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Perception in Speaking

Perception in Speaking
I have seen over the years working with everyone from CEO’s to actors that there is a problem with perception between the presenter or speaker and the audience. I believe that this perception deception happens for several reasons that I’ll outline below, but the bottom line problem is our perception of what our voice is delivering is not what the audience is receiving. Our perception of what is going out is being received as something else and therefore we might not be making the impact we think we are or that we want and not even realize it.
One of the biggest problems that I’ve seen over the years working with people is that when we are in our head, if we are disconnected from the voice and/or the body, then we can’t deliver vocally or physically the way we perceive in our mind we are delivering. It is only when the mind, body and voice are connected that we can really bring the words to life and deliver how we perceive we are delivering and on occasion, we have to bump that up a bit as well.

More times than I can count I’ve asked my clients to deliver their presentation or pitch or audition piece and when they are finished I ask them to rate themselves on a scale of 1-10 how their variety was. Now, just so you have all the information, my scale of 1-10 is 1 you are asleep, 10 you have the energy of an auctioneer. The elements of variety include amount of words stressed, variables in pitch, speed, volume, elongation and the how much pausing is taking place. I also ask the clients to rate patterns and articulation on occasion. Far too often the client will say, “I think that was about a 7.” My response, “That was a 3!” In our mind, we perceive we are doing it one way, it sounds incredible, is interesting, flowing beautifully and connected. But, for a number of reasons, the words just aren’t coming out that way.

First, as I said before, if we are disconnected and really in our head the perception of what we think we are putting out vs. what the audience is receiving will be off. One of the biggest culprits of getting in your head is when you are using a script. If we are working with a script and really relying on it, we are completely in our head focused on the words. Another way we can be focused on words is if we have not practiced and are really struggling to remember or put together on the fly what we want to say. In both cases, we are completely bogged down in our mind and this means it makes it very hard for the voice to bring anything to life. If you’ve ever felt like you were uninteresting or flat lining from a voice perspective, go back and think about whether or not you were in your head or not.

It also becomes very important to practice out loud, not just practice but practice out loud. Our minds will always create the most amazing presentation delivery but getting the muscle memory to deliver is another story. If you want to have voice technique, variety, breathing, pausing then you need to learn it and practice it, put it in the muscle memory. By doing that, when the mind says, “Hey, a pause here would be great.” The body will have it in the muscle memory and can pull it up. Now the two are connected and working together. By connecting to the voice we can bring the words to life. The words are everything and they are nothing, it’s what we do with them, how we bring them to life that changes lives. If we bring the words to life with the vocal orchestra we can affect the senses which in turn touches the emotions, that is where the connection you are looking for can happen.

If you have any questions or need any help, don’t hesitate to reach out