Ever notice how TV news reporters speak with such confidence and eloquence? They are able to deliver a lot of information to a lot of people in a short amount of time. How do they do it? Below are steps you can take to practice and learn to speak like a television reporter.
Sounding Like a Reporter
Watch the news. Watch the news with intent and purpose. Really pay close attention to what the reporter is saying and doing. Then, notice what s/he is not saying but telling you with their tone, inflection and non-verbal gestures/body language. Some questions you can ask yourself as you critically analyze your subject:
- What is the reporter saying?
- How are they saying it?
- What does the reporter’s voice sound like?
- Where are their eyes?
- Where are their hands?
- How do they hold their head and shoulders?
- Close your eyes and listen. Notice the reporter’s voice has inflection; it is not flat. The reporter sounds excited to report to you. The reporter tells you what is important, what is sad, what is exciting, and what you don’t want to miss, all with their voice. It’s not so much what they’re saying, but how they are saying it.
Read. Speaking like a news reporter starts with having a command of the english language. The type of book you read matters. Read information that is similar in style to what a news reporter delivers on the news. For example:
- Biography or historical book
- News magazine
- Reading will improve your vocabulary.
- Look up the words you don’t know. This will help you with understanding the context of what you’re reading and with word pronunciation. That way, when you are reading as a reporter and come across words you don’t know, you’ll be able to take an educated guess and sound intelligent.
- Read out loud when you are alone. Listen to your voice and what your tone is saying.
Practice speaking and reading aloud.
- Before you start speaking, do singing and speaking verbal exercises to loosen your mouth and tongue. Also clear your throat away from your audience before you begin.
- Take that book or newspaper and read it out loud to yourself in the mirror. It’s time to really see and hear yourself. It will take practice in order to get good at the ability to glance at written work, capture it quickly, then read it well while looking straight ahead.
- Look at what your face is saying as you read. Reporters have confidence even when they’re staring at a camera. They believe in what they are doing and they want to share the breaking story with the viewer. Your face reflects what you believe and voice confirms this.
Listen to your speech. Practice reading quickly without stumbling. It’s important to articulate each word clearly when you want to communicate information. Each word should stand on its own and not flow into another word.
- Know when to slow it down. A reporter will say, “Coming up next,” very quickly but slow down when they say, “…and you won’t want to miss it.”
Learn to read from a distance. You’ll often see a reporter with papers in their hand. You can do this too!
- Type up and print a news story that you want to practice reading. The letters should be between 1.5″ to 2″ tall and in the sans-serif font, such as Arial or Helvetica. This will most accurately reflect the teleprompter type-style.
- Practice reading from a distance by placing the paper(s) on a table while you’re seated or down by your waist. Learn to read with discretion, only glancing at your papers not reading them verbatim.
- Break out the video camera or smart phone and either record video or audio of yourself.
- Play it back and listen closely.
- Watch the news and compare your voice to the reporter’s.
- Play your recording back to yourself again. This is not a time to self-loathe or criticize yourself; it’s a time to see where you can improve and contemplate how.
- Read something news related that you haven’t read before. See how you do.
Knowing What to Avoid
Avoid speaking in everyday language and using colloquialisms. The way you speak with your friends is in direct conflict with the way you will report the news to a public audience.
Try not use “um,” “ah,” “well...” and other common interjections. At first, you’ll find that you need to slow your speaking down to avoid this, but eventually it will become a habit.