February 22, 2015 fm

Monotony Kills

What do you think of when you hear the word monotony? What kinds of associations pop up in your mind?

I’ll give you a hand. When you look for synonyms in Thesaurus, you’ll get what you asked for – an enumeration of everything that makes our human life so exciting:

Boredom, colorlessness, continuance, continuity, dreariness, dryness, dullness, ennui, equability, evenness, flatness, humdrum, identicalness, invariability, likeness, monotone, oneness, repetitiousness, repetitiveness, routine, same old thing, sameness, similarity, tediousness, tedium, tiresomeness, unchangeableness, uniformity, wearisomeness.

OK, I agree, irony loses its impact when it’s too obvious. Monotony kills. Monotony kills everywhere. Monotony kills in architecture, in art, in poetry, in music, with food, at work, in your bedroom. And, for sure, monotony kills your speeches and presentations.

The same welcome phrase, the same volume, the same pacing, the same pitch, the same meaningless gestures, the same filler sounds, the same filler word and, and, and, and, … Monotony kills!

But you don’t have to be monotonous in public speaking. It’s your free choice as a speaker. In public speaking, like anywhere else in life, it’s the antonyms of monotony that attract our human attention:

Break, change, color, difference, dissimilarity, excitement, liveliness, stoppage, unlikeness, variability, versatility.

Here are two ways to kill monotony in public speaking.

1) Use dialog

Dialog is one of the seven elements of storytelling by Aristotle. Don’t retell stories; relive them – with dialog. Every time you relive a dialog with another person on stage – a boss, a colleague, your mom – you automatically turn into the other person. Your mimic changes, your voice changes, your body language changes. Dialogs kill monotony.

2) Use the flip chart

When you turn into a slave of your slides, monotony goes hand in hand. At least, when you use what I call handout slides. An easy way to break that power pointed monotony is the inclusion of a black slide – an interstitial slide. Black is neutral, focus is back on you. When you click to your black slide, you grab the flip chart that you parked beforehand and show some point using marker and paper. More tangible, more creative, less monotonous. After using the flip chart you click to your next normal slide.

There are many more ways to kill monotony in public speaking. And many of those you’ll discover and explore at Spectacular Speaking Barcelona 2015. Your public speaking will be full of breaks, changes, colors, differences, dissimilarities, excitement, liveliness, stoppage, unlikeness, variability and versatility.

RIP monotony.

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