Have you ever listened to a speaker who spoke in a monotone? It is not a pleasant experience, even if you do fall asleep part way through! Vocal variety is an important aspect of giving an effective presentation. And this video excerpt from a workshop for teens about public speaking […]
Category Archives: The Power of Voice
By Featured Speaker Nancy Daniels
Has this ever happened to you? You stand to give your speech or presentation; and, when you begin speaking what comes out of your mouth is higher in pitch and quivering to boot. So what is to be done?
In most cases, nervousness is the cause of the quiver. (There are some voices, however, that quiver whether one is nervous or not.) There is a means of eliminating the quiver that works even when you are nervous.
Personally, I like nervousness. It is that wonderful rush of adrenaline that, if used to your advantage, can give you an edge in public speaking. What I don’t want, however, is for your nervousness to be seen or heard. The quiver is definitely telling your audience that you would rather be somewhere else.
A quivering voice is the result of stress and pressure on your delicate vocal folds (cords) and throat. Nervousness exacerbates the problem. By learning how to breathe with the support of your diaphragm and allowing your chest to become your primary amplifier, you will find the quiver disappearing automatically. It is truly amazing to see and hear this happen.
By Featured Speaker Arvee Robinson 1. Getting there late. Walking frantically into a room full of people who have been waiting for you to arrive can be an embarrassing situation. Unless you are a magician, you might as well turn around and leave. It would take a miracle to get […]
By Featured Speaker Nancy Daniels
One of the requirements for dynamic speaking, whether it is at the lectern or just in normal conversation, is to be expressive when you talk. This is known as color and refers to your vocal variety, facial expression, and body language. All three elements work hand-in-hand to make your delivery more interesting.
There are some who are colorful in conversation but freeze at the lectern. All color drains from both their face and their voice as they hastily spit out a pile of words, hoping to get the ordeal over with as soon as possible. And, there are others who lack color in speaking whether they are addressing an audience or just talking to a friend or family member.
Why is color so important? Because without it, you are boring. It is difficult enough to keep your listeners’ attention. Our ability to focus for any great length of time has decreased considerably. With the overwhelming amount of visual and aural stimuli with which we are constantly bombarded, this should come as no surprise. Did you know that the amount of time spent on a website page is less than 40 seconds?
No one wants to listen to a presentation delivered in a monotone. Tone, pitch and volume all convey meaning … and they help keep the audience engaged. That’s the power of vocal variety.
But, like all powers, vocal variety is a tool that can be used to both make your presentation more powerful … or just plane confusing. It is the finesse with which you use vocal variety that can make or break your speech.
Use too little and your audience falls asleep.
Use too much and your audience wants to run away from you!
Here are some tips for making vocal variety work for you:
How loudly or softly you say things adds emphasis. For example, when you suddenly say something louder than the rest of your presentation, you wake up the audience. You startle them into paying attention.
Lower your volume and you make them lean in toward you to take it all in. Lowering volume can also have a calming effect.
It has been shown that we are more likely to be affected by voice of a speaker than by the words spoken. It is how the speech is delivered, rather than what is said, this is most important.
There are five basic ways you can vary your voice when you speak. The variables are volume, pitch, rate, quality and character. Let’s cover these individually.
How loudly or softly you say your words makes a difference in the emotion or impact of those words. For example, if I was to say, “I am very angry” with a soft voice, I’m not as likely to give you the impression that I’m angry, as I would if I said the same thing loudly.
Here is the second installment of excerpts from For the Love of Public Speaking, a 27-minute introduction to Toastmasters I produced during a Television Production Workshop at Santa Rosa Junior College in 1994. This week I cover “Presentation.”
The information in this video is targeted to people who are just starting in Toastmasters. But the basis of what I’m saying applies to anyone who wants to make public speaking a part of their business, as well.