What Is Good Speech?
Back when I was earning my MFA, one of my most influential professors told me that ‘good speech’ is speech that gets you what you want.
You could have knocked me over with a feather.
You see, I loved words. I wanted to honor them. To ‘do them right.’ I was the child who loved her dictionary (and its pronunciation key) so much that I occasionally took it to bed as if it were a teddy bear. I was the young lady who had already been through two actor training academies where ‘good speech’ was a requirement for advancement. I was the undergrad who had worked herself silly to make sure that her fancy training program didn’t send her to one of their remedial ‘regional speech’ or ‘S-issue’ clinics. I was the person who had even changed the way she pronounced her own name because a respected voice and speech teacher had told her to.
And this !?#! professor had the gall to tell me that good speech is simply speech that gets you what you want?!?!?
But she was right.
I felt like an absolute fool for never having seen it on my own, but I was not foolish enough to ignore the truth of it.
Good speech is simply speech that gets you what you want.
Forget about ‘supposed to.’
Forget about ‘proper.’
Forget about ‘right.’
These are concepts that can actually diminish your possibilities.
Instead, focus your energy on continually increasing your awareness and flexibility so that your body’s voice and speech mechanisms will become hair-trigger responsive to your acting impulses and the needs of the script.
This article by Pamela Vanderway originally appeared on Dialect411.com