Vocal and Visual Delivery (and “Power Posing”!)

Delivery of information can sometimes be more powerful than the message itself- for better or worse.  In support of this, Amy Cuddy gave a TEDTalk describing a study that showed how individuals who used “power poses” for two minutes before interviewing were ranked as more appealing in job interviews than those who did not.  These different “poses,” such as the Wonder Woman, actually increase testosterone and cortisol.  The way individuals present themselves while speaking has an impact on their biological chemistry and on their perceived effectiveness.

Laura Rillero and I worked together on a lesson focused on visual and vocal delivery methods while giving speeches, and this piece of information (along with a modeling of power poses) was a small piece of that.  The intention of the activity was to prepare students to give “toasts” as characters from history or popular culture for a “Transcendental Tea Party.”  (Here is the description and resources for that assignment.)  The lesson idea originally came from Springboard, and then Melissa Larisch made these resources.  (Thanks Melissa!)

The lesson had the following learning targets:

  • ›I can define characteristics and examples of vocal and visual delivery.
  • ›I can practice and enhance my delivery skills by creating and utilizing appropriate vocal and visual techniques.

We began by having students brainstorm three examples of visual and vocal delivery and share out findings.  Then, we went over the following terms on a a Power Point (see below for this resource):

  • Tone
  • Volume
  • Pace
  • Pause
  • Non-verbal/Visual Cues

Students then followed this with a small group activity where they had two minutes to do one of the following before sharing out with the group:

  • ›Tone – Give five examples of tones and verbal or non-verbal cues for each
  • ›Volume – When should the volume be high? When should it be low? Give an example of each.
  • ›Pace – When should the pace be fast? When should the pace be slow? Give an example of each.
  • ›Pause – Give three examples of when you should pause while speaking and why it would be effective to do so in that moment
  • ›Non-Verbals – Give five examples of “visual” delivery cues for a confident speaker

After students shared out responses, then each student was given a “scenario card” that described a situation in which they would say the line, “Hi Honey.  I’m home.”  Scenarios ranged from “you just lost your job” to “you won the lottery.”

Before students delivered the line, they had to fill out a short graphic organizer outlining the visual and vocal methods they planned to utilize for the activity.  Then, after each performance, the other students had to guess the scenario the performer was depicting.

For the most part, students did an awesome job with this portion of the activity.  The “you have the stomach flu” scenario was one of the most interesting.  I was quite surprised by the level of animation students employed.

At the end of the lesson, students completed an exit ticket where they considered their own Transcendental character and what visual and vocal cues they wanted to use for his or her speech.

Here are resources for the lesson:

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