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Color in Public Speaking Does Not Refer to What You Are Wearing

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Nancy DanielsBy Featured Speaker Nancy Daniels

One of the requirements for dynamic speaking, whether it is at the lectern or just in normal conversation, is to be expressive when you talk. This is known as color and refers to your vocal variety, facial expression, and body language. All three elements work hand-in-hand to make your delivery more interesting.

There are some who are colorful in conversation but freeze at the lectern. All color drains from both their face and their voice as they hastily spit out a pile of words, hoping to get the ordeal over with as soon as possible. And, there are others who lack color in speaking whether they are addressing an audience or just talking to a friend or family member.

Why is color so important? Because without it, you are boring. It is difficult enough to keep your listeners’ attention. Our ability to focus for any great length of time has decreased considerably. With the overwhelming amount of visual and aural stimuli with which we are constantly bombarded, this should come as no surprise. Did you know that the amount of time spent on a website page is less than 40 seconds?

If you are afflicted with a boring or monotone delivery, the 1st thing you need to do is to allow yourself to express your feelings. Being colorful is not a sign of weakness but is actually a strength. A simple exercise that could help is as follows.

Say the following sentence, emphasizing just the word that is in bold.

  • I do not want to do this.

Were you able to accomplish that? If not, try it again. Do this until you get it. (You might want to use some type of recording equipment so that you can play it back and listen to it.)

You will find that your tone may have been forceful, possible angry or defiant. This is good. Let it be.

Now say the sentence below emphasizing the word want.

  • I want to do this.

In this example, you should have found your tone hopeful or positive in contrast to the previous one. If you have difficulty with this exercise, practice it over and over. It would also help to do this alone so that you are not self-conscious. When you can accomplish this exercise successfully, video record yourself with these examples. You will notice that you look and sound natural. Speaking without color, however, is not natural.

While this exercise is simple, it is a good means for allowing yourself to be expressive. Do not believe that your strength lies in a delivery devoid of color. It does not.


The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic and discover the best means of adding some life to your voice and your delivery.

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