5 Ways To Ensure You Don’t Sound Like A Robot

Matt KramerPublic Speaking2 Comments

robot voice - public speaking

Attention all humans! Okay, okay, robots are welcome too. Just turn your emotion controls to ‘OFF’---or risk being offended.

Today we talk about a subject that can save humanity. Or at least defend against a level of boredom that is entirely unnecessary.

You’ve no doubt experienced a speaker with some or all of these special traits. Perhaps you’ve been scarred for life. Perhaps you've caused the scarring. 

We can't fix the past so forget about that now; however, we can make tomorrow just slightly better. 

Here are 5 things that you can do (or not do) to avoid being a robotic presenter:

1. Avoid actually sounding like a robot

robot - bender - futurama

You don't want to have to beg for an applause like Bender

This is the most obvious. Don’t try to sound like an actual robot, unless...well, okay, I can think of a lot of reasons to use it in short spurts. Just don’t do it the whole time. And I mean literally sounding like a robot. Here's an example I’ve been itching to record:

Click on his belly to play this robotic masterpiece

2. Sounding TOO perfect

perfect - tactical talks - public speaking

Too freakin' perfect

We like talking to people who are...how do you say it, umm, HUMAN. That’s right. When there are no filler words or there’s no conversational tone, that’s exactly what it feels like. I start thinking, is this guy a satanic cyborg like the Terminator?

Who kidnapped his soul? Why am I being preached to in vocabularic perfection? What year is this?

It’s okay to sound a little human. The audience will appreciate it.

3. The words you use

jargon - public speaking

Root Beer Float??? Give me a break...word snob!

You know what’s worse than sounding too perfect? Sounding even more perfect by using jargon to sound smart as hell. Usually, the smarter the word, the less clarity it brings. (Eamonn O'Brien sums up jargon quite nicely over at his blog.) 

When searching for the right word to make a strong point, begin your search with the most basic words. You may find that a “smart” word ends up being the most clear, and that's just fine. But start at the level of caveman and top out at fifth grader.

Oh yeah, if you’re a mechanical-astronaut-physicist-Jedi trainer and all you know are 17-syllable words, find an audience of robots instead. Spare us mere mortals from your vocabularic assault.

4. NOT varying your voice

vocal flatline

Johnson! We lost another one to the vocal cemetery...

Even if you have a sexy voice, if it sounds the same throughout your entire presentation, it ain’t gonna be pretty no more.

Sarah Lloyd-Hughes at Ginger Public Speaking has some quick tips here for how not to sound monotonous...it looks like she discriminates against robots as well. I like her style!

A good example to illustrate this is sounding a bit Ben Stein-ish. At least add some inflection, sheesh! He made it work, though, I’ll give him that. He's monotonin' it all the way to the bank!

5. VARYING your voice (confusing I know)

pattern - tactical talks

My interpretation of a pattern. Highs and lows and whatnot. But it kinda looks like Native American textile patterns...

Trying to be the master of “vocal variety”

We get it, vocal variety is a useful tool. But, the reason we use it is to keep the interest of the audience by NOT being predictably the same throughout our talk (creating predictable patterns that the audience can spot from a football field away).  

So, if you decide to use this tool and then become a constant roller coaster of predictable highs and lows, are you not doing the same thing that vocal variety is intended to solve?

Vary your voice, but also stay true to you. We all have our own range of manageable volume and our own character. In other words, our own physical capabilities with our voice (Darth Vader vs. Elmo) and our own personality (Clint Eastwood vs. Richard Simmons).

Use the entire spectrum of yours.


I’m sorry to all the robots I’ve discriminated against today. It’s not you...it’s me. I promise. Don’t hit the self-destruct button please. And don’t take over the world, either.

To all those that aren’t robots, take these robot rules seriously or you’ll seriously annoy your audience.

Share and leave a robotic comment below!















About this guy...


Matt Kramer - Tactical Talks - Public Speaking

Howdy! My name is Matt Kramer and I used to suffer excruciating death when speaking in front of a group, now I LOVE it. Overcoming this fear has changed my life. In less than a year since, I’ve started this website, Tactical Talks, competed and won 3 separate public speaking contests, wrote a book, and spoke at one of the top universities in southern California (SDSU).

And look, I’m not telling you this to “show off.” My purpose is to show you that it’s possible to start doing the things that YOU want to do. And that’s my goal. My focus is to help you overcome the fear of public speaking so you can build the confidence to go after what you want in life.


  • Bill Burns says:

    Good points. Robotic talking is one quick way to lose and upset your audience! Let the real you talk to us! Unless you’re Steven Wright, then monotone works . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVjVt98iHkQ