Prepping: Your “Speech Weapon” (Part 2)

Last Wednesday, we had some pretty good response to our article on how to banish  Ebonics when desired.  It also goes without saying that there may be situations where having strongly Ebonic speech is a good thing.  Depends on time and circumstances.

Today, I wanted to focus on two other key aspects of speech:  One is a short lecture about escape, evasion and interrogation.  The other is about “speaking with more intonation and  command.”

Interrogation is Not Likely

Again, this is one of those topics where people on the net (self proclaimed “experts”) try to hold-forth on how it’s important to have at least a passing knowledge of how to dummy-up during interrogation.

It may be these people live uncomfortably close to the Mexico or Russian borders with the US  (ah, no chums in Kotzebue, Alaska, huh?).  Or, maybe they’ve seen Red Dawn a few times, too many.

In reality, the most important concepts in speech have little to do with resisting being drugged and threatened with an un-numbed tooth extraction (or bamboo under the fingernails) so much as it has to do with not tipping your identity.

Say, for example, that the SHTF one morning.  With no internet or cell, or landlines, or power, you’re wondering what the hell’s going on.  First action?  Recon!  HUMINT! (human intelligence gathering)

You wonder into town and see a group of people you don’t know on the street corner.  They’re talking in low tones.  Ah…already we don’t think these people will know too much.  If they did, they would be actively doing something.  Eyes before speech.

Since there’s no one else around, though, you decided to chance it.  How do you approach?

Mimic If You Can!  If these people are posturing a certain way, adopt it.  If they have a regional accent or phrases, use them.  In east Texas, for example, the “insider recognition” phrases include “…’preciate cha…” in lieu of “…thank you.”  And there’s also a variant of the word “…shoot…” which is combined with an exhaled harrumph sound.  Heavy exhaling sound.

“What do you think about xyz?”  “…Him, that SoB? …shoot bub…. (accompanied with the sound package and a rolling of the eyes).

Get to know your local variances if you can spot them.  Harder to do on the West Coast because the speech is “cleaner” but if you don’t have upper Midwest (listen to Dick Cavett sometime), by the time you get down to Oklahoma and Texas, well…shoot, bubba…  (Neighbors may be abbreviated as ‘bub…and when there’s respect, it may be “…boo..”  which is then elongated into “...bull...”

People north of New Yohk begin the r-ah transposition zone (you would think they would know bet-tah from “better” but seems not.

You get the ide-err, lol.  Phantom Rs will show up in the warsh.

Words will Give You Up

The other thing to be careful of is which words you choose.  For example, use the smallest words possible and nothing to give away your knowledge levels.  Being unknown (and under-estimated!) can be a life-saver.

“Got some topo?”  No!  “Got a map?”  Topo is too much information and knowledge about map-reading being exposed.

“Got satcomms or sideband?”  No!  “Hear anything?” (*then fumble a bit…) “You know…like a radio of sumpthin….?”

Be plain and plain-speakin’.

That dandy old Cuban saying “Don’t count your money in front of the poor” applies to knowledge in high-stress situations.  Don’t reveal yourself until it can be used to gain advantage.  Don’t dominate, watch.  Don’t lead, follow.  Leaders emerge over the course of wars, not in the first fire-fight.  Take a longer, more strategic view.  Your time will come.  Until it does, be  watching how the ones ahead of you fall.

Now on Spoken Language

One of our readers wanted to suggestions on how to make his speech “intonations” more interesting.

This is a long conversation, but let me give you some simple ways to get rid of monotone speech.

  1. Get some Ad copy and a tape recorder.  Read it silently ONE TIME and then record yourself reading a 60-second radio ad.  Some good examples are here;.
  2. You may be embarrassed to hear your own reading.  But, listen to it with your eyes closed and ask “What does this dude sound like?:”
  3. The first lesson is to practice on PACING.  Some parts of sentences are just there are “framing” for the main point of a sentence.  The un-important parts can be read more quickly.
  4. Second lesson is to practice “PITCH.”  When you get to the important . key part of a sentence, read it at a higher or lower pitch.
  5. Third lesson is to work on PHRASING.  This is where you read………pause…….and then continue.  The part after the first pause “jumps out” because you have (thing of a short pause as a drum roll):  STAGED it as the key idea.
  6. Use “Pauses.”  Read something many times – remembering each time as you do that your voice is an audio paintbrush.  Your task – as the artist – is to create a painting in the mind of the listener.  If you can do that well?  You are an orator. When you are a fair public speaker (and it comes across in your writing, as people have told me my “personality comes across in my writing”) then you are learning to speak with your voice what the “little voice in your head” sounds like.  Evolving that inner/outer congruence is a fine thing.
  7. Do the following exercise until you hear the difference when taped and it becomes second nature.


As a highly-articulate speaker, you have total control over where you place the emphasis in your speech.  Even an idiotically SIMPLE SENTENCE can be read a variety of ways.  These are all one simple sentence, but depending on the reader, they mean extremely different things to the listener.  Read with the bolded word emphasized in your speech.

I went to the store and picked up potatoes and ice cream.”

Read this to convey that no one else went to the store, just you.  Then read…

“I went to the store and picked up potatoes and ice cream.”

Reading this time to reveal that instead of going to CostCoi or ordering from Amazon Pantry, you went to the STORE.

“I went to the store and picked up potatoes and ice cream.”

Read this to emphasis the “potatoes” as your main objective.  And then read…

“I went to the store and picked up potatoes and ice cream.

To reveal the real agenda of the trip.  Then  just for fun….read…

“I went to the store and picked up potatoes and ice cream.”

But, this time read it in such as way as to STAGE a following sentence that might be: ” And yes, I picked them up, but put them down right away…because I’m doing Keto.”

Learning to speak well is something you never quite get right.  Always another tweak and another take.  In my broadcasting years, I can’t tell you how much time I spent listening to “producers” trying to get me to read an ad just a certain way known only to them.

I’m not alone in that experience.  Great voices and talents like Orson Welles have gone through the  same nightmare of “being directed” as you can here in this clip on YouTube.

Radio – the theater of the mind medium – has fallen on hard times in the digital age, but good, clear speech on demand – speech that can hold an audience -and that you can paint with like a brush in the mind –  will never go out of style so it’s worth a bit of effort to focus on making yours better.

It’s cheaper than another degree and can have similar effects…

Write when you get rich,  (Elucidate upon the over- accumulation of a substantial  asset-base.)

7 thoughts on “Prepping: Your “Speech Weapon” (Part 2)”

  1. “Get some Ad copy and a tape recorder. Read it silently ONE TIME and then record yourself reading a 60-second radio ad”

    LOL.. like putting marbles in your mouth then talking.. Doing that will get you the speech patterns that are prevalent in some states down in thirty seconds or less oh make sure you say Mother F#$%@#&..
    some you need to say.. you betcha after every sentence or AYE after every sentence and YAAAH BUTT , SOADEY POP..
    I guess for me at least I will stay right where I am LOL LOL I am old and have way to many health issues so I really don’t feel like hiking across the USA looking for the promised land in a SHTF scenario when I already live in the promised land.( I had those thoughts exactly in mind when I helped write the disaster plan for our community.. to work as a community. Kind of like the three musketeers. one for all and all for one. know who your neighbors are and what their hobbies and professions whos the hunters and trappers who are the gatherers and the smiths metal fabric it is all important. anyone thinking that they can survive the SHTF scenario without the support of his neighbors and community is just not paying attention. It is what made america great. take a look at the Mormon church and their yellow shirts. that my friends is america at its greatest and what surviving the SHTF scenarios..)At this point here at lease those standing on a street corner that look clueless really are clueless.. they are already doing that..or the local coffee hut.. you can learn anything there about anything or anybody LOL.. the coffee cluclers..

  2. Coincidentally I heard someone refer to this quote just recently –

    Language most shows a man, speak that I may see thee. Ben Jonson

  3. Off topic but did you notice the MSM hasnt mentioned the White House displeasure with talking Israel into releasing a Turkish spy type in exchange for the missionary release in Turkey.

  4. Thanks George. Good exercises. One thing I noticed is that changing pitch of a word is actually really hard work! It doesn’t come naturally. Perhaps if I’d learned a tonal language as a child or even learned to sing, it might be easier. Since it’s so hard, it’s probably worth concentrating on. Making pitched words sound natural will be the next step after being able to utter a pitch at will(and sliding that pitch up or down).

  5. To illustrate Georg’s point, if you have Siri on your Apple gadget, change to English Siri and ask questions. You can hear pacing and pitch, but pay attention. There are tunes, as well. American English was bastardized by the Webster family in the 19th century for “ scientific” purposes, and is only now regaining tunes. Listen to Monty Python parodies of news readers. Same thing.

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