March 6, 2007

Fading out at the end of a sentence. . .

Many public speaking fixes are small adjustments that are fairly easy to make, but we don't recognize the problem and hence don't know to fix it. Here's an example.

Have you ever noticed how some speakers' voices trail off at the end of a sentence? Sometimes it's because they run out of air. Sometimes it's just a habit. Sometimes, the person's voice drops at the end of the sentence and they look away in order to check their notes or advance their PowerPoint slide.

When a speaker does this, a couple of things happen.

* The audience doesn't hear the end of the sentence, causing them to miss the punch line or the main point.
* There is a perceived drop in energy and enthusiasm

As I said above, this is a simple adjustment to make, but you have to be aware of the issue first and then make an effort to correct it. If you haven't been videotaping yourself, I recommend it.

Practice reading aloud from news stories or books (children's books are great for this, because it's fun to play with vocal variation), specifically emphasizing the end of the sentence to hear what that sounds like.

Give the end of the sentence the same energy you give the beginning of the sentence, and the overall energy of your presentation will improve.

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