Maybe “Over-doing it” is exactly what you need to do – (thoughts on ditching that monotone speaking voice, among other challenges)

carry to excess; exaggerate


I teach first year speech classes at a local community college. I do all sorts of tricks to get my students to:

…speak loudly, clearly, fully pronouncing every word, especially every ending consonant!

I use phrases like “you need to speak with vocal variety, verbal PUNCHNEVER SPEAK IN A MONOTONE!”

We go through exercises, using great poetry and modern song lyrics.

Recently, I had a student go “overboard” with verbal punch in a short speech. She really used VERBAL PUNCH!!!! And her fellow students laughed with her, thinking the joke was on me. This will finally make the teacher happy, they thought! And you know what – it did. She was great!

In other words, she did not go “overboard” at all – she did it just right. Very well! She was terrific! She said (I can’t duplicate it, but imagine…):

“I encourage you – YES YOU –


to manage YOUR time wisely.

She punched those words. And she did it through her entire (short) speech.

And we talked about it. And, in reality, what she, and the class, first thought was over-doing it was in fact doing it very well.

I’m a speech teacher, not a drama teacher. But I know of some of the exercises in drama class where they definitely “over-do” it. And, in reality, over-doing it is what it takes to begin to do it just right.

Have you watched major league hitters in the on-deck circle? In the old days, they would swing two bats. Now, they put some kind of donut weight on the bat. They swing that over-weighted bat, “over-doing it,” so that they can get close to the bat speed they need with the actual pitch comes at them.

Or, imagine a monotone version of “you can’t handle the truth.” No, that scene required the you-cant-handle-the-truth-meme-generator-you-want-the-truth-you-can-t-handle-the-truth-9789ddlegendary “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH” verbal punch delivery. For that scene in A Few Good Men, over-doing it was an absolute necessity, wasn’t it?

Look, this is not a small deal – it is a big deal. NEVER SPEAK IN MONOTONE! PUNCH those key words. Make those key words STAND OUT with your voice, and your gestures.

Over-do it! Because, I promise you, what you think is overdoing it is really close to just right.

And then, think of other parts of your work life where a little over-doing of it could lead to great steps forward.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s