San Josť State University - URBP 213
Professor Asha W. Agrawal - Fall 2008

Speaking Style Homework

(Due in class October 15/16)

 

For this homework assignment, you will record yourself reading about one minute of text, several times.  After each recording, you will listen to your voice and write a brief summary of your observations.

Email a copy of the memo you write to Asha and bring a paper copy to class.

Step 1: The normal you

Record: Find a planning-related piece of writing that you have written (for a class, for work, etc.).  Record yourself reading from it for a minute, using a timer to make sure you read for at least a minute.  When you read, pretend that you are presenting the material at a planning commission hearing, and speak in whatever style you think would be normal and comfortable to you in such a setting.  You can record yourself using a dictaphone, an audio-cassette recorder, or even the voicemail on your phone.

Listen and write: Listen to yourself and then write down the first ten words or short phrases that come to mind that describe the way you sound.  Next, describe your delivery in terms of the vocal characteristics described in the Fujishin reading: rate, volume, and pitch.

Step 2: The monotone you

Record: Record yourself reading the exact same material as in Step 1, but this time deliberately speak in a monotone. 

Listen and write: Listen to yourself, and then write down a few comments about how you sound to yourself. Assess how different the first and readings sound from each other and try to identify what you have changed in terms of rate, volume, and pitch.

Step 3: The frenetic-salesperson you

Record: Record yourself reading the same material, but this time speak in the most excited, energetic voice you can possibly manage, as if you were a salesperson in a TV or radio ad.  Really exaggerate!  Push yourself as far as you can, to the point that you think you sound ridiculous.

Listen and write: Listen to yourself, and then write down a sentence or two about how you sound.  Assess how different the first and this reading sound from each other, and try to identify what you have changed in terms of rate, volume, and pitch.

Step 4: The "enlarged conversational style" you

Record: Record yourself reading the same material one last time.  This time, do your best to speak in what Fujishin calls an "enlarged conversational style," using vocal variety and putting plenty of energy into your voice. 

Listen and write: Listen to yourself.  Again, assess how different the first and this reading sound from each other.  Write down how much you varied your rate, volume, and pitch.  Explain how well you like the sound of your delivery in this last version.

Step 5: Summary analysis

Write a brief summary of what you would like to improve about your vocal delivery and identify what steps you will take to try to achieve this.


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Page last updated 17 September 2008