When You Speak, How Do You Sound To Others?
We’re exploring those ways available to you to make your presentations sing and your presence zing when practicing the art of persuasion with groups. And in this post, I’m going to tell you about two keys to using your voice wisely: Projection and variety.
One of my communication mentors talked to me early on in my speaking career about owning the room. Your voice is the carrier signal that delivers your words and message, and how you send that signal determines your ability to fill the space around you as if it belongs to you. Projection means that you speak loudly enough and clearly enough that the person farthest away from you can hear what you’re saying. When talking to a large group, there will probably be a sound system in use that has speakers in the back of the room. Nevertheless, speaking to the people in back is a great way to keep connected volume wise to everyone in the room.
If you’re unsure about the volume, test it before giving your presentation. And if you really want to have some fun, recite poetry, or Shakespeare, and ask someone to move about the back of the room to let you know if they can hear you. I’m fond of doing my sound checks with Puck’s closing speech from Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve gotten many a positive response to it from banquet staff and early arrivals.
Variety plays a role in the impact that the sound of your voice has on a group. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of listening to someone talk in a monotone. It’s sleep inducing! Instead, think of your voice as having three domains: High, medium and low. Mix and match these domains as you talk, and you’ll find that your words connect more powerfully with people. Likewise, your pace has three speeds. Fast, medium and slow.
The slowest you can go is called a pause. And the most powerful pause is the ‘meaningful’ pause. That’s where you stop, even in the middle of a sentence, before delivering the main point. YOu can add the meaningful look to the meaningful pause, by stopping, looking a few people in the eyes, and then saying that main point.
Projection adds power and variety is the spice of life when speaking to a group. Now, what spicy comments do you have for me? I appreciate your comments, I surely do!
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.