Take President Franklin Roosevelt for example. Though polio left him unable to stride confidently onto a stage or stand at attention reviewing the troops he commanded, he was elected President of the United States four times, once during wartime, when a country especially craves strong leadership.
His radio addresses were what conveyed his strength and conviction. But while his speeches were always intelligent and inspiring, it wasn’t only what he said but how he said it that mattered. Roosevelt’s calm, reassuring voice was probably the most effective way he convinced the people they could put their faith in his strength as the commander-in-chief.
Find Your Natural Tone
A good speaking voice is pitched low rather than high and is resonant rather than flat and monotonous. You can have a low, resonant voice by creating a reverberating chamber in your chest. This means taking in air and breathing from your diaphragm rather than from your chest.
Try it out right now. Put your palm over your belly button and take a deep breath, pulling in air to fill that area beneath your hand. Exhale and let the air out. As you will see, when you breathe into the diaphragm rather than into your chest, you have a column of air power that can support your voice when you speak. If you speak while the air is coming out, your voice will be stronger and lower pitched. Take a look at this quick video from our Eloquence program, as Jason teaches you how to use your diaphragm to help you find that resonant tone.
There is no better example of a low, resonant voice than that of actor James Earl Jones, who played Mufasa in The Lion King and Darth Vader in Star Wars. Actresses who speak in low, resonant voices include Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Jane Fonda and Katie Couric.
For a look at some of our other favorite voices from Hollywood, check out this blog.
Find Your Natural Volume
Your normal volume is the one that feels most comfortable and the one you typically use in a one-on-one conversation. The most common mistake presenters make when they are trying to get people to listen is to talk louder. BIG MISTAKE! You will not inspire any confidence if you appear to be struggling to be heard. If you want to be absolutely sure people can hear you, make sure a microphone is available.
Vary Your Volume
While you want to typically use your natural volume, you should also vary your volume throughout your presentation. By varying your volume you can:
- Generate enthusiasm and excitement
- Stress importance
- Compare and contrast two different ideas or things
- Re-engage the distracted
- Create a sense of urgency
- Appear knowledgeable and credible
Take a look at this short video from Eloquence to see how you can vary your volume to do the above.
This blog is covering the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mastering your voice, but it sure is a great place to start. After mastering your natural tone and volume, you’ll want to work on mastering your inflections and pace. But that’s not all either! You’ll also need to choose your words wisely by using confident language, removing deceptive words and eliminating these filler words.
Remove these Filler Words
- All right
- You know
Master Your Inflections
When we talk about inflections, we’re talking about where you put the emphasis on the word in a sentence or the syllables in a word. A change in emphasis can give a whole new meaning to a phrase or sentence.
Look at this example.
- If you say, “I’m Jason Teteak,” without putting stress on any particular word or syllable, you’re just stating a fact.
- If you emphasize the first word—“I’mJason Teteak”—you are suggesting that someone else may have been mistakenly identified as you.
- If you emphasize the entire last word—“I’m Jason Teteak”—you may be correcting someone who is mispronouncing your last name or distinguishing yourself from another Jason with a different last name.
- If you stress the first syllable of the last word—“I’m Jason Teteak—you sound very confident.
You can master all of this with our Eloquence: Convince With Your Voice program. This program is more than 2-hours long and will have you maximizing the tone of your voice and word selection by uncovering how the two inter-play for successful communications when you are not face to face. If you want to engage listeners even when they can’t see you, this program is for you.