When I work with my clients in color – the life, the emotion, the animation we express in speaking – one of the many exercises we cover is one in which they must say, “She said yes,” in a fearful manner. Many people have difficulty saying those three words as if they were in fear. Of course, I jokingly tell them to imagine that their mother-in-law is coming to stay with them for 6 months! Upon hearing this, many are then able to express those words admirably. |
The singular, most important aspect in their terrified countenance is what happens to their eyes: they open wide and you can see and almost feel their fear. You have probably heard someone being described as having cold, lifeless eyes or maybe an individual has warm, inviting eyes. Our eyes are indeed the windows to our soul as was said in Matthew, one of the Gospels in the Bible: goodness can be seen in one’s eyes as well as evil. For the purposes of public speaking, however, your eyes can say many things about you, the most common of which may be fear. While some of my clients may have difficulty showing fear in a role-play situation, were they placed on a stage for the purpose of addressing an audience, indeed, the fear in their eyes might well be the only emotion they do express!
In the movie, Witness, there is a scene in which a young Amish boy has witnessed a murder. While at the police station, looking at a cabinet filled with awards and trophies, he sees a picture of the man who committed the murder. His eyes immediately express both recognition and fear. You, the viewer, do not see what the child is seeing; however, he does not need to say a word for you to understand what his eyes are expressing.
When you are speaking, be it at the lectern or just in conversation, what are your eyes saying? Do you allow your emotions to be seen? Are you able to show joy, disbelief, sadness, enthusiasm, anger, pain as well as fear just by means of your eyes? If you are unsure, watch yourself in the mirror as you express those emotions with the simple words, She said yes. This is an excellent exercise to begin the process of speaking with color.
Those who speak in a monotone are considered boring and often their eyes are lifeless and indifferent. Your eyes truly are the windows to your soul. Use them when you speak and your emotions will be seen as well as heard.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic or watch Nancy in a brief video as she describes The Power of Your Voice.
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