Sunday, 4 August 2013

Voice Variety, it's more important than you think

Hi All,
Last post I focused on body language, the most important part of speaking. Today, I want to look at the second most important aspect of speaking: voice variety.

According to NLP research this carries between 20% and 38% of your message, which is a huge amount.
Just as there are several aspects to body language, there are about seven different things to vary in yout voice.

The most telling aspect of voice is tone. This shows the emotion in the voice and should match waht you are saying. (As should your facial expressions.)

The pace should be about 120 words per minute, which is about two words per second. However, you should speed it up if you are telling a story and slow it down for emphasis.

Next, are pauses. They are very powerful and should be used often, to stress points, after each section, to allow deep breathing and after a question. Pauses are often underestimated by inexperienced or nervous speakers.

The volume needs to change too. Although you need to be heard, you do not want to be too loud for too long. A quiet voice can be powerful if used deliberately and to contrast with the louder voice.

The pitch is best low than high, because a low voice carries more authority. However, if yu are excited, the pitch can rise.

Emphasis is important on the words you want to stress. There can be lots of different words you can stress and each change will alter the meaning.  Try saying even one word like "YES" lots of different ways.

Last, but not least, is diction. You need to say each word clearly and not slur it or mumble. The way to improve your diction is to practise alliteration (repetition of similar sounds).

There are otehr things, like timbre (the quality of your voice) and flow. You do not want to have an upward inflection at the end of a statement or it will sound like a question.

Overall, the more you vary your voice, the better it will be, providing you speak with conviction and sincerity.


Judith Field

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