The Sound Of You

After you have made your powerful statement!
Silence sends the message.

IMG_6959Do you know the sound of your voice? What you sound like. Have you ever been told you speak too fast, too slow; too loud too soft or you lack vocal variety. Perhaps when speaking privately, you have never received that type of feedback. It may be accepted as part of your personality. But what is your response if you receive this feedback when speaking in public. Whether we speak publicly or privately, the objectives are to be heard, understood and to be repeated. Your volume, rate, pitch, tone, and prosody determine how your message is interpreted. Your vocal variety, your voice inflection, and nuances determine how your message is understood. Often, it is not only what you say. It is how what you said was heard and received. Take a moment, record yourself to listen to the sound of you. If you do, you may be in for a huge surprise.

Even after listening to yourself, you may still be in denial. If you use the rule of three, you may be more inclined to address how you choose to adjust your delivery. Begin by acknowledging the issue when speaking privately. If you do, you may find it will improve over time when speaking publicly. The rule of three is simple. If you receive the same feedback, on three different occasions, from three different evaluators or three different sources, you have an issue you must address. First, you should recognize the problem as one that is important for your success as a speaker. Once you validate the feedback, test your adjustment and practice your modification in your private conversations until it becomes permanent.

Every element of vocal variety is essential. Volume is critical. When making a powerful statement. After you have made that statement, silence sends the message. Without that moment of silence, your message loses its effect. Rate and pace can be used to build tension and excitement in your speech. The resolution of that tension can be a twist or you can use rate to bring the segment to a climax by slowing down to almost a crawl. Whenever I think of pitch and tone as it relates to public speaking, I think of the great singers who color the music of their songs with the clarity of each word they enunciate. Listen to the phrasing of some of the great singers of yesteryear and you will get a better understanding of the art of phrasing which can be used when speaking publicly or privately.

One manner of delivery, which is common but gets little attention is prosody, defined as the rhythm and pattern of the sounds of language when speaking. I have also heard it described as “up talking.” Often we begging a statement at one pitch and end the sentence by dropping the voice, while some speakers raise their voice at the end of every sentence. Raising your voice at the end of sentences has the effect of sounding as if every statement is asking a question. It is a style of speaking which you can correct. Begin by focusing on the meaning you wish to convey aided by your vocal variety. Although your focus may be to improve your public speaking, if you begin to practice these tips in your private conversations your public speaking and speaking for all occasions will improve. What you practice privately will always find its way into our delivery when speaking publicly. Your voice is the voice of you.