Week 5

Week 5

Notice Talk

Working in retail, part of my job is to be friendly, polite and respectfully greet customers. I noticed that after just a few months of working, my social skills dramatically improved and the way I talk to people has changed in a positive way. Not just for customers – but also for most people I greet – I noticed that I normally open with something like, ‘Hey! How are you?’ I always make sure I maintain eye contact with the person I am greeting as well. When I am greeting friends or family it is much more casual and most of the time is just a more excited ‘hey!’, ‘hi!’ or ‘how’s it going?’ often accompanied by a hug. When I say goodbye to friends or family, I often say a prolonged ‘bye!’ such as ‘byeeeeeeeee!’. When I am signing off to customers, professors, or people I am not as close with, I normally say, ‘have a nice/good day/night,’ ‘thank you,’ or ‘see you later’. ‘See you later’ is a common stereotypical Australian term to say (Australia Plus 2015). In fact, so is ‘how’s it going?’ (Australia Plus 2015).

I deal with uncomfortable moments depending on the situation and who is involved. There are never awkward silences with my close friends or family as we are comfortable with each other and do not always have to fill silence with unnecessary conversation. When meeting new people or talking to people I do not know very well, I am quite confident at keeping the conversation going by making ‘small talk’ – ‘polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters…’ (Oxford Dictionaries 2016). Norrick (2010) suggests that ‘humor makes any story more tellable, even familiar stories, and humorous stories have characteristic patterns of participation…’ I, personally, do not consciously use humor to transition to a close unless the situation calls for it. Humor for me is also only used around people I know well enough that would understand the joke.

Institutional Talk

‘“Institutional talk” is that in which a participant’s institutional or professional identities are made relevant to the work activities in which they are engaged,’ (Drew & Heritage 1992; Ames 2016). In simpler terms, it is the way people interact within an institutional environment. Looking at institutional talk in detail, an example of different forms of it is evident in interviews – both news interviews and entertainment-oriented interviews.

Taylor on Ellenn
Taylor Swift on The Ellen Show, 2014

Taking a look at an interview with Taylor Swift on The Ellen Show in comparison to an ABC News (US) interview with Malachi Love-Robinson who is under investigation for fraudulent behaviour, there are many distinctions that can be made. This specific video does not show it, but watching the interview from the beginning, Ellen introduces Taylor Swift by using humour at first and then revealing Swift’s success and telling the audience about her new album. She then exclaims her name and Swift walks out while the audience cheers. Swift was asked questions regarding her ‘deepest fear’. The way in which Ellen presented the interview – in a casual and fun way – led the audience to react by laughing and joking along. The questions were directed at Swift to answer and come across as her obtaining an irrational fear – all for entertainment purposes. There was no potential for conflict so this did not need to be managed. All disagreements were purely humorous ‘friendly banter’. This leads to the next point regarding humour being evident. This whole segment of the interview was definitely aimed at being humorous and entertaining for the audience and fans of Swift. The interview concluded with Ellen complimenting and reassuring Swift of her somewhat irrational fears while the crowd cheered in agreement.

Dr Love
‘Dr. Love’ Interview – ABC News, 2016

A very different approach was taken in the interview with Malachi Love-Robinson. The interviewee in the ‘Dr Love’ interview is introduced using his name and revealing the criminal behaviour he has been committing alongside footage of his arrest. It then shows Love-Robinson in a room with the interviewer with the first question asked. He is asked first if he is an actual doctor – which seems like an attempt to immediately cause controversy or provide Love-Robinson with the opportunity to stand up for himself. The questions are quite blatant and to the point. The interviewer picks up on any contradictions Love-Robinson makes in his responses and sometimes even speaks over him. Humour was not evident until the end of the interview between the co-anchors and the interviewer when they joked about a comment made by the interviewee. The interview overall had many moments of conflict, however, it is evident that the audience would take the side of the interviewer in each instance. Love-Robinson walked out on the interview after he felt he was not being treated fairly.

As can be seen in both of these clips, there is an obvious difference between the institutional settings of both of the interviews. Ames (2016) states that research has revealed that understanding patterns and routines is how institutional interaction is made sense of and that once people are aware of these sequences of interaction, they are able to efficiently orient their roles in the conversation. Both Taylor Swift and Ellen DeGeneres are aware of their roles in the entertainment-oriented interview as well as interviewee Matt Gutman and Malachi Love-Robinson understanding the seriousness of their interview.

Watch the Taylor Swift interview here!

Watch the Dr Love interview here!

Interaction en Masse: Audiences and Speeches Reflection

Interaction en Masse: Audiences and Speeches discusses political speeches as a form of institutional interaction. It begins by examining applause and when and why people applaud others. Different speeches and different presenters call for different lengths of applauses. For example, a politician may receive a longer applause than an award nominee (Heritage & Clayman 2010). Applause is generated when the audience wishes to express their approval or affiliation with what is being said. ‘A burst of applause must involve a large number of people starting simultaneously,’ (Heritage & Clayman 2010). It is suggested that speechwriters leave gaps in their speeches for time for applause.

The chapter mentions the formats for inviting applause. These include; contrasts (contradictions, comparisons, opposites and phrase reversals), lists (three identical words, three different words, three phrases and three sentences), and puzzle solution (establishing a problem and offering the solution). Often, these formats are combined (i.e. combinations) to produce an even more effective invitation for applause.

Applause enhances the delivery of a speech, so it is essential for successful speechwriters to use these techniques in their speeches. By incorporating these key points in speech writing, this will increase the potential for its overall effectiveness in delivery.

Christian Bertrand – Shutterstock, 2013

Reference List

Ames, K 2016, COMM12033: Speech and Script Lesson 5: Institutional Talk: study guide, CQUniversity e-courses, https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/pluginfile.php/293235/mod_resource/content/5/COMM12033_Week5_Mod.pdf

Australia Plus 2015, ‘Learn English: Aussie slang’, ABC News, 3 July, viewed 14 April 2016, http://australiaplus.com/international/2015-07-03/learn-english-aussie-slang/1465396

Chapter 18: Interaction en Masse: Audiences and Speeches in Heritage, J and Clayman, S 2010 Talk in Action: Interactions, Identities, and Institutions, Wiley- Blackwell, West Sussex, pp. 263-287.

Drew, P., and Heritage, J. (eds.) 1992, Talk at work: Interaction in institutional settings, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Norrick, N 2010, ‘Humor in interaction’, Language and Linguistics Compass, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 232-244, viewed 14 April 2016, http://ejournals.ebsco.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au/Direct.asp?AccessToken=95XIXI18XQDKEJZQQ9IQXU4QKXEU8X45DI&Show=Object

Oxford Dictionaries Online 2016, small talk, viewed 14 April 2016, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/small-talk

Week 4

Week 4

Re-recording of News Script

Re-recording Reflection

After re-recording myself reading the news script, I noticed a few changes that improved the overall performance. This recording definitely had more expression throughout the script in comparison to the first one. This is due to having more confidence in presentation and learning from the professional recording by Kate Stowell. I also listened to other examples of well-performed presentations such as the one by Stanford Business School in this week’s lesson, listening to the radio and watching the news. I noticed I improved at ‘going down’ at the end of sentences and ‘going up’ or emphasising particular words where appropriate. I was articulate with my words and used some of the techniques in this week’s lesson to prepare and warm up my face, mouth and voice (Ames 2016). I did not trip over as many words this time, which would likely be due to knowing the script better. I also read the news script aloud with the Kate Stowell recording to try and match my voice to hers, which I found to be an effective technique. I believe I still have room for improvement to relax my voice more when I am presenting so it is not as stiff and further improve at deepening and projecting my voice (Ames 2016).

In a World (2013) Review

In a World, written and directed by Lake Bell – who is also the female lead – in 2013, is a romantic comedy surrounding the struggles of a vocal coach trying to make it big in the voice-over industry. The main reason she has been struggling to make it in the industry is due to the male dominance in the voiceover field as well as being her father’s daughter, who is a legend in the industry. The theme of male dominance in the industry is not made up for the movie and is however still quite an issue today. In an interview with voiceover star, Joan Baker, she states that, ‘…voiceover remains a male dominated industry. Women are relegated to female products,’ (Grundvig 2014). Tommy Malatesta cuts movie trailers at AV Squad, who adds that the female voice is ‘…soft and comforting…’ which seems to work well with children’s content, while male narrators ‘…bring a more demanding, assertive or even a confident feel to a piece, over a woman’s voice…’ (Smith 2013). Women now make up half of the industry according to Harris (2014), ‘…as clients slowly came to the realisation that female announcers appeal more to female buyers.’

In A World
In A World (2013)

Having a voice for radio requires similar skills to those who are in the voiceover industry (Madill, McCabe & Warhurst 2013). ‘As part of their occupational role, a radio performer uses his or her vocal communication skills to elicit a particular listener response by being entertaining, informative, or persuasive,’ (Madill, McCabe & Warhurst 2013). As seen in the movie, some of the techniques used are similar to the ones practiced in this week’s lesson. The vocal coach – Carol – asks one of her students – Eva Longoria – to place a cork in her mouth and practice pronouncing her vowels (In A World 2013). This week’s lesson asked us to ‘place our tongue behind, and just touching, the lower front teeth when you say a vowel,’ (Ames 2016). Some other techniques used throughout the movie to warm-up the voice were; lip smacking, keeping good posture, drinking warm drinks (eg. lemon tea), lip and tongue trills, humming, resting the voice (no talking or screaming) and relaxing the jaw and mouth (In A World 2013). The impact that these techniques have are not only to relax the speaker and make their voice sound as good as it can, but it makes it easier for the audience to listen to. A successful voice over artist will influence the listener just through the effectiveness of their voice (Madill, McCabe & Warhurst 2013).

Watch the trailer for In A World (2013)

Reference List

Ames, K 2016, COMM12033: Speech and Script Lesson 4: Performance: study guide, CQUniversity e-courses, https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/pluginfile.php/293232/mod_resource/content/6/COMM12033_Week4_Mod.pdf

Grundvig J, Huffington Post 2014, ‘The Importance of Voiceover in the Digital Age: Interview With Joan Baker’, blog post, 2 April, viewed 31 March 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-grundvig/the-importance-of-voiceov_b_5066205.html

Harris, A 2014, ‘Meet Australia’s best voice-over artists, working in a competitive industry worth millions’, The Daily Telegraph, 8 November, viewed 4 April 2016, http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/meet-australias-best-voiceover-artists-working-in-a-competitive-industry-worth-millions/news-story/4b06cd67645d2757cb1f2a3b16374e99

In A World 2013, motion picture, Roadside Attractions, Los Angeles.

Madill, C; McCabe, P & Warhurst, S, 2013, ‘What Makes a Good Voice for Radio: Perceptions of Radio Employers and Educators’, Journal of Voice, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 217-224, viewed 4 April 2016, http://vs7pm8vz2k.search.serialssolutions.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au/?sid=36520&genre=article&issn=18734588&title=Journal%20Of%20Voice%3A%20Official%20Journal%20Of%20The%20Voice%20Foundation&atitle=What%20makes%20a%20good%20voice%20for%20radio%3A%20perceptions%20of%20radio%20employers%20and%20educators.&author=Warhurst%20S&authors=Warhurst%20S%3BMcCabe%20P%3BMadill%20C&date=20130301&volume=27&issue=2&spage=217

Smith, M 2013, ‘Lake Bell’s New Movie Asks Why More Women Aren’t Used to Narrate Movie Trailers’, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 August, viewed 4 April 2016, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/lake-bells-a-world-asks-602872