What Music Can Teach Public Speakers About Connecting With Audiences

by drjim on August 12, 2014

Music can show a public speaker how to connect with an audience

Music can show a public speaker how to connect with an audience
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What came first: music or the spoken word? I’d say that it would be tough call but they probably both showed up at about the same time. What this means is that we’ve been living with music for at least as long as we’ve been talking. We all know about the importance of public speaking, but music has its own special ability to connect with each and every one of us.

As public speakers we would like to be able to tap into the power of music. What we’d like to be able to do is to discover how music can be so effective and then use that ability in our next speech to connect with each member of our audience. The good news is that this can be done, you just have to understand how music works…

How Music Is Built

  • Rubato: In the world of music, tempo rubato (which is the Italian phrase for “stolen time”) is a musical term that refers to expressive and rhythmic freedom by a slight speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of a piece at the discretion of the soloist or the conductor. For public speakers, we can use the same concept when we are making a point in our speech. When we reach an important part of what we want to say, we can slow things down and our tone will naturally drop. This will draw attention to what we are saying.
  • Vibrato: When creating music, vibrato is a musical effect that consists of a regular, pulsating change of pitch – holding a note. Singers can use it to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Public speakers can use this technique when they are telling a story that has an emotional moment in it. When you reach the climax, you can hold that last sound for just a moment longer and even introduce just a bit of a tremble into it. This will convey a great deal of emotion to your audience.
  • Appoggiatura: Appoggiatura comes from the Italian verb appoggiare which means “to lean upon”. This is an embellishing note or tone preceding an essential melodic note or tone. Public speakers can add so called “ornamental words” to their speech to boost the flavor of a story that they are telling. An example of this would be “… the snowflakes appeared to be chasing one another as they raced to the ground…” “Chasing” is not required, but adds color to the phrase.
  • What All Of This Means For You

    Music has an almost magical quality to it that allows it to connect with the people who hear it. As public speakers, we would like to discover what makes music so powerful and use this ability in our next speech.

    It turns out that music is built using a variety of different techniques that can be applied to the way that we give speeches. The rubato, vibrato, and appoggiatura are techniques that are used to transform a piece of music into something unforgettable. We can apply these techniques to our speeches.

    The great thing about giving a speech is that we have full access to the benefits of public speaking every time that we give a speech. This means that we can use these three musical techniques to capture the power of music in our next speech. Give it a try and you might just find your audience singing your praises once you’re done talking!

    – Dr. Jim Anderson
    Blue Elephant Consulting –
    Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

    Question For You: Do you think that you should just use one of these techniques or can you use all three in the same speech?

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    Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

    What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

    Let’s face it, creating and delivering a memorable speech requires a great deal of effort. It sure seems as though if we’re going to take the time to do this, we may as well try to make the greatest impact possible. Although you may have read books or seen people talking about how to give a great speech and they made it seem like there were complicated formulas that you needed to follow, it turns out that what you need to do is actually quite simple.

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