Boss Move 1: Speed
Modulation is really, in speed and volume, is really just about change. How much change are you putting into your speed? When are you going fast? When are you going slow? Indicates to us a lot about not just what your words are, but what they mean. We think about speed, it really is about how much change we put into our voice. That gives your audience an indication about what you mean by what you say. It helps us interpret the intention of your content. So what we're gonna be doing now, very quickly, 'cause this is how we go, is we're gonna jump right into playing with this a little bit. I'm gonna ask for volunteers to come on up, and get actual coaching in the territory of modulation. Think about something you did as a kid that you really enjoyed, that was kind of regular in your life. A short story, takes 20 seconds to tell. So I'm looking for someone who is willing to take a mic, and come on up with me. Great, great, thanks! Okay, cool. So give a round of applause, everybody. (audie...
nce applauses) Yeah, for the folks who get up and go first, we gotta go. Tell us your name again?
My name is Donna.
Hi Donna, so tell us your story. Just a quick one about the thing that you did when you were a kid that you really enjoyed.
I really loved playing office when I was a kid.
So I'd go to the bank and get little deposit slips and fill them out and we had a separate phone line, and I'd call my sister on the phone. We filed slips and deliver things. I'd be all organized and have all my different paper piles.
Great, that's fun.
Pens and paper, notebooks. I still love pens and notebooks.
That's great, that's great. Okay, so we're gonna play with speed here. What do you wanna guess, are we gonna make it go up or go down? Yes, so tell the story again.
Yes, tell it directly to your room here. Pick somebody to talk to, that really helps. Pick somebody to talk to, and tell the story again half as fast as you just did.
Really take your time.
So when I was a kid, I loved to go to the bank. I'd get the deposit slips, you know when they were in triplicate ideally, back in the old days. Then I would get piles of papers, and I'd have notebooks and call my sister on the phone and schedule appointments.
Good, is she much slower?
Good, we're gonna cut it in half again. Could she go more slowly?
She could. How does it feel for you?
I could breathe, I could take another breath.
What's it like for you to go half the speed that you just did?
It feels challenging.
It feels challenging, great. So we're gonna keep going. Take the same pace you just did and then cut it in half again, really slow. I'd like you to start with the phrase, when I was a kid, I loved playing office, and then tell us about it. Nice and slow, yeah.
When I was a kid--
No, no, do it again. Square your feet, there you go. There it is, nice and grounded. Nice and slow, (exhales) there you go.
When I was a kid, I loved playing office. I would go to the bank and I would get the deposit slips. I'd bring them home, I would fill them out and create piles. Then I would get all organized with my paper, and my pens, and my notebooks, and I would feel really important.
Good, stop right there. Good, did you notice this? Give her a round of applause, right here. (audience claps) Very good, okay. So what do you notice when she goes so much more slowly? What happens? Yes, right here with the mic?
So much more engaging. I'm like, ooh tell me about it.
That's right, back here. Right here, Fiona.
There's a lot more emotion and how she is communicating it, like Rosy said, makes it a lot more engaging and I want to listen.
Yeah, and thank you. Did it feel like more emotion or less emotion to you?
More, I felt like I had time to enter the story.
Time to enter the story. What a beautiful thing. Who doesn't want their next strategy meeting to kick off with somebody making space for the story to unfold. Whatever it is, right? So good, great! Over here, anybody else? Yeah, Jess.
It immediately sounded like a TED-X. It was about you playing office as a kid, but that intro just set the stage for intrigue and mystery and again story, you wanna know more.
Yeah and so as I listened to you, you go so slow, when you take your time, you have an impact on me.
When you take your time, you have an impact on me. I mean, think about it, even the phrase "Take your time" you're just taking up space. You're letting everybody be on your schedule, but you're also creating a container that we can step into with you. Really, really nice. Overall, I would say my challenge to you going forward is every time you start a new client meeting and you're gonna kick off a new discussion, that this is the place you start. Bring it down. Really good, how'd that feel to you?
Okay, what was it like? And what did you notice?
Well, the main thing is giving myself permission to breath while I'm speaking. How can I have power if I'm not breathing?
That's right, really good. That's great, okay have a seat. Thank you, who's up next? One more. We're gonna play and speed a few times. Yes, right here. Fun, too, right? It should be a little bit fun. It's a little bit fun. Okay, so tell us your name.
Hi I'm Reva.
And when I was a little girl, I did gymnastics. I grew up in the era of the Golden Age. Might not be relevant to you, but Shannon Miller, Kim Zmeskal and Dominick Moceanu. They were my idols. Now I'd always dreamt of going to the Olympics. What was so special about gymnastics to me, is that I felt so empowered. Every day in the gymn, I had some special power to be able to fly through the air.
Yeah, that was me.
Great, so do we want to go faster or slower with her? Slower? Yeah, I'm gonna see what this feels like because the thing is there's nothing wrong with what's going on here. I'm compelled by you, straight up. But if we wanna grow your range, give you more tools to pull on when you wanna change that impact, we're gonna play with speed for you. Okay?
So this is not about what you're doing is a problem, this is a Yes, And. I'm gonna have you, of all people, rush. I want you to talk as fast as you can, and I want you to start with the phrase, "I love gymnastics." Go!
I love gymnastics. When I was a little girl, I felt so empowered because I dreamt of being like my idols, Shannon Miller, Kim Zmaskal, Dominique Moceanu. I wanted to be them and go to the Olympics. Every day I went to the gym, I felt so empowered because I had a special power to be able to fly through the air.
That's good! That's nice, good. So what just happened for you as you listened to her? You can pass the mics around. What just happened? What did you notice?
It's more engaging.
Ah ha, great.
And there's more enthusiasm, I think, the second round.
That's right, so what I loved about that it didn't let go of your presence and your sort of power. But it added, it sprinkled in a little bit enthusiasm. It made me feel like it wasn't just important, it was also fun and exciting.
Yes, Jess, right there. Pass it.
So I found it interesting that when she sped it up, she cut out the kind of, you know, like, and went ah, and just the things that we probably would have worked on in a feedback-type of--
Yes, and what I love about that, what she's noticing too is that for some of us, speeding up cleans up our language. For some of us, slowing down cleans up our language. Again this doesn't live in absolutes. It's fully contextual to you, right? Really, really good observation. Anybody else wanna share what you noticed? Yes.
[Woman In Gray Sweater] It was more exciting and dynamic and had more clarity.
That's right, that's great. What was your experience?
I felt energized. I mean gymnastics is a very past-paced sport, so speaking quickly it's like I almost was transported back to that time. Tumbling, moving, and thinking fast.
I love that.
Right. What I love about this too is when you pair her first version with this version, now you can imagine if she's speaking in front of us for 45 minutes, how much of a dance she can play between those two places. Maybe you're gonna talk about something that is very thoughtful and landed, then you're gonna use that slower, more deliberate pace. But when you're talking about something that's thrilling and has momentum to it, maybe you're gonna step into this other sort of pace.
I love that.
Really good, really good. Thank you, okay who's next? One more on speed, one more. Let's go, one more. Come on, I don't bite. I'm super friendly. (audience chuckles) Great, Orena, thank you. Okay, so do you wanna pick the same story? Orena was in a class earlier and she told a story that was similar to this. Would you like to pick that one, or a different one?
The same one.
When I was a kid, I used to go rollerskating in the park. As soon as spring came and it was warmer outside, I would go rollerskating and I would enjoy the wind in my hair and the smell of the trees. I did that for a very long time, and that gave me very strong calves. (audience laughs)
She almost delivered it exactly as we heard it before. That's so good, did you prepare? She's been doing homework all week. Okay, so which way do we want to go? Faster or slower, just as an experiment?
Faster, great. So let's see what happens, again this is all an experiment. We don't have to attach too tightly to these, we might do both with you. Yes, I think we'll probably do both with you. So let's go more quickly, and let's start with the phrase, anybody have an offer? "I love rollerskating." Go!
I love rollerskating. When I was a kid, I used to go rollerskating all of the time. As soon as spring came, I would go to the park and I would skate all through the park with the wind in my hair and the smell of the trees. And that gave me really strong calves. (Dia and audience laugh)
It's so funny. Also the calves, let's not forget about the calves. Every time let's not forget about the calves. So good. What was that like for you? Better, stronger? In what way? So funny.
The first time it was kinda dead-pan, and this time I saw your joy with rollerskating.
Yeah, I agree. A little less dead-pan, a little less flat and tempered, careful. Good. Anybody else? What was it like for you?
It was more emotional, I felt more emotion. I felt more engaged with the story.
Great, so do it again. I'd like you to do it slowly but with equal passion.
And the starting phrase was, "I love rollerskating?" I love rollerskating. When I was a kid, I used to go rollerskating all the time.
All the time, so good. Keep going, we can't wait to hear about the calves. (everyone chuckles)
As soon as spring came, I would go to the park. I would skate all through the park with the wind in my hair and with the smell of the trees.
That gave me really strong calves.
There you go, good strong calves. Very good, very good. (audience applauses) Okay we're gonna do--
I think so slow down the last sentence a lot.
That's exactly! So I think we're gonna do something that we haven't done with anybody else, which is to combine these two. So while you go through it, let's start slow. Do the middle fast, and then give us the calves line real slow and see what happens. Good, see experimenting. It's all about experimenting, great.
I love rollerskating. When I was a kid, I would go rollerskating all the time.
Can you believe it?
As soon as spring came, I would just go through the park and skate all through it. I would enjoy the wind in my hair and the smell of the trees. And that gave me really strong calves.
Yeah, that's it! Give her a... (audience cheers) Thank you Orena, have a seat. (laughs) Okay, great. Communication boss move number one, speed. Some of it I know is fun and silly, and what a delight that you are all able to step into trying this on in different ways. But you can see what a powerful tool this is that you can lever that thing up and down across the way you deliver. Yes?
I keep thinking when I've seen Michelle Obama speak, she speaks so slowly and powerfully.
I couldn't imagine speaking that slowly, but it's so powerful when she speaks.
So a few caveats, so often when you might see her and other folks that you really respect as super magnetic, big-audience kinds of speakers, is that they are just that. They're in an enormous audience and the scale of that it changes what the situation needs from you. In that context, slower more methodical, but very annunciated, and so her slowness is this beautiful pace and when she wants to add meanings to something, she will stretch out those vowels in her words. She goes from slow and methodical to very intentionally even slower. So we have to think about the context really drives the boss move that you wanna draw upon. Can we imagine her and other folks you might respect in a conversation? Even in interviews you've seen her in? It's still very tempered, but it's not that same degree of disciplined slowness. Yes, really good. That was fun, thank you Orena for letting us play with you in that way. Boss move number one. Maybe I said this at the beginning, these are almost embarrassingly simple. Right at out fingertips. Practicing them makes all the difference because when you do them, when you move your body and hear yourself in that different way, that's where you get to notice, whoa that actually gives me, what did you say? Let's me enter the story. Really nice. Now that, when you do that, that's when you give yourself room to start speaking from the heart. Give yourself space to step into your own story. Fantastic! I'll stop here and see if there are any questions from anywhere, either the virtual or real room, about this.
So when you mentioned let's go slow with the joke, or take it slow at the beginning with the summary, I love rollerskating. Was your thinking behind that, get the key point across really powerfully? You want to make that point upfront, or you want to close it with a, like start strong, close strong. Is that where you got that guidance?
Yeah, we're gonna talk more about that a little bit later. In this case, I just offered it as a really clean place to start, just to give that to you. Start it and not have where do I start be an issue. In my coaching it's sometimes important to just give my client a place to start, because we're not practicing starting. We're just practicing that speed move, so let me just give you a place and you don't have to think about it. Also it does matter how you start. I saw that with yours, it felt really strong when you started with something strong. It was easier to stay in that picture. For now, we're just doing experiments. So I didn't have a strong rationale, except to give you a simple ramp.