What is vocal variety?
In elementary school, I was fascinated by tape recorders. I would spend hours recording my voice on tape, and listening back to it. I would practice recording answering machine greetings and be amazed how small inflections really changed the overall impression of my message. As such, I developed a voice with beautiful radio-like qualities. I’ve been in Toastmasters for 3 years and have noticed my voice become even clearer and more varied through regular weekly practice. Now I have enrolled in acting lessons and singing lessons, and my voice is becoming an important tool for my life and livelihood.
In public speaking, your voice is the main tool you use to communicate your ideas with your audience. What are some desired qualities of a voice?
- Pleasant: Friendly
- Natural: Sincere, true, with personality
- Forceful: Strong, even if not being loud
- Expressive: shades of meaning, never monotonous or emotionless
- Easily Heard: proper volume and clear articulation
Can your audience hear you? Do they find your voice annoying? => Will they pay attention to your message?
Start with a breath: Take a deep breath deep into your lower chest / abdomen, release it slowly.
Have good posture: stand straight, slightly flex knees, head straight, and shoulders back
Characteristics of a voice:
Volume: Loudness or softness. Appropriate to size of room, varied for emphasis. Minimum level so people can hear you. Using a microphone.
Pitch: How high or low? Varied? Raise and lower it for emphasis.
Rate: How fast are you speaking? Vary the rate, slow down to emphasize points, move quickly through some of the material.
Quality: Friendly, natural, confidence, enjoyable, pleasant. Not harsh, breathy, shrill, thin, or nasal. Relax and eliminate tension.
Use Silence and pauses: To Emphasize a main point, Breathe, Punctuate, or attract attention.
Be expressive: Emotion, Tone.
Rehearse with a tape recorder or video camera.
Think musically for your voice! In musical terms, we have Dynamics, melody, phrasing, tone. Try to achieve balance in your voice. Remember to breathe, and take pauses! Your audience will be more engaged with your speech. But remember to be authentic. Connect and involve your audience. Ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?”
For more information about Toastmasters in Vancouver please visit Geoff’s Toastmasters Club, Vancouver Toastmasters Club 59
More info about public speaking is also available on the main Toastmasters.org site.