Unifying Idea, Body, and Voice

It all starts with an idea

A presentation or a performance begins with an idea put to words — words that are sometimes meticulously crafted and lovingly honed. Many presenters and performers make the mistake of thinking that it ends there as well. And if all you’re going to do is e-mail that text, well then, you are done. Hit send and pat yourself on the back.

Throwing body and voice behind the idea

If, however, you’re planning to share your words with an audience, you’re still missing two essential components of an authentic, dynamic presentation: body and voice. If there isn’t unity among these three aspects of your performance — idea, body, and voice — the message is incomplete. And your audience will come up short, because the whole will lack coherence and, quite possibly, credibility as well. The addition of voice and gesture makes your ideas vibrate and dance in the space; they shape, lift and land the images and thoughts; they help a listener trust the veracity and authenticity of your message.

It can be uncomfortable, disorienting, or possibly terrifying to put your words “on their feet” and to lend the music of your voice to them. But if what you’re saying doesn’t harmonize with how you’re saying it — with what an audience also hears and sees — you won’t be able to affect those listeners, to shift or change them in some way so that they leave the room in a different state. This is, after all, the measure of the success of any performance, story, speech or presentation: whether it has an impact on the audience.

Acting out the idea

Once you know the content of your presentation, try performing it silently, using only your body in space to convey the thoughts. Free your arms and hands, uproot your feet from where you’ve planted them, dare to step out from behind the podium. You’ll likely feel awkward, vulnerable, exposed. That’s good! It’s just an exercise.

Sing it to a friend

Then try singing the text, like an aria. Or speak it in an outrageous foreign accent. Have fun with your voice.

Finally, envision a very specific listener, and imagine an intimate, familiar setting. Tell your story to that one trusted, trusting friend.

Odds are that these experiments will begin to loosen you up and to free a fuller-bodied, truer-voiced iteration of your words.

Idea + body + voice = authenticity

This synthesis of idea, body and voice doesn’t come naturally to most of us, but it is possible for all of us. It requires commitment, bravery, and rehearsal! We’d love to work with you on such an endeavor. It will add immeasurably to bringing your message to your intended audience in a vibrant, memorable and authentic way.

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