Reading Aloud–it’s not just for kids!

Author and friend Jack Falvey writes a Daily Sales Tip (if you are interested in sales and influencing – it’s free and highly recommended–more information at the end). A recent one has application to bookworms and parents.

As sales professionals, we are all public speakers. The audience is usually only one or two people, but we earn our living delivering a verbal message. On occasion we address a conference room full of people, and sometimes larger groups. Reading aloud is an exercise professional public speakers do on a regular basis. It allows them to listen to their own voice without performance distractions. Being comfortable with how you sound to yourself is a good start on being comfortable with how you sound to others. Do you speak too fast? Do you know where to pause and for how long? Can you make eye contact with people while you are reading?

If you have young children, read aloud to them. If you are early for an appointment, read your pre-call objective and answers to your customer’s basic questions to the windshield of your car. When given a chance to use a microphone, take it. Get as comfortable as you can speaking in front of people. The more you do of it, the more relaxed you will get. With practice you will be able to slow down in pressure situations. You will use confident pauses for emphasis, and the pitch of your voice will not noticeably deviate. All this from daily reading out loud.

That’s just excellent advice all around. (I’m not sure Jack really meant to suggest we literally read to the windshield while driving—I do, however, have some great conversations with mine. I think it’s more accurately called “talking to myself.”)

When I’m at the school bookworming, I occasionally tease the kids that I hardly ever get a chance to read to them! I must say, that it really is sorta neat that hardly any of them feel sorry for me and offer to give up the privilege and let me read. And when I do get a chance–hard as I try–I find it difficult to match the feelings some of them put into the stories they read when their voices take on the character’s qualities.

If you’ll allow me an aside, I’m currently reading  the book “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.” (The title is an example of how much difference a comma makes. In original form the phrase was meant to describe a koala bear who eats shoots and leaves. That’s a lot different than eats, shoots, and leaves, isn’t it?) Anyway… in this book we learn that much of what we use as punctuation was developed as an aide to performers—showing them where to pause, breathe, etc. Fascinating stuff!

Are you reading this aloud? Can you read that title both ways?

The points here is that reading (both aloud and not) carries with it enumerable benefits! If you can’t find a kid, read aloud to yourself! When the table is turned, encourage some drama. There’s an increased interest in family board game night… how about family reading night? Pass the book from one family member to the next, reading a page or two each. Read! Read! Read! (And yes, occasionally talk to yourself or your windshield too!)

 Jack’s a generous sharer and I appreciate his permission to reprint. For more information about Jack and his work visit www.jackfalvey.org. For a free subscription to his sales tips, visit www.makingthenumbers.com.

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