What Zig Ziglar Does So V-E-R-Y Well

One of the most colorful speakers on the public speaking circuit today is Zig Ziglar. The man uses his Southern drawl for great effect (and he knows it) and is the master of dragging out his words. He will ‘lay’ on the words; he will drawl them out; and he does it to perfection by means of duration.

Duration is the extension or continuance of sound in the articulation of a word.

The injured man dra-a-agged (dragged) his leg as he crawled out of the burning room.

By extending the word dragged, you place the attention on the leg and not the fact that he crawled or that the room was on fire. I could have just as easily extended the word crawled. However, beware that you don’t use too much duration at a time or you will sound overly dramatic or like you are emoting. Again, don’t overdo, be natural.

In the following exercise, draw out the word or words that are underlined.

There is no wayI will do that.
The hawks hovered over the bleating calf, just waitingfor the injured animal to die.
We drove aroundand aroundin circles.
After three days of solid rain, the sun finallyappeared.
Love is the greatestgift in life.
The pain was so unbearablethat she passed out.

As in all the advice I have been giving regarding color and the expression of emotion in speaking, you do not want to overdo any of the many components which make for a dynamic presentation or speech. The best advice I can give is to be natural in how you are expressing yourself.

If, on the other hand, natural to you means no expression in speaking, usually identified by a monotone voice, then you might seriously consider working on that aspect of your personality: allow the emotion you feel on the inside be seen and heard on the outside. I know that is a tall order but you should trust me when I tell you that speaking with emotion is more natural, more normal, and more human than not.