One of the keys to a dynamic, confident speaking voice is adequate volume. A strong, solid speaking voice commands the attention of others, improves clarity, and projects confidence. However, this doesn’t mean you should consistently speak at the same volume. Holding your speaking voice at one volume can be monotonous and cause your listener to tune out. Varying your volume helps to keep your listener engaged and can be used strategically to highlight important information and make sure your message sticks.
One great way to learn how to effectively vary your volume is vocal exercises. First, choose a neutral phrase, for example, “The meeting is at three o’clock.” Practice saying that phrase out loud, first at your natural volume, then as quietly as you can, and then in a shout that could be heard across a loud, crowded room. Think of a few different situations in which you may need to monitor your volume—for example, projecting your voice during a presentation or speaking very quietly to a colleague during a meeting. Practice saying your neutral phrase as though you were in each of these situations.
Once you’re comfortable manipulating your volume, choose a short passage to work with. First read the passage silently, thinking of how subtle variations in volume could help generate interest and highlight your message. Think creatively: the most effective volume variations may not be the most obvious. For example, you might want to lower your volume a bit directly before a key point, to make sure your audience is fully focused. Now, read the passage out loud, varying your volume as planned. If possible, record yourself so you can review, hear how the volume variations actually sound to others, and tweak. Remember: no matter what variations you use, your minimum volume should always still be easily understandable to your listener.
Learning to effectively manipulate your voice requires practice, but it will help you to develop a dynamic speaking voice that commands your audience’s attention.
If you are looking to polish your communication skills be sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. For additional information call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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