Voice projection is not as simple as speaking loudly. There are 6 factors that contribute to the vocal production that you need to master and control as a speaker.
- Volume – how loud you speak.
- Pace – how fast or slow you speak.
- Pause – how much of space between words or sentences do you allow.
- Pitch – refers to the natural rise and fall of your voice.
- Intonation – is the emotional tone that you send out – as an example: do you sound angry, sad, passionate or excited.
- Resonance – overall how does your voice sound – “strong,” “rich,” “robust,” or “mature.”
You currently have a natural way of speaking that brings in all of these six elements and as a result, you can be classified as one of four voice personalities.
#1: The slow and deliberate speaker
Speaks very slowly and softly. There is usually a long pause between their words. Every word just sounds important. You will use this voice personality to emphasize critical points in your talk, to illustrate content that tis technically difficult to understand, or to share points of wisdom.
Whilst it is good to bring this personality at certain points in your talk, if you speak like this for the entire duration of your talk, you could end up boring your audience.
#2: The excitable and loud speaker
Speaks extremely loud and fast. There is little to no pause between their words. Everything is fun and passionate. You will use this voice personality to direct the audience towards an outcome and get them to take action.
Excessively used, this personality can make you sound like you are shouting at your audience.
#3: The natural conversationalist
Speaks at a moderate pace and volume. Sounds very conversational. You will use this speaking personality to connect with the audience; to share your insights, your background and your content.
Whilst the bulk of your talk will be in this voice personality, if you do not vary it, you could end up sounding monotonous.
#4: The comedian
Incorporates an unusual voice or unusual tone. The pace could be fast, slow, or medium. This voice personality is usually accompanied with an unusual body pose, gesture, or movement. It is usually used to instill humor into your speech; for self-deprecating content; or to bring life to the characters within your story. Use this voice personality wisely and avoid it for technical, formal or solemn occasions.
As a speaker, you can improve your overall voice projection and learn to incorporate all six elements of vocal variety within your daily conversation. You know that you have effective vocal variety if you can incorporate all four types of voice personalities within your speech.
As an exercise, imagine your voice as sound waves, practice incorporating all four voice personalities: switch from soft, and slow to loud and fast. Record yourself and hear yourself speak. Remember that with each talk that you deliver, it is the small changes that executed consistently that will bring the greatest impact to you your speaking presence.