(This is Part 5 in the Communicator’s University Series. Read Part 4 here.)
Let’s swerve into one of the areas where rookie communicators regularly fall short. As a matter of fact, lots of communicators fall short here, and they end up boring us. But it’s particularly true of rookies. They bring low energy, vocally and bodily. Let’s talk about the vocal side here.
Lots of times I’m about to speak and I notice that my energy is down. I might not be internally prepared, or I’m distracted, or the surrounding elements leading up to my slot haven’t inspired me or the crowd. Maybe the atmosphere is literally low–as in low pressure. You’ll feel that on a cloudy or foggy day, and so will the crowd. So, when the energy is down, it’s up to you to do something about it. How can you raise your vocal energy?
Practical Tips for Raising Vocal Energy
- Observe energy. YouTube some great comedians and watch what they do. Watch Brian Regan’s “Dinner Party”, or any segment from I Walked on the Moon. Notice how he brings energy. If he can do it, you can do it. At least, you can move the needle.
- Practice energy. Put yourself in places where you can practice bringing more energy. Say it stronger, with conviction. Next time I’ll talk about what the mirror can do for you. But you can practice energy when you’re by yourself at home, or in the car, or wherever. You can practice it in front of someone else and get their feedback. I have put low-energy preachers in a room with me and given them a hymnbook and said, “I want you to read these hymns out loud, and I want you to bring the energy that parallels the language.”
- Vary. Energy doesn’t equate with intensity, so mix it up. Be loud, be quiet, whisper, speak quickly, speak slowly, pause. Change. Your. Pace. Don’t be like those TV preachers that are so intense that they scare you out of the room.
- Self-talk. Prior to speaking I tell myself: “Tom…now…bring your energy up! If you don’t do it, it ain’t happening.”
- God-talk: “God, help me to not bore these folks. I need your energy.”
- Be properly hydrated. (I just made that up. But go ahead, be hydrated.)
Can you overdo it with too much energy? Of course you can, but that’s not your problem, and you’re not on TV. Stretch yourself beyond your comfort level, and when you come back you’ll be better.
Next time: Use your body to your advantage.