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How Do We Normally Speak
(when we are interested in what we have to say?)

I want you all to start developing an awareness of how you and the people around you normally communicate. Start taking mental notes so that you can use that knowledge on stage / set / in front of an audience. (Think of the TV shows Yizo Yizo, Ga’Zlam, Zone 14, Sex in the City, Isidingo, and local reality shows and soaps wherever you live. Note how the writers, actors and participants understand and utilise specific modern social and vocal communication structures and so pull unprecedented ratings or viewer numbers.

You have the potential to be a very powerful and popular actor or speaker if you learn to understand and utilise your or the prevailing popular culture’s preferred communication ‘standards’. A quick political aside- Think of how naturally and powerfully many liberation figures communicated in South Africa the 1980’s and the early 90’s. And now think about how flatly many of those same figures communicate now. Stiffly and bound up in suits. Why? Could it be the suits and the airs and graces? Just a thought.

So my advice to you is to honour yourself and the world that we actually live and communicate in, rather than trying to adopt unnatural communication styles! And know that the more you veer from current popular vocal truths, the further you will veer from your audience. Also know that when you do have to break the contemporary patterns of communication, make sure that what you have to say is truly interesting enough to hold the viewer’s attention. Alternatively become so iconic, like Nelson Mandela, that we will listen to anything you have to say no matter how you say it.

And if you are on TV then you must always, always, always remember the power and democracy of the remote control. Bore me, and I will switch you off.

© Donald Woodburn

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