Effective public speaking begins with Five Essential Vocal Tools. These speaking techniques keep your audience attentive, engaged, and thoroughly informed and persuaded.  The primary vocal tools for public speaking are:

  • Energy and emphasis
  • Pitch inflection
  • Rhythm and pacing
  • Pauses and silence
  • Vocal quality

Be energetic when you speak

Emphasis is simply the force or stress you place on important ideas, concepts for feelings.  It’s the simplest of the tools for effective public speaking. Make sure you use enough energy to reach across space to your listeners, “bringing your voice to them.” Nothing turns off audiences more than straining to hear, or being aware of the distance between them and the speaker.

Add color and excitement with pitch inflection

Another important technique when speaking to audiences is pitch inflection.  A pitch that doesn’t vary is a “mono-tone.” And of course, from that word comes the term “monotonous.” Pitch inflection, on the other hand--raising your pitch in terms of the musical scale--helps you avoid monotony and convey meaning. It also adds color, excitement, and emphasis to your speech. An easy speaking style that includes pitch inflection tells audiences that the speaker is relaxed and confident.

Vary your rhythm and pace

Don’t forget rhythm and pace when you speak. To keep audiences attentive, you need to vary your pace. Variations in rhythm and pace aren't to be added artificially, however. They should emerge naturally from changes in ideas, meaning, and the emotions embodied in what you are saying.

Use the power of silence

Pauses and silence are two of the most neglected tools in public speaking. Pauses help you achieve impact; add emphasis; build suspense; bridge ideas; and create anticipation concerning what you’re about to say. And of course it’s necessary to pause after you say something important to allow your listeners to absorb the information.

Vocal quality creates a richer audience experience

Vocal quality concerns the tone, richness, pleasantness, and emotional connection that you achieve when you speak. If the concept isn’t clear to you, think about people you know who have soft voices that you love listening to, versus harsh and abrasive tones that you can hardly stand for more than a few minutes. Similarly, your audience wants a voice that reaches listeners effectively and enjoyably.

At Public Speaking International, we’re experts in training clients in all of these vocal techniques, and more. We use theater-based techniques to transform your ability to persuade and inspire others.

More Public Speaking Tips:

Public Speaking – Your Most Important Communication Tool

Handling Nervousness

Mastering Nonverbal Communication

Persuading an Audience


vocal dynamics for effective public speaking


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