While it’s important to have a strong speaking voice, the same volume is not uniformly appropriate for every situation. Many factors can influence the volume of speech you may use. Outside factors may play a role: the number of people you are speaking to, the size of the room you’re in, the presence of background noise. Communicative factors can play a part too. What sort of emotion do you wish to convey? What is your purpose in communicating? Are you hoping to influence your listener? Intimidate? Charmingly convince?
In order to use your vocal volume to communicate to the best of your ability, you must first be able to manipulate it effectively. One way to learn this is by vocal exercises. Choose a neutral phrase, for example, “My name is John.” To begin, simply practice saying the phrase at varying volumes, starting at a whisper, and gradually building to a shout. Then, take a moment and jot down a few different situations in which you may need to monitor your volume. For example, speaking quietly to a colleague at their cubicle, calling to a friend across a crowded cafeteria, whispering to the person next to you during a meeting, speaking with your boss one-on-one at their desk. Then, practice saying your neutral phrase as though you were in each of these situations. For the most effective practice, make an audio recording of your speech as you practice and play it back for yourself.
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