Color refers to those various effects in speech which give life to your delivery. Another way to describe color is the emotion and the animation heard in your voice and seen in your body language and facial expression when talking. |
The interesting thing about color is that you don’t want too much or too little. Similar to the fairy tale, Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, you want the right amount of color when you speak to keep your audience’s attention on your words.
If you are overly expressive, you will sound like you are acting or talking to children. One of my clients was a former preschool teacher. When delivering her presentations, she would use exaggerated body language just as if she were talking to a group of 4-year-olds. Another client was a law professor and, in delivering his presentations, he sounded like he was acting because he was exaggerating the vocal variety in his voice.
On the other hand, if you speak with too little color, then your delivery will be boring, a sure-fire method for either putting your audience to sleep or losing them to their iPhones. What is interesting about some people who speak with too little color is that, in normal conversation, their emotion or the life in their delivery is not lacking. On the podium, however, their nervousness inhibits their ability to speak as they normally would in conversation.
So how do you know if your color is too little, too much or just right? By recording yourself, preferably by means of video, and studying the playback. How is the vocal variety of your voice? What are you doing with your hands? Are you standing perfectly still or do you move when you speak? These are questions you need to answer honestly about your delivery skills.
Your next step is to practice your presentation just as if you were having a conversation with your friends. This will be much easier if you know your material well. (Incidentally, the only way to know your material well is to practice it out loud many, many times.)
Should you speak with too little color, both in conversation and at the lectern, your first step is to give yourself permission to allow for emotion in your delivery. Until you can accept the fact that speaking with color is normal and preferable, you will not be able to make the change.
Public speaking is merely conversation with a larger audience. With the right amount of color – not too much or too little – your message will be that much more interesting for your listeners.
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 and discover the best means of adding some life to your voice and your delivery.
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