37: Use Elaine A. Clark’s Word Emphasis techniques for Live Presentations, Phone Messages, Podcasts, and Voice-Overs.

Time to practice 11 dynamic speaking techniques and take the Word Emphasis challenge! Real Talking Tips episode 37, reviews the Word Emphasis Chart gestures and how each movement draws focus to specific words, phrases, sentences and speech. Communication Coach, Elaine A. Clark, shows how to apply those speech techniques to voice-overs, podcasts, sales calls, Live Talks, Presentations, and Virtual Web Meetings. So, shake your hands out and get ready to use the Word Emphasis Chart movements and symbols so you can get ‘Wired for Sound.’

Each element of the Word Emphasis Chart [introduced in Episode 27] adds variety and attitude to words and phrases! The last seven Real Talking Tips episodes, we added a • dot , Arrow Up arrow it up icon and Caret Up up caret icon, Arrow Down arrow down2, Caret Down caret it down2, Wiggle wiggle, and Word Stretch stretch out a word, Parenthetical ( ), Dip-Down dip, and the 3-part sentence Wave wave, Hook Hook, and Up-Down-Middle split difference2.

Practice along with this Real Talking Tips video, podcast, and blog, my Elaine Clark app, Adding Melody To Your Voice, and my best selling books, There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is and Voice-Overs for Podcasting. For an effective 5-minute warm-up before speaking, use the Elaine Clark Activate Your Voice app!

Click the video to watch or select the audio podcast by clicking start or selecting the audio player in the icon below.


Congratulations! You made it to the 11th and final Word Emphasis mini-series lesson. Real Talking Tips Episode 37 is going to be a little different. Rather than introducing and practicing one technique, we’re going to practice using all 11 word movement gestures from Episodes 27 – 36, plus the Word Emphasis information in my books There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is and Voice-Overs For Podcasting, and my Elaine Clark Adding Melody to Your Voice app.

Here are the top 11 Word Emphasis movements: • Dot , Arrow Up arrow it up icon and Caret Up up caret icon, Arrow Down arrow down2, Caret Down caret it down2, Wiggle wiggle, and Word Stretch stretch out a word, and Parenthetical ( ), Dip-Down dip, 3-Part Sentence Wave wave, Hook Hook, and Up-Down-Middle split difference2.

This Real Talking Tips episode will be a Little different. Instead of explaining and practicing each individual movement, ALL the Word Emphasis movements will be applied in a variety of situations: LIVE PRESENTATIONS, SALES CALLS, PODCASTING, and VOICE-OVERS. This way, you can hear and see how to adapt the movements to in-person talks and presentations, virtual meetings, sales calls, interviews, and voice-over recordings.

The key to using the Word Emphasis movements and gestures effectively is variety. With so many Word Emphasis movements and speech variations, why should a speaker repeat a gesture when there are numerous options to choose from. So, shake your hands out and prepare yourself for the Word Emphasis challenge!

Word Emphasis Challenge
Word Emphasis #11: Take the Elaine A. Clark Speech Challenge. Use 11 Word Emphasis Techniques in Live Presentations, Sales Calls, Podcasts, and Voice-Overs.

We’ll start with a voice-over script from my book, There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is.

There's Money with your Mouth Is Book

The script is marked with Word Emphasis symbols. When information is NOT the focus of the message, unimportant words do NOT require Word Emphasis markings or movements. The exception is if that word has onomatopoetic value like jump, dot, honk, and trot that sound like the word. If the information is a personal opinion, that section of the copy is often parenthetical because it is NOT the focus of the message but offers an opportunity to show personality and opinion. Word Emphasis techniques should cycle through as many of the 11 choices so the same one or two movements and speech patterns repeat. Word Emphasis styles that are the direct opposite of the other are often used next to one another. For example, an informational arrow up set-up and arrow down response… or a caret up word and a caret down balance the sentence using oppositional words.

Get both hands ready to move and practice along with this pre-marked commercial script.



How you use the Word Emphasis techniques for Voice-Over recordings and for Video differ slightly. Word Emphasis movements should be strategic, specific, and appear natural. When the audience has the benefit of seeing the speaker, the gestures can be subtler so they don’t stand out as awkward or distracting hand movements.

This section is divided into two parts: Interviewer/Interviewee and Branding Intro, Outro, and Bumpers. I’m going to first show how the Word Emphasis Chart symbols can be used by an Interviewer or Interviewee.

DOT – Read the first example with one finger flicking on the focus word and the second example with the thumb and index finger touching.

podcast 1 dot 100

CARET UP/CARET DOWN – Here are two examples of opposing gestures to balance the sentence focus.

podcast 2 caret up caret down 100 1

UP/ARROW DOWN – These two speech movements are also oppositional. One sets up information and the other provides a response in the opposite musical direction. Here’s an example of arrowing up and responding with an arrow down.

podcast 3 arrow up arrow down 100

WIGGLE – You can use both hands or just one “Jazz” hand. Example:

podcast 4 wiggle 100

WORD STRETCH – Use two hands to stretch out the title, names, and audience. The hands will outstretch on the show’s title, the fingers of both hands will curve in toward me when you say my name, and point back out to the audience.

podcast 5 word stretch 100

PARENTHETICAL – When both hands are already active in either a broad or contained area, the hands curve in and move closer to the center of the body.

podcast 6 parenthetical 100

DIP DOWN – Each hand gestures in opposing directions when additional information is provided.

podcast 7 dip down 100

3-PART SENTENCE WAVE – Use two hands to complete the 3-part wave.

podcast 8 3 part sentence wave 100

HOOK – Use one hand to form the hook movement.

podcast 9 hook 100

UP/DOWN/MIDDLE – Use this technique when one hand is higher and the opposite hand is lower.

podcast 10 up down middle 100

For branding the show title, guests, host, and Intro, Outro, and Bumpers, you’ll use the Voice-Over or VIDEO techniques, depending on the situation. You don’t have to hide the gestures when you’re recording voice-over. In video, you need to techniques to appear natural and an extension of your personal style and personality.


If you spend time talking to clients on the phone, you can use either the voice-over or podcast styles to define your message and the key points.


The size and scope of the gestures and movements need to match the space. If it’s a large stage with hundreds in the audience, the gestures can be bigger. If it’s a presentation in a board room talking to a handful of people, the gestures are smaller to fit the space.


When speaking in virtual video rooms, the movements can be as big or small as you like. Gage the size of the virtual space you occupy. Then you can use the Word Emphasis gestures below the camera sightline.

Get Wired for Sound! Use the Word Emphasis Chart.

So you see, the Word Emphasis techniques can be used universally in all forms of oral communication. It takes practice for it to look natural and spontaneous. Start by over-practicing… making the gestures and movements too big so the body has time to adjust and connect with each of their purposes. Eventually, your body will get ‘wired for sound’. Then, a simple finger movement can do the same thing that a wide gesture used to accomplish.

Screen Shot 2021 06 17 at 9.18.52 AMCongratulations on completing this 11-part Word Emphasis mini-series. Keep practicing with this Real Talking Tips podcast and the Adding Melody to Your Voice app. The time you spend now on learning how to use your body movements effectively will pay off big time in the end.

Join me next time in Real Talking Tips Episode 38 as we begin a new 4-part miniseries on Voice Placement.


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