Public Speaking: A Crash Course on Elocution and Confident Speech | Ashley | Skillshare

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Public Speaking: A Crash Course on Elocution and Confident Speech

teacher avatar Ashley

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Elocution Intro


    • 2.



    • 3.



    • 4.

      Clarity and Speed


    • 5.

      Enunciation Exercises


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About This Class

Do you feel nervous speaking in front of large crowds, reading aloud, or even just leading company meetings? This course will teach you the essential skills of elocution (or speaking clearly and confidently).

This course is great for new managers, actors, college students, and non-native English speakers. By the end of this course you'll have the tools necessary to:

  • Project to a large audience
  • Read aloud with clarity and confidence
  • Enunciate words with proper emphasis
  • Use inflection to stress important points
  • Utilize gesture to keep an audience engaged
  • Give a speech that is interesting and easy to understand

In order to make your practice easier, this course includes fun elocution exercises, sample speeches, and poems which you can use to refine your skills.

Meet Your Teacher

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Ashley is a writer, performer, and teacher. She has produced hundreds of live-lit and comedy shows drawing in crowds of 250+ people.



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Level: Beginner

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1. Elocution Intro: Hi. My name is Ashley Keenan. I'm an English instructor and a performer. Have you ever struggled to read aloud to give speeches, to engage an audience or even just be understood by your friends? Well, this course is gonna help solve all those problems. We're going to be covering elocution training. Elocution training is the skill of clear and expressive speech, especially of distinct denunciation and our destination. This course is going to cover projection, getting your voice to your audience inflection, making your tone message clear clarity and speed, and ensure that you have good pacing and that each word is clearly articulated. We'll also provide tips and tricks to boost your public speaking skills and to help reduce your accent. All right. The first assignment is to share your goals with the class. What would you like to accomplish by the end of this course? Do you have any fears? When it comes to public speaking, share them with us below, and you could try to troubleshoot and help each other become better public speakers. Thanks so much for tuning in. And I look forward to working with you all 2. Inflection: Welcome back. Today we're going to be discussing inflection. Inflection is the modulation of intonation or pitch in the voice. It has a lot of synonyms, for example, stress, cadence, rhythm, accent, intonation, pitch and so on. Let's begin by looking at pitch. You may have noticed in your day to day conversations that a rising pitch indicates a question, whereas a falling pitch indicates certainty, a statement or something that is true. The word right is a really interesting example of this. So you may hear people say I know right or you're definitely right Or is she right about that? This one is a really interesting example of how the intonation of rising pitches and falling pitches can shape the meaning of a word or a phrase. Here's a really interesting example. This is from Russell Banks's piece Adultery. As you read this piece, you can see that he's playing with the word right over and over again. And if you're reading it with rising and falling pitches, you can see that there's a very clear and interesting meeting here. But if you read it in a monotone way, you may not catch all of that. Okay, so Let's try it out. Try reading the previous slide first in a monotone voice, so not altering your pitch in any way. Now try reading it with a rising and falling pitch. Depending on the context of the dialogue, Can you notice the difference without altering your pitch? The story loses a lot of its meaning. It becomes very unclear and difficult to understand. So that's something to keep in mind if you're giving speeches. If you are talking with your co workers, rising pitches usually going to indicate a question and a falling pitches going to indicate certainty. This is why a lot of the media likes to make fun of millennials, which I'm a millennial and I don't really like this, But you can see this in a lot of TV shows, so you'll see a millennial person saying, I went out with my boyfriend and we got some dinner and the dinner was like really good. But like I was really offended because he didn't bring a bottle of wine. Okay, so that's enough of that. But in this sort of stereotype, you can see that the pitch is going up and up and up to where the person doesn't actually sound certain about this story that they're telling, which makes it really, really confusing for everybody that's listening in because you think, well, this is your life. Why aren't you sure? Okay, okay, let's go on now to stress. So stress gives emphasis two key parts of your message. When used correctly, it adds clarity and poignancy to what you're saying. Why is word stress important? Well, just like pitch, it can change the meaning of a word. It can impact the meaning of a word, a phrase, and it can really shape the overall tone of what you're trying to say. It's important to note that in English, we do not say each syllable with the same strength or force. This means that one part of a certain word is said louder and longer than other parts of the same word. Here's an example of it in action, so you could say desert is my favorite thing. So in that sense, you're thinking, Oh, a tasty treats that a tasty treat is your favorite thing. But if you put the stress in a different part of the word, you could say desert. It's my favorite thing that can confuse people into thinking that you're talking about a barren landscape. So luckily, there are some rules for word stress when you're reading aloud or having a conversation. A word on Lee has one stress. Longer words might have a slight secondary stress, but never one that is equal to the first. We can only stress fells, not constants. And lastly and sentences we only place stress on content words like down's adjectives, verbs, adverbs, but not function words like modal verbs, auxiliary verbs and most pronounce. If you think about it, it makes sense. So you're not gonna be putting emphasis on the and but and little connecting words like that you're gonna be putting the emphasis on the action words, the things that emote and feel and express. Okay, so now try it out loud. Try grating the text below to see what you've learned so far. So utilize board stress utilized pitch to read this piece below and see how it feels. Okay. Next, we're gonna be talking about rhythm where them is, how your words move in a speech. Good rhythm has a regular cadence and isn't choppy. So you want to make sure that people can listen along. They can follow the flow of what you're trying to say with them helps your audience follow along. It helps them predict what you're going to say as well. Without the proper use of rhythm, a speech might sound fragmented were unclear. A lot of political speeches are an example of how rhythm can help with clarity. So you see that rule of threes? A lot of politicians like to say things like We must act quickly. We must advocate for all We must be citizens of the world for the world. So by using this sense of rhythm in their speech, they're making everything sound more clear. And they're making people believe in them and care about what they have to say. Okay, so try it out. Read the the expert below and try to use a proper sense of rhythm. This is a excerpt from the Speech of Charge, Charles de Gaulle from the appeal of June 18th. Okay, now we're going to put it all together. This is gonna be a projection or a inflection exercise. Excuse me. So, using the techniques we've covered, you'll complete and exercise that will help improve your inflection skills and this next activity you're going to be reading aloud. So try reading the whole excerpt before you do your reading aloud activity. Okay, so for this one, we have an excerpt from Franklin Delano Roosevelt after Yar. It's his first inaugural inaugural address. Eso try reading this one out loud and try using the components off rhythm and pitch and word stress to give poignancy to what you're sharing with the audience. I would also recommend trying in a monotone voice as well, just so you can see the difference between the two. If you want to have even more fun, you can try doing it like millennial stereotype and letting your pitch rise after a lot of these statements and see how ineffective that becomes and how confusing it is for people to follow along. All right, Well, great job. Thank you so much for watching this video. And I look forward to working with you guys again in the next video 3. Projection: Welcome back today we're gonna be discussing projection Projection is just a nice word for getting your voice up over the page and to the very back of the room, making sure your entire audience can understand you. A more formal definition might be the strength of speaking or singing, whereby the voices used loudly and clearly. It's a technique that you'll often see used by politicians or performers. It's a way of commanding a room. One of the first techniques improper projection is breathing. Proper breathing for a speech would usually be diaphragmatic breathing, which is just a fancy way of saying belly breathing or a breathing from your gut. There's a more scientific explanation of what diaphragmatic breathing is, but if you're not too interested in that, all you need to know is that it's activating your muscles to get your voice out to the audience in a clear way. So why is diaphragmatic breathing important? It improves your voice quality, your vocal clarity, and it also helps to project confidence to your audience. Think of why the term mouth breather has become a pretty dang mean insult in recent years. Someone who's struggling to breathe can easily be seen is off putting or lacking in confidence. It's kind of like that term sweaty palms. You know, you don't want to project this sense of being unsure of what you want to say, so it's not a very nice thing to say to somebody. But it is ballot, I think, in certain senses. Okay, so what we're gonna do now is try it out. Sit or lay down. Put your hands on your stomach as you breathe in your hands should expand and rise with your stomach. When you exhale, your hand should return to the resting position. Inhale and exhale to account of five. Increasing this number as you get better at it. Focus on your inhaling and exhaling, watching your hands rise and fall. The more you do it, the better you'll get at it. But this is a great way to try out diaphragmatic breathing and to really activate those belly muscles that you need in order to project to a larger audience. Another thing that impacts projection is your posture and body language. Slouching, fidgeting and shifting can weaken your ability to project clearly. Also boring. Body language gets boring results if you don't look like you're interested. Why would your audience want to be interested in you? Why is posture and body language important? Well, I know that there's a lot of statistics that get kicked around with body language, but we have some from the direct source here, so 55% of communication is body language. 30 proof, 38% is tone invoice, and 7% is the actual words spoken. However, we do need to account for context, relationships, patterns of movement, things like that. Um, the way that you speak with your boss might be different than the way you interact with your wife. For example, it's still important to note, though this is a really significant amount of the way that we're communicating with each other and understanding each other. So it tried out. Stand up straight with your shoulders pulled back, hands at your sides, say the following phrase out loud. The 33 thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday. Now try it again, but this time, try slouching or fidgeting. Can you hear the difference? If not, try recording yourself and during the exercise again, see if you can spot the differences between the one with effective upright posture and the one what you're slouching and moving around. Another technique that can help with projection is enunciation. Annunciation is when you pronounce each word. Clearly, you can see examples of this and lounge music and musicals, and it's something that it really depends on where you're from. So, for example, there's certain areas in the United States where enunciation is more clipped, like, for example, in Boston or New York. Um, but there's also places where it might be stretched out a little bit more so it's something to be aware of, and these enunciation activities can help you to reduce the impact of your regional accent as well. So why is Annunciation important? Well, when you're giving speeches or leading meetings, it's critical that your audience understands the key facts and takeaways. It's also helpful for embarrassing mistakes, like calling a hero eijiro. So let's try it out. Try saying the classic tongue twister below as fast as you can. It's How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood and so on? If you can't get it the first time, don't worry. Slow down your speed and try enunciating every single word as you improve. You can speed up again. This is a really good activity to keep trying every single day, and it's gonna sharpen your ability to enunciate clearly. Let's try putting it all together, guessing the techniques we've covered. You'll complete an exercise that will help you improve your projection skills, and this next activity will be reading aloud. Take a moment to read the whole Ex ERT before you try reading it aloud. Also imagine that you're in front of an audience. Visualize your voice, lifting up over the page and sailing to the back of the room, making sure that every single person in the audience can understand you when it feels natural. Try lifting your gaze to meet the eyes of the imagined audience. This may seem hard at first, but when you do it properly, it's a way to engage your audience and to stay connected to them. Remember to keep your back erect and make good use of body language. Don't allow your body to become too rigid or two bouncy. Try to find the sweet spot. Okay for the next assignment, what you're going to be doing is reading this assignment out loud, trying to utilize some of these projection techniques that we covered in class. I've included a speech from William Faulkner. It is his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. So go ahead and breathe this to yourself and then try reading it out loud, using some of the techniques that we covered today. Okay, so that's the end of the projection lesson for today. Now, I know some of you might have noticed that I had a few tiny little arms slipped through into our speech. That is something that you want to get better at with every single time you're speaking. But it's OK if they come in every now and again. As long as you're not stumbling and fumbling throughout your entire speech. You don't want to go crazy with perfectionism. You just want to make sure that you saw natural, clear and easy to understand. All right, great job. I hope you enjoyed that assignment and I look forward to watching your videos below 4. Clarity and Speed: everyone today, we're gonna be talking about clarity and speed. Clarity is the ability to be easily understood clearly could be achieved by combining all other elements of elocution, so articulation, inflection, emphasis, projection, tone and gesture. Let's start by looking at tone. Although pitch in tone are closely related, they're not quite the same thing. Tone refers to the consistent quality of your voice. Pitch is referring to The Highness and low nous of a sound. It relates to frequency, and it's not really used to ca note grammatical meeting. Whereas tone references, it sounds pitch quality and strength. So it's taking pitch and it's adding a few other things to it, and it is used to keynote grammatical meaning. Here's an example. I'm going to read a poem to you or an excerpt from a poem, and you could see the use of tone throughout the piece. I should be telling this with a sigh somewhere. Ages and ages Hence two roads diverged in the woods, and I I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. So the tone of this excerpt is reflective and possibly even somber. We know the writer had to make a difficult choice. If this excerpt were to be read with the cheery boys, it would obstruct. The overall meaning of the peace would make it very confusing. For example, if I said I should be reading this with a size somewhere. Ages and ages heads two roads diverged in the woods, and I I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. So by reading it with that kind of a tone, it's making it seem like it's more of an uplifting peace. And it's really taking away the uncertainty in the reflectiveness that the author is experiencing here. Okay, so try it out. Try reading the previous slide in a giddy voice, then try reading it in your natural tone of voice. Finally, try it one more time, but this time using a reflective tone so slowing down and really placing emphasis on the words that carry a lot of meaning. Can you notice the difference? Does it feel different to read it in each of those different tones? I hope so. Okay, now let's move on to pacing. Pacing is essential and giving a clear speech or even just talking to a friend in a way that they can understand you. Pacing allows listeners to follow along and to process what you're saying. Good pacing is also going to give space for people to think and respond at the same time is actively listening to you. Having the right pacing demonstrates confidence, and it helps your audience to understand and relate to you in your speech. If you speak too quickly, your audience will be overwhelmed and they're gonna feel anxious. They're going to get information overload and kind of not care anymore. If you speak to slowly, you'll disengage your audience. They become bored. We'll get sick of hearing the tone of your voice so you want to find that sweet spot in the middle. Try it out. Try reading the text below as fast as you can when you finish tried again, this time using proper pacing. If you're feeling especially ambitious, you can try it one more time using a very slow and boring pace. Then you can find what the sweet spot is for you in your own tone of voice, in your own abilities as a speaker, and that's what you want to strive for every time that you're talking to other people every time that you're giving a speech, you want to find that nice middle section, the sweet spot where people can both follow along but not get bored. OK, the next topic will cover is gesture just a reaffirms and emphasizes your talking points when it's used properly. As with pacing, you can use it. Teoh. You can use it to help your readers follow along and understand you. But you also have to find the sweet spot right, so you don't want your hands to be waving like a crazy person. But you also don't want to be standing there like a stick man. Now, more than ever, people cannot focus on static. Images were used to things in motion or used to live streams and instagram and activity. So we rely on body language to understand important moments and details. Gesture can imply that something is serious or light hearted. Gesture helps listeners to actively listen and to be engaged. You can see it in action below. Looking at this clip of former President Obama, you can see that he is using his gestures to kind of place, emphasis on certain parts of his speech. You don't actually have to hear him saying anything. You could just tell through the gestures that what he's saying is important. Now do you notice how his hand movements complement his pauses? They're kind of lifting up and giving weight to these important moments here. Let's try putting it all together. So for the final project, you're going to record yourself giving a speech. It could be a famous speech like any of the ones you've practiced in this course so far. Or it could be one that you've written yourself. It'll has everything you've learned about elocution to given excellent operation. Go ahead. And if you're feeling brave, share it with the class below. It's always wonderful to see other people's growth and to see what you've created. Okay, so I would recommend making the speech 1 to 5 minutes long. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. It could be why cats in the best animal or you know where I'd like to travel one day. But I want you to practice using these tips and tricks to make sure that your speech is understandable. Make sure that you're connecting with your audience and make sure that people have a reason to care about what you're saying. All right, I hope you found this video helpful will be exploring some or elocution techniques and tips and tricks in the last video, and I look forward to working with you all soon. 5. Enunciation Exercises: Congratulations. You've made it to the final video of the course. And this last video, we're going to be covering some Annunciation exercises that can help you to refine your speech and really pronounce every single word the best way possible. I encourage you to come back to this video often and keep practising these tongue twisters . They are an incredible way to reduce your accent, to sharpen your ability to speak clearly. And also, there are a lot of fun. Um, we're going to go through, and I hope that you'll be patient with me as I say them. I do these pretty much every day and I do them all the time with my students. But that doesn't mean that I'm perfect. So I'm gonna be saying them I might slip up every now and again, but I hope you'll have a good laugh with me. And I hope that you're practicing along with me at home. Okay, let's begin A Around the rugged rocks, the ragged rascal ran be big black bug bit a big black bear and the big black bear bled black blood C Can I cook a proper cup of coffee and a copper coffee pot de I don't doubt the doorbell but differ with the door knob e eight grey geese in a green field grazing if fine white vinegar with feel g Grab the ground hog from the glazed grass H high roller, low roller glow roller I inexplicably mimicking him Hiccupping j jingle jangle jangle Joker Okay, net kilts for nasty cold nights l a little lucky Luke likes lakes Lucky little Luke likes looking legs M monkeys make monopoly monotonous en the next nest will not necessarily be next to nothing. Oh, occupy Occupy a porky pies Mind P Peter Pringle the prickly pear picker picked three perfectly prickly pears Que Queen Catherine wakes the cat and the cat quietly cries Our Roberta ran rings around the Roman ruins as some sun shine Do you shun sunshine? I'm gonna do that one again So I think I messed it up a little bit Some shun sunshine Do you shun sunshine? This one is one of the hardest ones to do So if you master this, please record it and share it below. I would love to see it some shun sunshine Do you shun sunshine? All right, I think we got it, guys. T The 33 thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday. You unique New York Unique New York unique New York. This one is fun to say. Three times fast. V Venti Grande. A tall, very grand words for large, medium and small. Let's do that one again. Bendy grand tall, very grand words for large, medium and small. That sounds a little bit better. W. Will. Sweat suit is round and wet and rough and wide and ready to go on a watery ride. X xylophones exist, or so existentialists insist. Why Yoda Meta Getty on the plains of Serengeti Z Zoologists illogically love to read astrology. All right, great job. He made it to the end. If any of those were really hard, and I'm sure they were, Ah, go back and do it again. Keep trying and keep practicing. It's a really fun way to improve your own instigation, and it's also super fun to do with friends. See who can get it correct and see who could do it the fastest. I hope you all have enjoyed this course. Please feel welcome to share any comments, questions, suggestions below. I'm always looking to engage you guys and to help you become better public speakers. Uh, so I hope you enjoyed everything, and I look forward to looking at your videos and reading your comments below by everyone.