When you speak, your voice is your most important tool. It influences the impact of your speech and can make or break its success.
Fortunately, just like playing a musical instrument, you can learn to use your voice to increase your power and persuasiveness in any conversation or speech that you give. All you need is a little guidance.
1. Slow down.
When you speak more slowly, your voice has more power and authority. Your listeners have an opportunity to absorb and reflect on what you’re saying.
You exude confidence, and you lend your words greater importance.
All powerful people speak slowly, enunciate clearly, and express themselves with confidence. Loud, confident speaking is powerful and moving.
When you speak too rapidly, your pitch increases, often to something squeaky and child-like. This decreases the impact of your words and your influence on the audience because listeners downgrade the importance or value of what you are saying.
2. Use voice exercises.
The human voice is like a muscle. It can be made stronger with exercise and use. Many people with weak voices have become powerful, confident speakers by building their voices over time with exercise.
Try this exercise: Memorize a piece of poetry and recite it regularly as you drive or walk around. Imagine that you’re making a dramatic presentation on a stage, in front of a large number of people. Put emotion and strength and emphasis and energy into the words. Go slowly. Change the emphasis on each word in the line of poetry, thereby changing the meaning of the line.
3. Record and listen to your voice.
As you develop your ability to speak powerfully, record yourself reading poetry or parts of plays. Replay these recordings over and over, looking for ways to improve your pronunciation, delivery and pacing.