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Exercising clear delivery and diction

From: On Camera: Develop Your Video Presence

Video: Exercising clear delivery and diction

It goes without saying that you want whatever you are presenting on camera to be understood by the audience. In order for that to happen, you must speak clearly. So in this movie, we're going to learn about delivery and diction. While a lot of this movie is about being an on-camera presenter, much of this lesson will certainly benefit anyone who will be interviewed on TV or radio. I hope you stay with me. I think a great place to start is with your own name, because we've each said our name our whole lives, we often rush through it and slur the words.

Exercising clear delivery and diction

It goes without saying that you want whatever you are presenting on camera to be understood by the audience. In order for that to happen, you must speak clearly. So in this movie, we're going to learn about delivery and diction. While a lot of this movie is about being an on-camera presenter, much of this lesson will certainly benefit anyone who will be interviewed on TV or radio. I hope you stay with me. I think a great place to start is with your own name, because we've each said our name our whole lives, we often rush through it and slur the words.

After all we know who we are, right? Let's correct this right now. I'm going to say my name as if I'm introducing myself to you. My name is Rick Allen Lippert. Think about how that sounds when you don't enunciate it. My name is Rick Allen Lippert. Hope you can see how important this little act is. If you are going to be an on-camera presenter, your first job is to be prepared. Start by reading aloud the script, maybe even several times.

Train your ear how it should sound. If there is an area or a passage that gives you trouble every time, it may need to be rewritten. Sometime scripts are written by people with a print background. There's a difference in writing for the eye versus the ear. I believe that if the talent has trouble with a passage, then it's the writer's fault. That passage needs to be rewritten. And I say that as a writer myself. You may need to talk with the director about making the script work for you. Above all, it should be conversational.

But let's assume the script is well-written and that you've rehearsed it several times. You've done your vocal exercises to find your natural voice with the proper breath support. So let's work on your delivery. Unless directed otherwise, just be yourself. The more natural you are, the more comfortable and accepting your audience will be. As I've said before, smiling makes you more approachable and confident. When you start actually narrating or speaking after being given the action cue, you want to use the appropriate emotion.

The content will dictate how you should feel about it. You'll also want to vary your delivery. Don't read each sentence the exact same way. Dynamic delivery is more entertaining than monotone. (video playing) Speaking in appropriate phrases, using pauses, and putting the right emphasis on the right syllables is important for the audience to absorb the information you're presenting. Understanding technical information isn't as important as sounding like you understand it.

Again, it's best to have a content expert there to offer guidance. What should you do if you make a mistake? The type of production will determine what happens next. They may want to stop the recording and reset things, or they may have you just back up and start over. Unless directed to stop after a bobble, you generally want to just pause, then go back to the start of the sentence or paragraph and pick it up just before the mistake. (video playing) They may be able to edit out the bobble, or cover it with different video.

If, however, you are speaking extemporaneously, or in an interview, a little flub or bobble may be minor enough to not bother the audience. In this case, the quicker you blow it off and keep going, the quicker the audience will forget about it. (video playing) Think of it like the ice skaters who fall during their performance. They just get right up and finish their routine.

Would you like to sound more intelligent when you are on camera? Of course you would. Then enunciate your consonants. This may take some practice. Don't slur your Ds and Ts or drop your Gs unless it's part of your presentation. Let's practice a minute. There is a line that I use when I rehearse. You can use the same line when you practice as well. Here it is. "Wouldn't you like to start renovating the wooden patio decking?" This sentence has a couple of traps.

I hope your 'wouldn't' sounded differently from your wooden. Did you enunciate the Ts in out, start, renovating, and patio? The last time I checked, patio did not have a D in it. And did you keep the G in renovating and decking? Or did your sentence sound like, wouldn't you like to go out and start renovating the wooden patio deck in? Another common diction problem that many people have is chewing their words. This happens when the word "you" follows a word that ends in a T or a D, like the sentence we just practiced.

Did you say wouldn't you or wooden you? Sometimes people have regional dialects that affect how they speak. Take for instance, what did you have? In many parts of the country that might sound like whadjahav? Without a lot of practice, you probably won't lose a regional dialect, but with practice, you can certainly sound more of what's called General American. That's what they mean by no regional dialect. My background is from the South, but on camera I try to avoid sounding like it.

So avoid colloquialisms unless they're germane to your topic. Remember your audience. They might not be from your neck of the woods. You want them to remember what you say, not the fact that you ain't from around here.

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On Camera: Develop Your Video Presence

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Rick Allen Lippert
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