Donald the Dialect Coach

The Secret to Being an Engaging Speaker

by: Donald the Dialect Coach

We all want to be engaging speakers.

Some people seem to do it naturally, however it is a skill that can be learned. 

How can you make your voice interesting? How can you engage with material immediately? How can you make choices right away (even when cold reading)?


This trick alone will TRANSFORM your auditioning.

When you’re reading a sentence, find the action verbs and use them. A verb expresses action or a relationship between two things. Wait a minute – that’s what acting is all about! It’s no wonder that this tip will cause you grow as an actor immediately.

When we watch movies, what do we want to see? ACTION.

When we are speaking, we need to speak the action with our voice for the person listening. We can’t literally pantomime each thing we talk about, but we can milk our action verbs and make the audience feel as if they were there.

The great thing about verbs is that we can make them sound like what they mean. For example, The word trampled sounds like what it means. So does love, hate, fear, accept, deny, free, etc. 

You get the picture 🙂

Your job as actors is to make these action verbs the star of each sentence that we say. All of the meaning and emotion in the sentence should be put into the action words.

Let’s use this sentence as an example: “I know they talk about me.” You may be tempted to use the pronouns, so that it sounds something like this: “I know they talk about me.”
Listen up, friends!  Pronouns are an actor’s worst nightmare. Okay, that’s a bit extreme but you get the point 😉
Pronouns don’t deserve our attention 90% of the time.

Picture this: 
Your best friend walks into your house, slams his car keys down and says, “I know they talk about me.” He doesn’t need to point to himself when he says, “me” in order for you to know that he’s talking about himself, does he?  Nope, It’s understood. Likewise, he doesn’t need to point away from himself when he says, “they”. It’s understood.

When we stress a word it’s like we’re pointing at it with our voice. The meaning in the sentence is contained within the verbs.

“I know they talk about me.”The way he says the word “know” answers two important questions. 

  1. How does he know?
  2.      AND

  3. How does he feel about knowing?

The same is true for the word “talk.”The verbs are the meat of every sentence. Pronouns are just filler.  Yes, you have to say the pronouns in a sentence, but you don’t have to use them.You will be amazed at how quickly using the verbs will impact your acting.

Happy Training,