Vocal Variety Tips from Iryna Grygorieva.

55Chamber Club member Iryna Grygorieva has recently given a speech on Vocal Variety. We asked Iryna to share the tips on the website for better availability  for Club members and guests.

Vocal Variety Tips

Worthy of note is the saying, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel” credited to Carl W. Buechner. One sure and easy way to make the listeners feel nothing is to use a monotone to deliver your speech from beginning to the end.  Our audience judges us from the moment we stand up to speak. If you are prepared well for the performance, dressed accordingly to the occasion the initial impression will be positive. However, if your voice is squeaky, too quiet or too loud, when we talk very fast or on the contrary very slowly their positive impression will quickly become negative. If we want to communicate effectively and positively influence our audience we must pay attention to the  4 things while preparing for the speech: pace or speed of our speech, pitch of our voice, power or volume and pauses.

When we are talking about vocal variety we concentrate on 4 things, 4 Ps – pace, pitch, power and pauses. These features are the main ways to convey expression and mood.

Why it is important to mind the pace of the speech? Can you recall the situation when somebody is talking too fast. (E.g. I am really very sorry that I am late to work but you see I live on the left bank and the bridge was too busy there was a jam and an accident, I stuck in a 30 minute jam…) From such conversation I can make a conclusion that a person is other  lying or wants to escape from the conversation and quit the topic because is unpleasant to him  and he feels uneasy. Another aspect of very fast speaking is the impression of fussiness . When we want to squeeze into tough time limits the big amount of information we increase the speed of the narration and this inevitably leads to the rise of the voice. Quick speaking and high-pitched voice make an impression of fussiness and emotional instability (imbalance).

Pitch or the altitude of voice is the second P in vocal variety.

Different voice pitches make speaker’s voice alive through different emotions. I must say it is not easy to vary the height of voice. However we can practice this feature.

The simple phrase It’s me can be pronounced differently using the height of the voice.

It’s me (It’s high pitch, me low pitch) sounds confidently, nobody will doubt that it is really you.

It’s me (It’s low pitch, me with higher pitch) sounds uncertain.

There are a lot of exercises to vary your voice. Professional speakers use the next exercise – speaking or signing nonexistent language.

Imagine that you are on the top of a mountain contemplate a sunrise and suddenly a tribe of aborigines  appear and begin to sing on their native language кранта монтаки сури вало ну пракиното винактапло пусо мачике

You may ask How this strange exercise can help to regulate your pitch of voice? This helps to make our vocal cords relaxed, get rid of voice clip and speak more freely. Our inner controller does not understand the meaning of the words and does not block words and consequently the voice. Such gibberish language unbraces the vocal cords and the sounds are not controlled by our mind.

So we talked about the pitch of the voice.

Power of voice Why it is important to change the loudness of your voice during the speech: Please raise your hand those who consider your voice too quiet? And too loud? And who thinks that your power of voice is perfect? Self-esteem is a key to success.

First of all by voice deviations you make your audience to be emotionally involved in what you are saying.  A low and quiet voice brings some intrigue into the narratives: and then there was an accident that completely turned my life, I met a person who changed my views on life, love, and so on and so forth

 and on the contrary the raised voice signifies the culmination of a story: and finally after a long struggle with the fatal disease and years of torments he got the result of the medical test and discovered

No doubt that such voice deviations keep the listeners alert during the whole performance.

And finally  effective use of pauses in speech is also an important technique. If you do it right, nobody is conscious of your pauses, but your ideas are communicated more persuasively.

If you do it wrong, your credibility is weakened, and your audience struggles to comprehend the message.

1)     Pauses help your audience to understand you: the more complex the information is the more number of pauses should be.

2)     Pauses control the overall pace of the delivery

3)     Pauses help to engage your audience Using pauses, on the other hand, gives your audience time to reflect on your words, they start making connections with their own experiences or knowledge in real time. Forming these personal connections with your content is the basis of audience engagement.

But be careful about using to many pauses. Remember in Theater by Somerset Maugham the main heroine Julia Lambert  said: Never pause unless you have a reason for it, but when you pause, pause as long as you can.

So resuming we were talking about 4 Ps in vocal variety which are pace, pitch, power and pauses.

Focusing on voice quality and practice on it will make you more comfortable with this important speech delivery technique. And keep in mind: people will remember how you made them feel during the presentation.


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