Voice & Speech Newsletter

Engaging Speech

Getting the Feel of It

Daniel Webster, 19th century statesman and orator, said, “True eloquence does not consist in speech. Words and phrases may be marshaled in every way, but they cannot compass it. It must consist in the man, in the subject, and in the occasion.”

Preoccupation with the content and mechanics of public speaking is a great barrier to effective communication. Attempting to think your way through a presentation is a recipe for frustration and failure. The secret to great speech is your state of being. Passion, charisma and personality are rooted in feeling, not thinking.

Get out of your head. Your conscious brain can focus on only one thing at a time. Thinking limits your performance of complex tasks such as giving a speech. A golfer, dancer or table waiter would never approach the task as a sequence of consciously controlled actions. They would be paralyzed. When you learn speechmaking by breaking it down into small components, then creating a checklist of mechanical steps, the wheels come off the wagon in short order.

It pays to get physical. Your body, by contrast, can process many sensations at once. Imagine eating your favorite food, appreciating taste, texture and appearance as one seamless experience. Working with body awareness allows you to integrate the many facets of communication (relaxation, breathing, vocalizing, gesture, eye contact, etc.) in a way that feels natural, genuine, and spontaneous. Instead of being overwhelmed by the complexity of presentation, you feel calm, centered and highly attuned to the interaction. To borrow a phrase from Arthur Lessac, you look good, sound good, feel good and communicate well.

Recommended Video


My Favorite Voice Exercise

If you’re looking for a simple way to explore the physicality of your speech, you can’t beat spinal rolls. Try them silently, with sound, and even while you’re practicing your speech.


Free SpeechMaster Class

Date and Time: Wednesday, September 12, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Location: 434 Queen St East, Toronto, ON
Guest Instructor: Louis MacPherson, Speechwriter
Topic: Speech Writing Empowerment

Only 6 seats left.


Please take a moment to let us know what topics you’d like to see addressed in future issues. What input, relating to voice and public speaking would be useful and relevant for you? Submit a suggestion by August 31 and your name will automatically be entered into a draw for a free SpeechMaster introductory session ($100 value).


Eloquent speakers take their time. Be deliberate with your delivery. Maintaining a relaxed pace will help you feel in control. You’ll speak more clearly, make fewer mistakes and have much more impact on your listeners.


Voice & Speech

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