The King’s Speech — Royal Revelations on Finding Your Voice

Hopefully, you enjoyed some relaxing downtime with your family and friends during the December holidays. For me, it was a welcome break to sit down — Diet Coke and popcorn in hand — and what was then the Golden Globe-nominated film, “The King’s Speech” starring Colin Firth as Albert, the Duke of York (aka “Bertie”).  Since then this 5 star movie has received 12 Oscar nominations (unheard of)!

After the death of his father and his brother’s scandalous abdication to marry Wallis Simpson, “Bertie” —who suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life — reluctantly assumes the throne as King George VI. On the eve of World War II, he must overcome his stammer to deliver a radio address that unites his people. High stakes presentations truly don’t get much higher than that.

Watching Bertie find his voice is a revelation on several levels, as Firth brings to life the potential difficulties and triumphs of speaking in public.

Haven’t seen the film yet? Be sure to watch for these four proven success strategies:

I. Develop a Ritual
How do you mentally prepare yourself before stepping on stage, behind the microphone, or in front of the camera? Your personal pre-event ritual is the final preparation you undertake to ensure you’ll be confident, heard and inspiring whenever you step up to speak.

As shown in the movie…
“The King’s Speech” gives several behind-the-scenes peeks at how others ready themselves for prime time, from a radio announcer limbering up his voice to King George preparing to address his country. Watch carefully for several simple yet powerful techniques for boosting your confidence, credibility, and audience connection immediately before stepping out on stage.

II. Have Faith in Your Voice
Recall the last time you witnessed a singer hit an off-key note, or a comedian completely fall flat on stage.  Like most audience members, you probably felt really uncomfortable and hoped they’d quickly recover from the misstep and get immediately back on track.

As shown in the movie…
Bertie was challenged to “have faith in his voice.” in his case, that faith was about much more than simply pushing words out of his mouth, as he had to overcome a devastating stutter and the resulting dread of public speaking — yet his very public role required that he give speeches. On top of that, he had to believe he had a message, and recognize his self-worth. When Bertie found his voice, he became self-assured and was able to galvanize his countrymen.

As a speaker, you must believe in yourself, your message, and your ability to deliver it in a way that engages your audience, whether you’re speaking to 10 or 10,000.

III. Make it Cozy
You’ve just arrived at the conference room, ballroom or convention center where you’ll be speaking. What can you do to make the space your own, to transform it into whatever vehicle you need to transport and captivate your audience?

As shown in the movie…
At first, Bertie stands alone in an austere, makeshift broadcasting studio, watching a red light that dictates his next move as he attempts to engage his audience via an impersonal metal microphone. But what happens when the broadcasting studio is converted into a cozy retreat? Watch and learn from the power of this simple transformation.

IV. Focus on Friendships
What do you think is most important about your vocal delivery? Is it your power, how loud or soft you are? Your pace? An ability to punctuate your delivery with pauses? Your pitch — varying it to express emotion?

As shown in the movie…
While each of these vocal techniques is important, what truly allows you to connect with and engage your listeners is the ability to talk with them as friends. Approaching a presentation as a conversation instantly gives you the vocal inflection and variety necessary for a more credible and authentic presentation.

I hope that the lessons the  “The King’s Speech” has to offer, gives high-stakes presenters like you added incentive to find and have faith in your own unique voice.

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5 Responses to The King’s Speech — Royal Revelations on Finding Your Voice

  1. Pingback: SpeakerQuote: The Human Voice | Stephanie Scotti/Professionally Speaking

  2. It just came out — keep an eye out, it is worth seeing! After you see it, would enjoy hearing your reflections.

  3. Terri Stephens says:

    Hi Stephanie

    To be honest I have never heard of this movie. I am now in search of it after only watching the 2 minute preview.

    Terri Stephens

  4. Hi Eileen,

    Thanks for your comment. . . the movie is incredible. . . difficult to watch at times . . but well worth seeing. After you see it, I welcome your reflections.

  5. Stephanie,

    Very good blog along with the video and the analogy of speaking that went along with it. I look forward to seeing the movie. The actors involved definitely are of a high caliber and I am sure that is why the film is so incredible.

    Eileen Strong

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