So as speakers we must be concerned with exhibiting the appropriate tone of voice for our content and have the appropriate tone for the message we want to communicate. Here are some suggestions for making our content more impactful by the tone of voice we use.
· Pause before emphasizing an important word or concept. Doing that will make you punch out what comes next to show the audience this is important.
· Speed up your rate to show excitement. Speeding up will invariably make the tone of voice more urgent and compelling.
· See in your mind the story you are telling. This will translate into your vocal quality. That is why a person who retells a story of an event that just happened will tell it with more excitement in the voice because the picture of the event is still fresh in his/her mind. Talk to a child at the end of a school day and he/she will give a more excited and animinated summary of the day than if you ask about the day later in the evening or the next day. Train yourself to relive the story as you tell it and you will see a difference in your tone of voice.
· Define a place in your speech that might be considered a "wow" factor for the audience. When you get to that point, the audience will think, "Wow! I did not realize that!" If you can anticipate that point in the speech, you will be more likely to put punch into the tone of voice as you speak and your content will impact your audience with greater effect.
· Include vivid facial expression or bigger gestures when you get to an emotional or dramatic part of your presentation. More expressive body movement body will often be reflected in the tone of your voice.
· Include dialogue in your speech. Narrating a conversation will cause you to vary speaking rate and volume to accommodate the different characters in your story so that your tone of voice will be more expressive.
During World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave us hope by the tone of voice in his famous Fireside Chats. Today, we communicate fun, excitement, passion, anger, and enthusiasm by our voices. Set the tone for your next speech by preparing your tone of voice.
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is a professor of speech communication at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. He works with organizations that want to speak and listen more effectively to increase personal and professional performance. He can be reached at 800-727-6520 or visit http://www.sboyd.com for free articles and resources to improve your communication skills.