Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat” Will Help You Get Your Point Across!

I was recently coaching an engineer who wanted to improve
his speaking skills. After videotaping him, we discussed his
strong points and then his areas of improvement. Then we
got to the area of vocal variety. Vocal variety is the quality
of your speech that hold your audience. It is the
combination of pitch changes, pauses, inflection, rhythm,
and loudness in your voice that adds “color” to any
conversation or speech. I suggested he try Dr. Seuss’s
“The Cat in the Hat.” At that point he looked at me like I
had a third eye. I then explained how “The Cat in the Hat”
could help anyone improve his or her speaking skills,
especially vocal variety, and have fun doing it.

Can you remember being read “The Cat in the Hat” by your
parents? What held your attention? What made you want
to hear “The Cat in the Hat” again and again? “The Cat in
the Hat” is set up so that you must use vocal variety to read
the story. It’s the vocal variety that held your attention.

Here’s how Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat” can help you
hold your audience’s attention:

1. Buy the Book My favorite Dr. Seuss books for this type

of exercise are “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and

Ham.” You can go to any used bookstore and get a gently

used copy of the book at a substantial discount. You can

also go to http://www.half.com and get the book at more than

50% off the price.

2. Read with Passion Read to your children, nephews,

cousins, etc. While reading aloud, exaggerate your pitch,

tone, and pauses. The children will enjoy it as you will

become used to the sound of your voice. Children are the

best barometers to let you know if you are doing it

correctly. The children will have a look on their faces that

show they are hanging on every word you are saying.

Continue to experiment with different ways to read “The

Cat in the Hat” while recording yourself on audiotape. The

more fun you have, the more everyone involved will benefit

from this exercise.

3. Apply It Right Away (That’s the Way!) Immediately

apply your newly acquired vocal variety skills in any

speaking situation whether it’s in a meeting, with co-

workers, speaking in front of a group, or one-on-one with

another person. It may feel a little strange in the beginning.

However, remember the more you use your new skills, the

more comfortable you will be.

So go out, get a Dr. Seuss book, and improve your vocal
variety. You will have more people hanging on every word,
you will be more persuasive, and your speaking abilities will
be more colorful and entertaining. So do it today (It will