Vocal Variety in Speech: Definition, Ideas & Examples

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  • 0:02 What Is Vocal Variety…
  • 0:51 Key to Successful…
  • 2:11 Ideas to Help Vocal…
  • 3:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rana Abourizk

Rana has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is pursuing a Doctorial Degree. She has been teaching online for over a year. She has a strong business background.

Vocal variety is especially important for public speaking. It's important for any one who is in business, leadership, communication, and many more fields. Today we will go over what vocal variety is in speech, ideas of how to improve your vocal variety, and some great examples.

What Is Vocal Variety in Speech?

Have you ever been to a lecture where the speaker droned on and on until you thought you would fall asleep? Or heard a person talk so fast you weren't able to keep up? How a person sounds can affect the way a listener hears the content. An audience may not retain anything at all, or misunderstand the message if intonation, rate, or pitch are off.

Vocal variety in speech is a way to communicate by changing the sound of your voice using different speeds and tones while speaking. Good vocal variety helps keep the audience engaged and clues them in on your meaning, feelings, or emphasis. Vocal variety can be practiced and improved upon - you can master it!

Key to Successful Presentations

Chris has a presentation at work next week, and he's a bit nervous because upper management will be there. He has received remarks in the past that he speaks too quickly and in a monotone voice. He decides to hire Stacy, an experienced public speaking consultant, to help him sound powerful, clear, and keep the audience engaged.

After watching Chris's presentation, Stacy found that he needed help in many vocal areas including:

  • Directing the audience with pauses. For example, Chris should have paused at an important part to give stress to what he was saying and gain a reaction from the audience. Without pausing, the audience won't be signaled when he moves on to another topic.
  • Using different tones of voice. One tone of voice for a long time made Stacy a little bored.
  • Not using filler words. Ums and Uhs made Chris seem a little unprepared or unprofessional.
  • Speaking louder and projecting his voice. Chris's voice was a bit low at times, which might make him hard to hear and seem unsure of himself. Speaking louder would make him seem more powerful.
  • Slowing his speech down. Fast speaking could make people confused, distracted, or not able to listen.

Ideas to Help Vocal Variety in Speech

Stacy had a big job. First, she suggested that Chris practice every day on his own. She showed him some vocal warm-ups like humming, repeating words that sound alike, smiling and frowning, rolling the tongue, and saying words soft and then loud to help with changing tone. She also recommended loosening up his body first by stretching.

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