7 ways to change the tone of your voice to match the tone of your message

7 Ways To Change The Tone Of Your Voice To Match The Tone Of Your Message

Maria PellicanoMentoring

Have you ever been to an event where the speaker is able to take you on a journey by connecting with you through the passion in her voice? When this happens, you feel completely engaged with their message, and you totally trust their authority and knowledge of the subject.

Would you like to be able to do that?

Did you know you can (and should) change the tone of your voice to match the tone of your message? This will help you communicate more freely and connect with your audience.

“The only reason to master this technique is to be sure the body does not interfere with the soul’s free expression.”La Meri

Just like an actor who begins his interpretation of a character by finding a suitable voice you must consider who you are being when delivering your message content.

HERE ARE 7 VOICE ELEMENTS YOU CAN CONTROL WHEN SPEAKING:

1YOU CAN CONTROL THE PITCH OF YOUR VOICE

Each voice has a natural or optimal pitch level at which an individual gets the most amount of sound with the least amount of effort. A low speaking pitch can be because your voice resonance is too low in your throat making you sound very deep and muffled. A high pitch or a nasal quality often makes the speaker sound insecure, shaky or nervous. When this happens your voice is unbalanced and lacks an even, calming and persuasive tone.

Voice Technique Tip
To locate your optimum pitch say, “Uh-huh.” The first pitch on ‘Uh” should be the lower pitch and the second pitch on “huh” should be the higher one. Your optimum pitch is the sound of the second pitch, the higher one.

Say “Uh-huh.” Notice the second pitch that you sound for the “huh” and now say your name straight after “huh” and notice which pitch it was like. Was it the first or the second? If it was lower, try again and say your name on the same pitch as the “huh”.

2YOU CAN CONTROL THE PACE OF YOUR SPEECH

The ideal speaking rate in every day conversation should be somewhere between 120 to 160 words per minute. Speaking slowly can help to emphasise a point and bring clarity to your message. However speaking too slowly can also be monotonous so your listeners may become impatient and just tune out. Speaking more quickly can give the impression of passion and enthusiasm and show that you are confident and know your subject. The down side is that speaking too quickly can make it difficult for people to keep up with you or understand what you’re saying. Sometimes people tend to speak quickly when they’re nervous or unsure of what they’re saying.

Voice Technique Tip
Record yourself, listen back to it and use an app called TickTalk which will help you speak at the pace of whatever your conversation is about. There is a speed for every conversation. When you speak about money or if you are an auctioneer you need to speed up your pace, however if you are speaking on a sensitive topic you may want to slow it right down.

3YOU CAN CONTROL THE PAUSES OF YOUR SPEECH

A pause at a crucial moment could help the meaning and effectiveness of the message. Build them into your speech sparingly. The space a pause creates helps your listener ponder on the message. You must count 7 seconds for a pause to be effective. If pauses are too short it will sound like you’re scrambling for words, well-timed pauses create a sense of intrigue and curiosity.

Vocal Technique Tip
Practice this speech with deliberate pauses, record yourself and listen to how you change the emotion in it as you pause.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. (pause) Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. (pause) It is our light (pause) not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, (pause) who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? (pause) Actually who are you not to be? (pause) You are a child of God…” (pause) by Marianne Williamson

4YOU CAN CONTROL THE TONE OF YOUR VOICE

This is the quality or character of sound. Everyone has their own best unique tone of voice. Are you saying one thing and others are hearing another because your tone is not matching your message? We all remember tone because it’s emotional and people connect to feelings of your speech more than to the words you speak. If you sound monotonous, unemotional or lifeless, you may be boring and switching any potential client relationship off. If you sound depressive, angry or aggressive this tone style can intimidate your client. When you’re able to be flexible with your tone you’ll have more influence. As you gain more control over your voice you can modify your tone to sound passionate even if you are not feeling excited.

Voice Technique Tip
Experiment with reading a variety of scripts where you can access different emotions and then notice how it changes your tone of voice. Use high level emotions such as excitement, depression, anger, love, hate, and record yourself. Notice how your tone changes, and decide which tone you would like to use for your next speech.

5YOU CAN CONTROL THE VOLUME OF YOUR VOICE

A projected or restrained voice can affect the clarity of the words. To speak out loud is to resonate, which mean to create echo. By releasing our voices we allow a free resonance, this helps our voice project and sound louder in a healthy non forced way. A forced voice distorts the resonance and vocal projection is then muffled. When you force your voice your larynx raises and your voice becomes strangled and limited, you may then feel like your voice is stuck in your throat. Some call it a “lump in the throat”. Avoid yelling. Do you love cheering on your team at the top of your lungs? Yelling can strain your vocal cords and make it difficult for you to speak. In the worst cases, yelling can lead to nodules, or bumps on your vocal cords.

Voice Technique Tip
Do a lip-trill to release the voice. Trill from the deepest pitch you can find to the highest (squeakiest) pitch you can find without lifting your neck or head. Project this lip trill straight out of your lips horizontally and ignore the vertical vibrational sensations.

6YOU CAN CONTROL THE INTONATIONS/INFLECTIONS IN YOUR VOICE

This is a modulation of the voice where it can go higher and lower, also known as the rise and fall of the speaking voice. A voice inflection is when you emphasise individual words to make them stand out by raising the pitch and making it sound like you are asking a question, and when you inflect with a lower pitch it ends the phrase. Emphasising certain words can change the meaning of a sentence as well as the feeling behind it. Working on your inflection or intonation will help you deal with a monotone voice and bring a more dynamic and interesting expression to your message.

Voice Technique Tip
Read the following. “Hello, how are you? I heard you’ve been ill but I see you’re better now. I’m glad. When are you going to be back at work?”

The first time you read it do not emphasise the bold words, read it as a sentence. You should find the tone is concerned and sympathetic.

Now say the same lines again but this time emphasise the words that are in bold. It will sound as if you doubt whether the listener really has been ill and may even sound sarcastic.

7YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR ACCENT IN YOUR VOICE

An accent is a distinctive way of pronouncing a language associated with a particular country, area, or social class. Usually the problem sounds of most accents are the vowels A,E,I,O,U and Th as in The and Thin, W as in wish, V as in Van, also R & L. Another issue that comes up when we hear a strong accent is the rhythm of the English language in comparison to individuals other spoken languages is different and therefore flows differently when we hear it.

Voice Technique Tip
Clap to the beat of the English language and notice the rhythm in it. You will notice that the English language is spoken in a legato (flow). If you speak in another language clap it out paying attention to the rhythm and the pauses, is it staccato (broken)? Notice if the language rhythm is flowing or stopping and starting. Eg: My second language is Italian, the language has a stop/start feel to it and the rhythm of the words flow differently because of the rhythm of the language. Changing this rhythm can also alter the meaning of your message. By recording yourself you can then notice what parts of your speech can change to create more flow and this will help you deliver a message that is easily understood by others.

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