Best Way to Speak with a Powerful Voice

Do you know someone who talks in a high-pitched cutesy voice that makes her sound like a weak little girl? Or do you know someone who talks in a whisper so you can hardly hear her? Your voice plays a part in the impression you make. Your voice can help you sound confident, capable, cool, and in control-or the opposite.

Not convinced? Okay, then think about your different teachers. Aren’t there some with great speaking voices? They make you actu­ally want to pay attention. Then there’s the teacher who goes on and on in the same tone of voice . . . BO-ring. And the teacher who talks so quietly that it’s hard to hear. So you tune him or her out.

Speak with Powerful Voice Best Way to Speak with a Powerful Voice

It’s not just teachers. Your voice is sending a message to your friends and anyone you talk to. Make your words powerful. Speaking coach Elanna Donovan can help you do it. Here are her suggestions:

Find your natural voice. It is often lower than the voice you usually use, which can be constricted by tension, habit, and shallow breathing. Here’s an exercise to help you find the natural pitch of your voice. Bend over and say, “Hello.” Now, work to maintain that pitch as you stand up straight and inhale deeply. It takes practice. This is the voice you should try to use when you are speaking. A lower, modulated voice is generally easier on the ear. Easier on the ear means your audience will listen to you longer before they tune out.

Strengthen your voice. An excellent exer­cise to strengthen your voice is to sing. Sing high, sing low, sing the musical scale. It in­creases your speaking vocal range and helps with your breath control.

Take a deep breath and let it out slowly while you say a long sentence of your choice. Do this until you can main­tain the same speaking volume from begin­ning to end of sentence (without rushing the words at the end). Increase the length of the sentence. When you do this, place your hand on your diaphragm. You can feel your body filling up with air. As you speak, you can feel the air going out. You’ll be speaking from the diaphragm, and this will help your powerful voice.

Eliminate the “whiskers.” Hi, um, do you want to, ah, be my lab partner, ya know? Get rid of all those urns, ahs, and you knows. Toastmasters calls those words “whiskers.” So many people use these without thinking. Whiskers can distract from your message. They also can drive a listener crazy.

Don’t make everything sound like a question. Girls’ voices often rise at the end, as if they are asking a question. When you do this, you sound unsure of yourself: “I finished the report?” “I want a sandwich?” Lose that questioning tone! People won’t take you seriously if you sound as though you are questioning your own statements.

Vary your speaking style. Have you ever listened to someone who talks in a monotone? That is, she just drones on and on with­out raising or lowering her voice. Make sure you don’t bore your audience like that. Speaking with a powerful voice is like music. An interesting piece of music uses many different notes on the scale. The pacing and volume of the words vary. Listen to a good singer or speaker. It’s not a monotonous delivery. It keeps your attention. The more confident and impassioned the singer or speaker, the more powerful she is.

If you think your speaking style is too boring, get a tape recorder. Read some poetry or a magazine paragraph into a tape recorder. Next, close your eyes and describe a favorite relative or friend into the tape recorder. See and describe that person. Now lis­ten to the difference in your voice. What do you notice? When you are describing someone you know, how do you sound? More ani­mated, more alive, more passionate, more focused? It doesn’t matter what you are feeling, but you’ll notice that your feelings are re­flected in your voice. This is great. It is not boring.

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