While sitting through six back-to-back presentations during a 90-minute meeting, I thought of Jacob Silj, the Will Ferrell SNL character who – due to “Voice Immodulation Syndrome” – was unable to control the pitch or volume of his voice.
Though the presenters were competent and their material well-organized, the session felt like a slog. Why? Because each presenter had their own version of Voice Immodulation Syndrome. Simply put, the energy, tone, and volume barely changed during their talks.
When I’m coaching someone who isn’t a natural presenter – and most of us aren't – I encourage them to think like an actor. That means studying the material to identify the peaks, valleys, and plateaus of the “script,” then rehearsing it a few times to build those highs and lows into the “performance.”
Each change in tone provides your audience with a cue: “something’s different, pay attention!” And keeping their attention is the first step toward having them absorb your message.