Speaking in monotone is more than just a problem. It is boring. There is no other way to say it. The problem with a monotone delivery is that it puts your audience to sleep and it does so very quickly. If actors were to speak in monotone, television and movies would not be one of our greatest forms of entertainment. The other problem if you speak in a monotone is that it gives the wrong impression to your listeners. It says that you do not care because no emotion is being seen, heard, or felt.
I worked with a lovely woman by the name of Dawn. In person, Dawn displayed a lot of color when we talked. Not comfortable on the telephone, however, Dawn would speak in a monotone which left the impression that she was a cold, distant person. Nothing could have been further from the truth. While her heart may have been saying one thing, her reaction on the phone was saying something totally different. Dawn recognized the problem and made the change, both in her delivery and in her acceptance of the telephone.
Imagine watching a television program or a movie and everything the actors said was expressed with no emotion, no feeling, no life, no animation, no color. Chances are you would quickly change the station or turn the television off. Can you appreciate that were you to hold a presentation or give a speech with a voice that displayed no emotion or no feeling, your audience would not be very impressed?
In public speaking, we all have something to sell. It need not be a tangible product. It could be an idea or an opinion. Even delivering an informative presentation has something to sell and that is simply for your audience to want to listen to you. If a group of people have gone out of their way to give you 20 minutes, 40 minutes or an hour of their time, it is your responsibility to make your presentation entertaining.
Do you know why Zig Ziglar is so successful? Because he speaks with passion. Ziglar could sell anything to anybody, not because of his products or ideas but because of his passion. His passion is mesmerizing, inviting, and motivating. But, passion can only be felt or perceived with a colorful delivery. You may indeed be very passionate about your product or your idea, but if your vocal variety, your facial expression and your body language are flat, then your passion is in hiding.
Learning to speak with color is much easier than you may think if you will allow your emotions to be seen and heard. It will take some practice but a good exercise that I recommend would be to video-tape yourself saying the sentence below with no expression whatsoever. Then say it again allowing yourself to be expressive – by means of your voice, your facial expression and your body language. (Do this in private at first.)
I want to go to the game tonight even though I don’t have any tickets.
[If you need some help with this exercise, after you record it the 1st time with a flat, emotionless delivery, try saying it the 2nd time with a smile on your face, nodding your head in agreement at the same time. You may feel foolish doing this but trust me, you will sound much better in your 2nd attempt than your 1st.]
Now, play back the 2 takes. Was there a difference in expression between the two? Did you actually look or sound foolish in your 2nd read as you may have thought? If you gave this exercise a fair try, I would be willing to bet that your 2nd take was definitely more interesting than your 1st.
Don’t keep your passion hidden the next time you give a speech or presentation. Allow your emotion to be seen and heard and I guarantee the sales will follow.