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Read to Speak
Being a father helped improve my public speaking. You don’t get this upgrade automatically. It takes discipline and diligence just like anything else.
But being a father is like being given a full scholarship to your chosen university. You aren’t going to get handed a diploma just for existing, but the path has been cleared.
So what am I talking about?
Reading to your kids.
Every day. Every night.
Reading a wide variety of genres and formats. Start when they can’t even hold their own head up yet. Read picture books and read poetry.
It’s the most natural practice in the world and it gets more useful the older they get. You get to practice your timbre and rhythm and elocution. You get to hone your sense of dramatic tension. You get more awareness of the power of pauses. If you really get into it, you can practice different voices for different characters.
All of this builds your repertoire.
You don’t worry about looking silly. Usually, you want to look silly to get a laugh. This is a good tonic for self-consciousness.
Your voice gets some much-needed training. You taste all sorts of different words on your tongue. Reading out loud is much different than reading silently.