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Beans, beans, boring beans.

If you had to eat beans on toast for the rest of your life, you’d probably lose the will to live—not because your flatulence would frighten off all your friends (although that may well be the case), but because eating beans on toast at every meal would be dreadfully dull.

The same goes for your delivery.

Even if you’re speaking with interesting inflection, grand gestures, and a pleasant pace, sustaining any one thing for a period of time is bound to get boring after a while. (Even booming, resonant voices get tiresome if they’re not punctuated with softer moments).

In Toastmasters, we talk about vocal variety. Varying degrees of pace, pitch, pause, and projection creates interest.

You can also apply the same principle to body language. Ask yourself: what are some different ways I can move and gesture in order to break up the sameness of my delivery (...without looking erratic)?

Your delivery should do two things: (1) Maintain engagement, and (2) appear natural.

A key method to maintaining engagement is by mixing up your body language and incorporating vocal variety. Naturalness is achieved through self-awareness.

So, how do you mix things up…naturally?

Identify the key moments in your speech or presentation. Ask yourself: what is the underlying meaning I am wanting to communicate with this phrase or idea, and how can I use my voice and body to best convey that?


(1) Decreasing your volume and pace to draw your audience in

(2) Moving forwards, toward your audience, to increase urgency

(3) Increasing your volume and pace to demonstrate passion

(4) Decreasing pace and incorporating more pauses to emphasise key ideas

(5) Delivering key ideas from different parts of the speaking area to make your points distinct

(6) Personifying the characters in stories

So, whenever you’re preparing for an important presentation or speech, remember: sameness is the enemy of the speaker. Identify the key moments in your material and consider how you could use your voice and body to best highlight those moments.

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