A positive impression can be created initially with good dressing and grooming in the minds of the audience. However, if your voice is squeaky, your words meaningless, or your voice too loud, then their positive impression quickly will become negative. If you want to communicate effectively and positively influence your audience, you must pay special attention to your speaking voice. When you speak, your voice is the primary link between you and your listeners. So if you would like to develop a perfect speaking voice, start with the steps below.
It’s important to be heard when you speak, so raise your voice! However, this doesn’t mean you should shout – rather, you should vary the loudness of your speech depending on the situation. But, if you tend to whisper, mumble or speak with your head down it is much easier for people to talk over you or ignore you.
Adjust you pace of speaking
It’s important to slow down your speech by saying your words more slowly and pausing between sentences. Speaking too quickly is a bad habit and it can be difficult for people to keep up with you or even understand what you’re saying. This makes it easy for them to tune out and stop listening. The ideal speaking rate is somewhere between 120 to 160 words per minute.
Make sure to open your mouth, loosen your lips and keep your tongue and teeth in the correct position as you speak. Speaking clearly is possibly the most important aspect of developing a good speaking voice. You need to pay close attention to each and every word you say – pronouncing it fully and correctly. Some commonly mispronounced or poorly articulated words include saying “gonna” instead of “going to”, saying “axe” instead of “ask”, or saying “jist” instead of “just”.
Practice deep breathing
Practice your breathing by inhaling deeply, allowing the air to fill your belly. Breathe in for a count of 5 seconds, then exhale for another 5. Get used to this method of breathing, then try to work it into your everyday speech. Try to breathe at the end of every sentence – if you use the deep breathing method, you should have enough air to get through the next sentence without having to pause for breath. This will also give your listeners a chance to absorb what you’re saying.
Practice loud reading
In order to work on pronunciation, pace and volume, it is a good idea to practice reading aloud. Keep practising until you are happy with what you hear. Then try to employ the same techniques as part of your everyday speech.
Record your own speech
Recording your own speech can help you to pick up on any faults that you wouldn’t normally pick up on, such as mispronunciations and speed or pitch problems. Though most people don’t like listening to the sound of their own voices, it’s a good idea to record yourself speaking.
Smile while you speak
A good way to make your tone more friendly and warm is to smile while you speak. Smiling can help people judge your content of the speech more favorably. Avoid grinning as it can mean something else but even a slight upturn of the corners of your mouth can make the sound of your voice more appealing – even over the phone.