What is vocal variety?
Vocal variety refers to the proper variations in volume, pitch, rate, pace, etc. throughout your presentation. The purpose of incorporating vocal variety is to add meaning, interest, involvement, and impact in your presentation.
What’s the opposite of vocal variety?
You may think it is monotone. Monotone is more related with lack of emotions. In fact, it’s just part of the answer. The opposite of vocal variety is sameness.
Have you ever heard speakers starting off their presentation with this booming voice, and kept booming their voice for the entire presentation. And you have no idea what is important or unimportant, because they just stayed that way the entire time. How did you feel? Did you feel it disturbing? You probably wanted to cover your ears and ran to the nearest exit.
Or have you heard speakers talking so softly, that you couldn’t even hear what they said. Those are mostly ladies because ladies are told to be nice and gentle. While as audience you found it so hard to hear them and you lost your interest.
How about speakers speak so fast that you couldn’t even catch up? You tried so hard to follow their thoughts, just to find exhausted and had to give up.
Or have you ever heard someone speak so slowly, you just wanted to help them spit it out.
These are only a few examples of sameness.
Sameness not only creates a hard time for your audience, but also projects a negative impression of you as a speaker, being uninterested or bored with your topic, or you just wanting to get it over asap.
As a speaker, always remember, “Everything you do, you do it for your audience.” Therefore, you need to incorporate vocal variety to your speaking to create interest for your audience, involvement from your audience, and impact in your audience. Whether you want to inform, entertain, persuade, or inspire your audience, you cannot achieve it with sameness.
To avoid sameness and accomplish vocal variety, you have a few tools to use: volume, pitch, presentation rate, pace, stress, and pauses.
Today, you are going to pick up one must-have tool, and this tool, you can immediately use it, no matter what kind of personality you have. This tool is “stress”.
Stress is emphasis you put on certain words or phrases to make them stand out. To stress does not necessarily mean you should say these words or phrases louder. It simply means you should verbally set them apart from everything else you say so that your audience could hear and feel the difference or importance.
Let’s take one example to practice stress.
The statement is “I won the lottery”.
If you want to convey the meaning that it is you not anyone else won the lottery. How will you say it? You probably put the stress on the word “I”.
“I” won the lottery. (It’s not you.)
If you want to convey the meaning that you didn’t steal the lottery or pick up from the floor. How will you say it? You might put the stress on the word “won”.
I “won” the lottery. (I didn’t steal from someone.)
If you want to convey the meaning that you didn’t win a game, or a bet. How will you say it? The stress should be put on the word “lottery”.
I won the “lottery”. (I didn’t win a car.)
Before you give your next presentation or presentation, think about what meaning you want to convey and where you can put the stress.