Voice is a powerful tool for presenters. Voice can make the difference between success and failure when your goal is to engage your audience. In sales meetings, company updates, or technical meetings, it’s critical to keep your audience engaged and interested in your feedback. Learn to stretch your voice by understanding the 5 Ps of voice control, including pitch, rhythm, pause, projection, and personality.
Pitch refers to the ups and downs of your notes when you speak. We all have the ability to speak from a vocal range, which includes higher notes and lower notes. However, it takes a lot of awareness and practice to realize your own tone and consciously change it. Why is tone important? A monotonous voice bores the audience and a bored audience is less likely to remember your key points or take action. To play with tone, try thinking of popular characters who have voices at both ends of the vocal range, and then practice speaking (or singing!) Like them. For example, you could think of Michael Jackson’s high-pitched voice and then compare it to the deeper tones of Barry White. You can also simulate the voices of movie actors to start expanding your own range. Over time, your knowledge and practice with tone will allow you to vary your voice as you speak, all with the goal of engaging your audience for your comments. Now that we’ve seen Pitch, let’s move on to Pace.
Pace refers to the speed at which you speak. Just as monotonous is boring, so is single rhythm. A good speaker knows the value of changing the pace while speaking. For example, when you present a topic that is exciting, you can speed up the pace of your voice. On the other hand, when you want people to focus your attention, you can slow down to emphasize. The general point is that variation is the key to success here. So play with your rhythm the next time you speak to see the impact on your audience. Now that we have explored Pace, we will move on to see Pause.
The pause involves pausing momentarily for effect in the middle of your comments. It is a tool that is used hand in hand with the rhythm variation. It’s best to use a pause before or after a significant point as a tool for emphasis. Pause is also a tremendous tool for nervous speakers who tend to speak too fast. By dwelling on the key points, the speaker gives the audience time to process the key points before moving on to the new material. An easy trick is to underline the key points in your notes and then place the word PAUSE in large letters to remind you to stop talking for a few seconds. Playing actively on pause will have a profound effect on your presentation dexterity. Now that we’ve covered Pause, let’s move on to the powerful Projection tool.
This aspect of voice is by far the most important, as it correlates with your audience’s ability to hear your feedback. Even the smartest presenter cannot have the desired impact if the people in the room cannot hear his key points. With the screening, everyone can hear your comments without having to force the audition. However, it is still valuable to vary your projection to add intrigue and interest to your comments. For example, you may want to soften your voice to emphasize one key point and then increase the volume for another point. In any case, you need to make sure that all members of the audience can hear each and every point. Practice projecting your voice by imagining that everyone is sitting against the far wall of the room. Make sure they can hear you and that you are speaking from your diaphragm. Now that we’ve talked about projection, let’s take a look at personality.
Personality refers to the color, warmth, and meaning that comes from hearing your voice. The personality of your voice will determine whether people “turn on” or “turn off” when they hear you. Certainly adjusting the pitch and volume will improve the quality of your voice. Adding emotion will add color and warmth to your voice. So will a smile that softens and warms the vocal tones that people hear. Personality can range from passionate to boring, serious to lighthearted. What personality are you looking for when you talk about a certain topic? Give some thought and choose a word that captures the tone you want your voice to convey. Write that word at the top of your notes so that you live consciously to infuse your voice with the personality that will help you make the most impact.
Using the 5Ps of Vocal Control together
When you’re just starting out, you may want to focus on one P at a time and then add more until you can stretch your voice to reveal the 5 P’s in a given presentation. By playing with every aspect of vocal control, you can infuse your voice with interest, warmth, and personality! Use each of the Ps, including pitch, pace, pause, projection, and personality to actively engage your audience and make them want more. For additional information on honing your presentation skills, visit our website for a free copy of the Mastering Your Presentation Skills report at http://www.boldnewdirections.com