A Strong Authoritative Voice

Having a strong, authoritative voice will win you instant respect.  On the other hand, a weak and feeble piping speech sound will undermine your credibility.  We are programmed to hear deeper, steadier voices as more commanding.

Change your voice

Politicians hire vocal coaches to help slow their speech, lower the pitch of their voice and deal with unwanted regional accents.  Professor Yuki Sato at Hosei University in Japan has a simpler way – use software.  He has found a way to process recorded speech to make it sound different.  It’s not what you would describe as the perfect solution, but try it for yourself.  Here are two voices from his website:

The original sample of Miss Sugimoto

The sample modified to make her sound more ‘manly’

Recordings only

As New Scientist reported in a 2002 article, Sato’s work has so far only been able to modify recordings.  So this is not the solution to boost your performance in your next platform speech at your company’s annual conference.  For that, you will need to work a little harder.

Vocal Skills

An effective voice has three things, says Richard Payne, author of the Vocal Skills Pocketbook:

  1. Vitality
    How to sound really  interesting by using really good words and a varied voice to build rhythms and patterns
  2. Audibility
    Being heard.  Sorry, being heard
  3. Clarity
    Not mmmbblnnng

Hmmm, still much to learn for me then.

VocalSkills

I’ll try again …

  1. Vitality
    A few deep breaths before you start, regular pauses to catch your breath and create emphasis, and a well crafted script can bring your speech to life
  2. Audibility
    Good breathing and posture can help you to project your voice at the right volume.  If the room is too big for you, use a microphone.
  3. Clarity
    Taking your time and rehearsing will help you get your words and your overall message across clearly.  Practicing some of Richards Vocal Exercises will improve the way you pronounce tricky vowel or consonant combinations.

A Pocketful of help

This book really is an excellent help for anyone contemplating public speaking, with 26 speech exercises that will certainly help develop your skills.  But here are three extra tips from my experience sitting in conference rooms at break times:

  1. Beware clip-on radio microphones
    Turn them off when someone comes to the front at the break, to ask you a private question
  2. Beware clip-on radio microphones
    Turn them off before you head out of the room, walking right in front of a speaker
  3. Beware clip-on radio microphones
    Please turn them off before you take a comfort break

So here’s the deal

Public speaking is a challenge, so prepare for it by preparing your most important tool.  Chefs sharpen their knives, carpenters hone their chisels, and engineers calibrate their micrometers.  So too should a speaker rehearse their voice.

Other Management Pocketbooks you may enjoy

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “A Strong Authoritative Voice

  1. Linda

    Enjoyed today’s blog post, Mike. Made me smile a couple of times. As a teacher I used to wear a radio transmitter to better communicate with two students with hearing loss. (They wore receivers.)Can’t tell you the number of times I forgot to turn off the transmitter. They were extremely well informed pupils!

    Also smiled at voice coaching to override regional accents. In my first public speaking engagement the only questions I took afterwards were from audience members curious about where I came from! It was a positive result for me on that occasion as my voice was clearly sufficiently distracting to deflect awkward questions on the contentious subject matter!

    Reply
  2. Pingback: What can Pocketbooks Teach our Politicians? « Management Pocketblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s