Voice Power: Speak Loudly & Slowly Enought
by Gilda Bonanno
A key component of non-verbal communications is your voice. Along with eye contact, gestures, movement and facial expression, your voice can communicate meaning and help your audience focus on your message.
Your voice has an incredible range and ability to convey meaning and emotion, yet most of us use only a small part of that range. Use the following guidelines to unleash the power of your voice so you can deliver your message effectively and connect to the audience:
Speak loudly enough. How loudly? Loudly enough that people can hear you without having to strain. How loudly depends on the room size, whether or not you are using a microphone, the acoustics, etc. Most people think that they are already speaking loudly enough. In fact, it's the opposite – most people need to speak louder.
I remember working with someone who had an inspiring speech, but he spoke too softly to be heard. He had grown up being told that he should never raise his voice and he had to work very hard to overcome that belief. Eventually, he realized that speaking louder was actually a service to the audience since it would make it easier for them to listen – and that it was not shouting.
If you think you speak loudly enough, record yourself or get someone you trust to sit in the back row, or the other end of the table, and give you an honest assessment of whether you speak loudly enough to be heard easily. Chances are, you don't.
Speak slowly enough. How slowly? Once again, it depends on many factors. What is the normal rate of speed for your audience? If you're speaking to native New Yorkers in New York, a much faster speed is allowed – and expected – than if you're speaking just about anywhere else in the world.
Likewise, if you're speaking in a language that is not native to the audience, or if you're presenting complex information that is new to them, you'll need to speak slower, so they have time to digest it.
Your voice has incredible power to communicate meaning and connect you to the audience. Learning to tap into that voice power will enable you to become a more effective communicator.
Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills.
Copyright (c) 2008