There is a message in your voice!
While speech is how you use words, voice is how you create sound. To your listeners, your voice is a part of who you are and what you believe. Below are our 4 P’s for using your voice effectively when you are delivering a presentation.
The pace is clearly the speed at which we speak. Speaking too quickly tires and frustrates the audience and speaking too slowly bores and can frustrate the audience. The pace needs to vary during the course of a presentation to maintain the interest of the audience in what we are presenting. Sports commentators give admirable examples of this during the course of their work. When you want to emphasize an important point, slow down and speak distinctively. When you want to cover less important points it’s ok to speed up. A successful presenter speaks at a moderate pace.
The pitch of our voice could also be called the ‘musicality’. It is the tone or inflation in your voice. If you speak in a monotone, it is guaranteed to send your audience to sleep! What we need to do is to vary our pitch according to the importance of the expression we are using. For instance: when we are excited our pitch goes up and when we are serious or somber, it drops. Use the tone in your voice to emphasize specific points in your presentation. If you have a problem with pitch, you must work on modulation.
Power speaks for itself. And motivation of an audience certainly calls for the ability to increase the power of our voice. But remember that it is possible to ‘whisper’ and still be heard! It’s the relative sound that counts from the audience’s side not yours! The optimum power depends on the factors like the size of the room and the size of the audience. A successful presenter speaks loudly enough for the people further back to hear but not too loud for the people in the front row and varies the volume from soft to loud for a more interesting voice.
The last – but arguably the most important – of our 4 P’s, please pause from time to time – for everyone’s sake and to get breath for your own sake. Pausing allows the listeners to collect and digest the speaker’s statement. Pauses are part of the pace and they are potent. They make you want to know more. They make you stop and listen. Pauses give people time to catch up with what you are saying, they give them time to think about what you are saying and most importantly, pauses give the listener time to form an opinion of what is being said. There is value in silence.