GCAS Strategies 9 Fluency hacks

White male speaker
Win their attention

This is the final lesson on fluency in this section. It will help you to win the listener's attention using stronger intonation and smooth connected speech.

Introduction: 

Say these phrases:

  • "I absolutely agree."
  • "I'm not so sure about that."
  • "Actually, I don't think so."

How much word stress did you use?

Warm Up: 

What is word stress? 

Words are stressed in English to show their relative importance to the meaning.

Review the three ways to add stress, introduced in the previous lesson. Discuss each one. 

  1. Length: longer (or shorter).
    • The longer the word, the more important it is.
    • The stressed word often takes as long to say as 3–4 less important ones combined.
  2. Pitch: higher or lower.
    • The most important word should be at a higher pitch.
    • You can lower the pitch a little before rising to give it even more stress.
  3. Volume: louder (or quieter).
    • The stressed word can be somewhat louder than the rest.
    • Try to avoid dramatic changes in volume.

Of these three, length and pitch are the most important.

Language: 

A. Intonation exercise

Using a rise-fall intonation can make you sound firm and confident. 

As an exercise, make your highs as high as you can, and your lows as low as you can.

  1. I absolutely agree.

  2. Yes, I think so.

  3. This is a key point.
  4. It's clear we have to make a change.

B. Slow speech exercise

When you are thinking, explaining, or transitioning to a new topic, slowing your speech will make sure you don't lose your audience.

As an exercise, say these phrases as slowly as you can.

  1. Hm, let me see.
  2. Well, I think so.
  3. I'm not so sure about that.

  4. Actually, I don't think so.

 

Practice: 

Now practice using confident intonation and keeping your audience's attention in full answers to some speaking test-style questions.