a few musical ‘choir director’ Power Box shifts you can make as a speaker, presenter, voice actor, and podcaster to focus your message, get out of your head, and trust your body. Define the shape of your Power Box and follow along with the direction.
Fast & Slow Pace: Point the index finger of each hand together and quickly twirl them in little circles to speed up the speech tempo. To slow down the pace, slowly extend both hands out on either side of the body.
Size & Shape: As the movements and gestures get closer to the confining floor, ceiling, and walls of the Power Box, the more muscles in the arms, back, and stomach need to respond, tighten up, and engage to contain the sound.
Intensity & Emotion: To confine the voice inside a small intense Power Box, the body needs to tense and flex muscles from the toes all the way to shoulders and fingertips. For a gentle, soft, or legato message, the muscles and movements should be gentle, relaxed, and flowing.
Pitch & Range: You can use your right and left hands to establish the high and low pitch of the voice and the speaking ‘notes’ you want to use inside your defined Power Box size and shape. Gesturing with one hand up and leaving it in position as the other hand gestures down establishes the musical range and the amount of musical notes in between.
Volume: Your muscles, movements, and actions can be used to control the volume within each Power Box shape. A sharp two-handed body snap adds cut-through to the voice. For a lower volume, more muscles from the stomach and bottom half the body are needed to support the quieter sound so the speaker’s message can be heard.
Practice Using the Speech Director Power Box.
Being a Speech Choir Director means that the voice, body movements, and gestures work in tandem with the speaker’s feelings and message dynamics. Establishing the power box shape and size helps defines the voice range and musical tune. When practicing this concept, use slower and larger gestures and movements to allow time for the brain to accept the reprogramming effort and the body to trust and spontaneously incorporate the speech clarifying movements. Don’t expect it to happen overnight. It takes practice for a speaker to become dynamically ‘wired for sound.’
Here are 5 Speech Melody Practice Lessons:
1. Fast to Slow Pace: Make fast circles with both hands in the center of the body and slowly spread both hands out to the sides. Make those two movements as you say:
I’m talking quickly… then slowing – down – my – pace.
2. Size and Shape Changes: Define the size and shape of the Power Box walls, adding more muscle strength when the hands get closer to the imaginary size and shape walls. Starting in the center of a narrow vertical power box, add the corresponding movements as you say:
My hands are in the center of my body with one hand above the other. As I raise and lower my hands to the top ceiling and bottom floor of my power box, my hands straighten out and get stronger as my shoulders arch and stomach muscles tense.
3. Emotional Shifts: Make a fist with one hand as you frown. Keeping that hand in position, flip the other relaxed hand upward as you smile. Now nod in agreement as you open up the fist so it faces down and the upward hand stays in position. Make those three movements as you say:
Both hands are in the power box. One hand forms a fist as the other hand loosely turns upward. The upward hand stays in position as the fisted hand relaxes and turns downward as the head nods in agreement.
4. Expanding and Confining the Pitch and Range: Start with one hand up (as if waving hello) and the other hand low (as if saying “quiet down”). Then bring both hands together in a small central area of the body. Start in position as you say:
One hand is high and the other hand is low to establish the musical speaking range. Now, both palms of the hands face together and move to a small area in the center of the body to create a smaller musical speaking range.
5. Increasing and Decreasing Volume: Tense up every muscle in your body from the toes to the fingertips. With strength and intensity, snap both hands into the widest sides of your power box. Then, keep your hands in the same location and loosen and relax every muscle. Tense and relax your muscles as you say:
With tense muscle intensity my volume increases as I snap my hands into position and decrease my volume as my muscles relax.
As discussed previously in Real Talking Tips episodes, our body really is an instrument. For completing this 4-part ‘Power Box’ series, you earned another speech improvement certificate.
There are so many ways to use the Real Talking Tips micro-learning lessons to get a better understanding of the speaking voice and how to change and improve speech dynamics, melody, and styles. Real Talking Tips Episode 26 marks the halfway point in this Season 1 podcast. It would be great if you would help spread the word and subscribe, download, share, and add comments. I love hearing from you. You can also reach out to me via this website – ElaineClarkVO.com – if you need personal or group presentation, podcast hosting, or voice-over coaching. I’m Elaine Clark. I’ll see you next time when we begin a new mini-series deep dive into the Word Emphasis Chart.
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Tune in to Real Talking Tips Episode 27 where we’ll begin the Word Emphasis series.