46: Add Depth and Subtext to Spoken Words.
The letters in my Elaine A. Clark – Making It M.I.N.E.® performance system stand for Motivation, Intentions, Need, and Emotions. The goal of this series and other Real Talking Tips episodes is to reprogram speech communication and performance out of the head and allow it to drop into your body.
Real Talking Tips 46 kicks off the 4-part M-I-N-E series with MOTIVATIONS.
– Motivation is connected to an event that just happened.
– Motivation is a reaction that prompts the speaker to respond.
– Motivation is based on an activity that was witnessed.
– Motivation is the result of a conversation.
– Motivation prompts a speaker to voice an opinion based on another person’s resistance, disbelief, pushback, misunderstanding, or lack of knowledge.
Motivation is about connecting with a specific moment before speaking that catapults the message into an active response.
To learn more about MOTIVATIONS, turn to Chapter 5 of my book – There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is – and this series begins here at episode 46 on my website – ElaineClarkVO.com/podcast.
I encourage you to practice along with the Real Talking Tips videos, audio podcast, this blog, my Elaine Clark apps – Adding Melody To Your Voice and Activate Your Voice plus my best selling Elaine A. Clark books, There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is and Voice-Overs for Podcasting.
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46: Add Depth and Subtext to Spoken Words.
So far in Real Talking Tips, we identified our strengths and weaknesses, voice improvement, tempo changes, emotions, storytelling, power box positions, word emphasis options, and the power of persuasion. Now it’s time to dive into a system I created that quickly adds depth, subtext, and meaning to what you have to say: Real Talking Tips 46 – Making It M.I.N.E.® – What’s Your Motivation?
As a theatre/speech major in college along with getting a secondary education degree (at my mother’s suggestion), and taking a few business classes (at my father’s urging), I found it difficult to quickly transition from the “reality of the now” moment to a meaningful speech, presentation, or performance a few moments later before an audience.
I started sifting through the words and explanations different coaches and directors used to support, encourage, and hopefully improve a performance or speech. As someone who likes to live in my head (yes, that’s written on my weaknesses list from Real Talking Tips Episode 1), I realized that vocabulary words, while described a specific way in the dictionary tend to have different meanings to many people.
So, when I wrote the first version of my book, There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is back in 1994 and was published by Random House/Back Stage Books in 1995, I had to think: “What is MY system for tapping into and presenting a focused, believable, emotional, logical truth?” I realized that many people in my performance journey didn’t use the exact words I needed to access my truth. The words were right but they didn’t tap into my emotions, history, imagination, and storytelling. It’s hard to describe that magical transition. Yet, it needs to happen when someone walks on a stage or film set to deliver a speech or theatrical performance or speak into a microphone when performing alone or with others.
After asking myself a lot of WHAT and WHY questions, I created the M.I.N.E. system, tested it out with my students, and included a dedicated chapter to it in the first two book editions. I later trademarked Making It M.I.N.E.® in my 3rd and 4th editions of There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is with my new and current publisher, Allworth Press.
I’ve taught Making It M.I.N.E.® to thousands of voice-over students, podcasters, and business executives. I’ve used the foundational elements of Making It M.I.N.E.® to lead full day, half day, and weekend retreats with attorneys, business execs, news reporters, sales people, and voice actors.
What I discovered about people in this 3-decade process is that the logical side of the brain fights this information. That’s because the brain often struggles to acknowledge and accept the subconscious. Then when all four elements of Making It M.I.N.E.® are accepted, the logical side of the brain lets go, the creative side of the brain takes over, and magic happens.
Making It M.I.N.E.®
M: What’s your Motivation?
The MINE acronym in my Elaine A. Clark Making It M.I.N.E.® performance system stands for Motivation, Intentions, Need, and Emotions. We’ll kick off this 4-episode Real Talking Tips series with the letter M for MOTIVATION.
If you’re confused at the end of this episode, remember that this is the first of four Making It M.I.N.E.® segments. And if you’re thinking “I’m an intelligent person, how come I don’t get it?” Relax, that’s why I take a group of lawyers, sales people, business teams, newscasters, and actors on a retreat, immersive series of virtual or live classes, and private coaching sessions so this concept can be individualized to their specific struggles and needs.
MOTIVATION is the moment before. It’s the thing that just happened prior to speaking. It’s the activity that you witnessed, conversation you just had, or resistance you encountered that prompted you to open your mouth, speak and share information.
Most of us spend our lives not thinking about the pre-life and history leading up to the moment when we speak with passion, determination, and purpose. WHAT we say and HOW we say it is fueled by the past that makes us WHO WE ARE! Yet, if you’re expected to give the same speech or performance on multiple occasions, the motivation may change, and the speaker has to change with it.
Many coaches use motivational tricks, like: “Say a lead in line” or “Say a person’s name” before speaking. While that works for some people, I discovered that many people outsmart themselves, become too clever, and retreat inside their head to find the answer, the perfect scenario, and best person to pretend to talk to. In my performance and coaching experience, I seldom found that worked. You never say a lead-in line to get you revved up to talk to someone in real life. Why should you do that now when you’re supposed to sound REAL?! And when someone says a person’s name out loud before speaking, it can easily feel like a disingenuous sales person repeatedly saying a person’s name.
I mentioned before in previous Real Talking Tips episodes that our HISTORY and PERSONAL OPINION matter. Our life experiences shaped us into who we are. Good or bad, lucky or challenged, attentive or oblivious. For the brief time that people look up to us as an authority for answers, we need to be a little selfish.
What do I mean by ‘Selfish’? When you speak, people expect you to be present, conversational, and real. Yet many situations are contrived or forced… and far from ‘real.’ So you – as a speaker – need to spend time with your past experiences so you can SHARE that history with your present group of listeners.
Flip through the card catalog of events in your mind. Find the perfect fit to a similar experience that matches how you’re supposed to feel NOW, at this very moment. Allow the memories and attitude of that specific experience wash over you. Motivation is the REACTION to a prior experience. So let the reality of your specific situation create a visceral physical reaction that motivates you to speak.
MOTIVATION IS THE RESULT OF A SPECIFIC PRIOR MOMENT.
Another thing I heard directors and coaches say over and over is that “The Words Are NOT Important!” As a writer, presenter, and someone who reads words aloud for a living, how can that be true? It’s because the speaker’s history and meaning behind the words defines the message.
If a man walks up to a woman at a bar and offers to buy her a drink. Does that mean the man has extra money to spend? Of course not, but that’s what the words say. The underlying message, of course, has quite different implications.
History teaches us how to temper our words and present our message in a more accepting and hopefully, appropriate manner.
M: Your MOTIVATION assignment challenge.
1. Rather than connect with the words in a script or speech, connect with a moment in your personal history when you were motivated to speak and share your opinion.
2. Start with a visceral kinesthetic movement rather than defaulting to cerebral perfection and inaction. Roll your eyes, shake your head, shrug your shoulders, or smirk as you begin to speak. Amazingly, each natural specific physical action magically connects with a personal moment in your history.
3. Take note of your physical reactions when you’re in a casual situation. Then add those movements when you read a script, perform, or present a speech.
Your MOTIVATION is Unique to YOU!
Find it, unleash it, and share it with the world.
We’ll continue the Making it M.I.N.E.® Elaine A. Clark system in Real Talking Tips Episode 47 as we add Intentions to your performance and speech communication.
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