A strong voice is essential for clarity and projecting confidence in the workplace. But speaking at the same volume all the time can be monotonous and cause your listener to tune out. Varying your volume helps to keep your listener engaged. You can also learn to vary your volume strategically to highlight important information and make sure your message sticks.
Effectively manipulating your volume requires a bit of practice. One great way to learn this skill is using vocal exercises. First, choose a neutral phrase, for example, “My name is Jayne.” Practice saying that phrase out loud, first at your natural volume, then as quietly as you can, and then in a shout that could be heard across a loud, crowded room. Think of a few different situations in which you may need to monitor your volume—for example, projecting your voice during a presentation or speaking very quietly to a colleague during a meeting. Practice saying your neutral phrase as though you were in each of these situations.
Now choose a short passage to work with. (If you’re preparing to give a presentation, this is a great time to get some extra practice in!) First read the passage silently, thinking of how subtle variations in volume could help generate interest and highlight your message. Now try reading aloud, varying your volume as planned. If possible, record yourself so you can review, hear how the volume variations actually sound to others, and tweak.
Learning to effectively manipulate your voice requires practice, but it will help you to develop a dynamic speaking voice that commands your audience’s attention.
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