To speak effectively, you must use vocal expressiveness or “vocal dynamics.” These speaking techniques keep your audience attentive, engaged, and thoroughly informed and persuaded. Here are the “5 Key Tools of Vocal Dynamics” that you should know about and practice:
1. Energy and Emphasis. Emphasis is the stress you place on important ideas,
which should come naturally. But you also need enough energy so that your voice “encompasses” your audience. Nothing turns off listeners more than a speaker who makes them work too hard, reminding everyone of the distance between that presenter and his or her audience.
2. Pitch Inflection. Varying or inflecting your pitch adds color and excitement to what you say. A pitch without any variation is a “mono-tone,” which is where we get the word monotonous. A speaker who uses pitch inflection, however, is much easier to listen to. That speaker also helps listeners grasp important points, since these become “peaks” of inflection that stand out from the rest of the “plateau.”
3. Rhythm and Pace. Have you ever listened to a speaker who seemed to be racing in the Indy 500 without a car? How about someone with a speaking rhythm like a metronome? Audiences need a varied pace to stay interested. If you’re completely invested in what you’re saying, your rate and rhythm will vary naturally, since ideas and emotions change constantly throughout a speech.
4. The Power of Silence. “She was the most . . .” If a speaker paused right there before going on, wouldn’t you be interested in what was coming next? Pauses work wonderfully to create suspense, emphasis, to bridge ideas, and to transition between points. And silence, by itself, is one of the most powerful tools in your speaking arsenal.
5. Vocal Quality. Vocal quality includes all the elements of tone, richness, pleasantness, and emotional connection that create the subtleties of human speech. Think about someone whose voice you love listening to, versus the grating speaker who gets on your nerves. Your audience too wants a voice that not only informs them but makes listening to you enjoyable and, dare we say, memorable?