The King's Speech


What makes a great voice? When we think of a powerful and strong voice, we think of Morgan Freeman's voice of God. It's deep, it has a range of pitch and tone, and it is warm and easy to listen to. So, what is his secret?

Layve Robinowitz, Director and Head of Family Office, CRM, Stonehage-Fleming

When asked, Morgan Freeman said the secret to his deep, rich tone is... Yawning! Yawning relaxes the vocal chords and allows us to speak at our natural level. When in front of the camera, we often raise the pitch of our voice, because we are nervous and our vocal chords are tense. Yawning will relax those tight chords and bring, not only a richer, more powerful voice, but also allow us to sound calmer and more refined.

At a recent training with private wealth management firm, Stonehage-Fleming, we practiced the Morgan Freeman voice with a few yawns before going on camera. The team found the little secret quite invaluable and were able to speak with power and poise. Next time you are preparing for an interview, have a little yawn before hand... but don't do it on camera!

The King's Speech media training Stonehage-Fleming, Cape Town.

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You step up to that podium or you sit down on that seat in front of the camera. Your palms are sweating, your heart is racing. The bright lights beat down on you. You are frozen, afraid to speak. We have all been there, but how do we get out of the space?

It is quite simple - just breathe!

Breathing slows your heart rate, helps to clean out your lungs and reduces anxiety. If you breathe from the pit of your stomach, you will have better posture, a clearer voice and better projection.

How to breathe properly?

  • Stand up

  • Spread your feet shoulder width apart

  • Neck back, Chin down

  • Place one hand on your stomach. Breathe in. You should feel your stomach rising and then breathe out. This time your stomach falls. Watch your shoulders. If they rise and fall noticeably you are most likely breathing off the top of your lungs. Try until you can feel a definite rise and fall of your stomach.

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You wouldn't take an interview unless you had a clear message you wanted to get across to the viewers. So, what is your message and how do you relay it?

A simple question answered and your interview suddenly has direction: What do you want to tell you audience?

Is it about your diverse product range, or your reliability? Is it about your incredible customer service or your commitment to innovation? What are your key messages?

Once you are armed with your key messages, you should answer every question with those key messages in mind. Your agenda: to relay those messages. Bridging techniques are a great way to direct the interview to your key messages.

Example 1:

Reporter: "Sarah, all your competitors are investing in Africa. Why haven't you?"

Interviewee: "Ashlea, that is a good point and brings me back to the core of our business, we are not about expansion into Africa, we are about investing in innovation, investing our people, and growing our business locally. Our brand has, and always will be, about quality service, quality products, and happy customers".

Example 2:

Reporter: "Nick, the market is not playing in your favour, given your recent acquisition and the financial strain your company is under. How are you handling that?"

Interviewee: "Well Ashlea, that is a short term view. I think what people need to remember is that the acquisition was an investment in our future, and it will take time to reap the rewards of such an investment"

When you can walk out of an interview and feel as though you delivered your key messages concisely and succinctly, you have succeeded at the interview. Key messages should be memorable and repeated in your marketing material, all interviews and to your staff. It is what the company stands for and what you want to world to know about you.

Interviewee: "While there have been some comments in the media, "

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