Effective Vocal Delivery



Volume

Speakers control the production of sound either using their own voice or a microphone so that amplified sound is loud enough to be heard.

Learning Objectives

List methods of using volume to effectively deliver your speech

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Volume is the perceived loudness of the speaker. Loudness is what the audience actually perceives and it correlates with the physical strength (amplitude).
  • When speaking naturally without any amplification, you need to keep in mind the distance to be covered by your voice and adjust sound production accordingly.
  • In large rooms or when using videoconferencing equipment, you use a microphone to convert sound into electrical signals for amplification.
  • Lavalier mics, commonly used by speakers, are usually attached to collars or ties with small clips. The cord may be hidden by clothes and either run to a radio frequency transmitter or into a mixer.

Key Terms

  • Lavalier Mic: A lavalier microphone or lavalier (or lav or lapel mic) is a small electret (electric, magnet) or dynamic microphone used for television, theater, and public speaking applications, in order to allow hands-free operation.
  • amplifier: This is a particular type of speaker used to amplify voices and musical instruments at live performances.
  • loudness: The characteristic of a sound that is primarily a psychological correlate of physical strength (amplitude). More formally, it is defined as “that attribute of auditory sensation in terms of which sounds can be ordered on a scale extending from quiet to loud. “

Volume

Volume is the loudness of the speaker. It is the psychological characteristic of physical strength (amplitude). It is perceived as auditory sensation by the listener which can be ordered on a scale from quiet to loud. Loudness is then a subjective measure of the listener, which is often confused with objective measures of sound strength such as sound pressure level (in decibels), sound intensity, or sound power. Amplitude is the strength or power of the wave signal. Higher amplitudes on the wave graph are interpreted as a higher volume, hence the name ” amplifier ” for a device that increases amplitude.

A diagram of a sound wave with its frequency (pitch) and amplitude (loudness) labeled.

Determining the Volume: Higher amplitude will be perceived as louder sound.

Using the “Naked” Speaking Voice

When speaking naturally without any amplification you need to keep in mind the distance to be covered by your voice. You might compare speaking with the act of throwing a ball. Consider how much more muscular effort is needed to throw the ball a long distance than is required to throw it a short one. As you speak, think of your words as balls and mentally watch them covering the space between you and your audience. Notice how you unconsciously lengthen the voice. If speaking in a face-to-face group without a microphone ask yourself if you are loud enough to be heard by audience members in the last row. Speaking to a large group will require more energy to breathe and control your sound production.

To become a better speaker with your “naked” speaking voice, try the following techniques:

  • Practice speaking in a large room with a friend who moves farther and farther away from you until the friend reaches the rear of the room and can still hear you.
  • Make sure that you are standing straight and not cramped so you have the maximum capacity for breathing and forcing air out of the lungs for sound production.
  • Practice speaking by thinking of people at different distances to you such as at your elbow, across the room, or in the back of a large hall.

Using a microphone

In large rooms or when using videoconferencing equipment, you will use a microphone to convert sound into electrical signals for amplification. The signal may then be sent to an amplifier. The electronic amplifier increases the power of a signal. It does this by taking energy from a power supply and controlling the output to match the input signal shape but with a larger amplitude. A loudspeaker or headset receives the input to produce the amplified sound.

image

Microphone: Microphones are used by a speaker for large audiences, during recording, or when videoconferencing.

There are several different types of microphones that the speaker might commonly use in different situations, such as:

  • Hand-held mics – High quality mics usually attempt to isolate the diaphragm from vibrations using foam padding, suspension, or some other method. Low quality mics tend to transfer vibrations from the casing right into the diaphragm, resulting in a terrible noise.
  • Lavalier mics – These are attached by a small clip to the clothing of the speaker, usually to collars or ties. The cord may be hidden by clothes and either run to a radio frequency transmitter or a digital audio recorder kept in a pocket or clipped to a belt (for mobile work), or directly to the mixer. These usually do not have protection from handling noise.
  • Stationary mics – These are permanently attached to a podium. With an attached microphone, you are limited to the space immediately in front of the podium. Some stationary mics are in a holder on the podium, which can be removed to allow you to move around at least the length of the connecting cable.

Microphones can be placed in several different arrangements in the room for recording or videoconferencing, such as:

  • In close – The microphone is placed relatively close, within three to twelve inches, which reduces extraneous noise.
  • In distant or ambient miking – The microphone is placed at some distance from the speaker. The goal is to get a broader, natural mix of the sound source, along with ambient sound, including reverberation from the room or hall.
  • In room miking – This is used together with a close microphone, sometimes during the speaker Q&A.

To make the most out of a microphone, a speaker should consider these techniques:

  • Hold the microphone about six to eight inches from your mouth and speak over the microphone.
  • Make sure you have the right microphone for speaking. Don’t just use whatever mic is at hand.
  • Note that lavalier mics do not usually have protection from handling noise. It is therefore important to make sure they will not be moved or bumped.
  • Conduct a sound check with any microphone. Make sure to test with the speakers in the actual room.

Rate

Rate is the speed of speaking in words per minute from slow to fast, with normal rate averaging about 125 words per minute.

Learning Objectives

Use variance in the rate at which you speak to convey different emotions or emphasize important parts of your message

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • You can vary the rate depending of the emotions you are feeling or the type of message you are communicating. If you are experiencing joy, you will speak at a fast rate compared to a speaker who is expressing surprise who will speak at a much faster rate.
  • When speaking you want to speak at a varied rate so that you can emphasize important parts of your message.
  • Do you speak fast because you are in a hurry to finish or are nervous? Caution, slow down!

Key Terms

  • paralanguage: The non-verbal elements of speech used to modify meaning and convey emotion, such as pitch, volume, and intonation.
  • rate: speed of speaking, measured in words per minute

Rate is Speed of Speaking Measured in Words Per Minute

Rate is how fast or slow a person speaks. Rate is part of the paralanguage of speech along with loudness and pitch. It is not language but it accompanies all of your spoken use of language and can convey attitude and emotion. You can vary the rate depending on the emotions you are feeling or the type of message you are communicating. For example, if you are experiencing joy, you will speak at a fast rate compared to a speaker who is expressing surprise who will speak at a much faster rate. Normally, you speak about 125 words per minute. But you may speak much slower at about 100 wpm if you are giving a slide presentation.

You will find that the rate of speaking in audiobooks is about 150-160 words per minute whereas auctioneers can speak at about 250 wpm. According to the Guinness World Record, the current fastest speaker is Steve Woodmore, who was clocked at a rate of 637 wpm. Caution–slow down a minute to consider what you might do with your speech rate to be more effective.

image

Warning Sign: Just like a traffic sign warns about certain upcoming speed limits, a speaker needs to monitor their rate during a speech.

Tips for Speakers

  • When speaking you want to speak at a varied rate so that you can emphasize important parts of your message.
  • You also want to change the rate for the mood or emotion of the message and the occasion. If you want to show excitement at a pep rally you will naturally speak at a faster rate than if you were speaking at a funeral where you would speak slower because you are sad or contemplative.
  • You might also speak slower if you are making choices and thinking carefully about what you are saying; a slower pace may conveys your thoughtfulness to the audience.
  • Use a recorder to record your speech so you can clock your actual speaking rate.

Finally, ask yourself if you are speaking too fast because you are nervous!

Pitch

Changing the pitch while speaking can convey shades of meaning such as emphasis or surprise, or distinguish a statement from a question.

Learning Objectives

Define pitch and describe how pitch changes can change the meaning of sentences

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Pitch is the auditory attribute of sound ordered on a scale from low to high. You can think about the notes on a musical score with pitch getting higher as you move up the scale.
  • For men and women the size difference of the vocal folds, reflecting male-female differences in larynx size, will influence pitch range so that adult male voices are usually lower-pitched with larger folds than female voices.
  • Consciously or unconsciously the speaker will use different patterns of pitch to convey different meanings to the listener.
  • In public speaking you can apply changes in pitch not only to a single word such as an exclamation, “Oh! ” but to any group of syllables, words, and even sentences to convey different meanings.
  • Avoid monotony, speaking with one pitch tone or little variety in pitch. Make sure to vary the speech as you speak to show emphasis and change in meaning.

Key Terms

  • intonation: The rise and fall of the voice in speaking. Some texts use “inflection” instead of intonation to indicate change in pitch.
  • pitch: The perceived frequency of a sound or note. Higher frequency notes are higher pitch and lower frequency notes are lower pitch.

Pitch Is Ordered on a Scale from Low to High

Pitch is the auditory attribute of sound ordered on a scale from low to high. You can think about the notes on a musical score with pitch getting higher as you move up the scale. Pitch is closely related to frequency of sound waves; it is almost entirely determined by how quickly the sound wave is making the air vibrate and has almost nothing to do with the intensity, or amplitude, of the wave, which relates to loudness. That is, “high” pitch means very rapid oscillation, and “low” pitch corresponds to slower oscillation.

An example of treble and bass clefs with note letters and numbers.

Measuring the Pitch: The higher pitch sounds move up the treble clef and the lower pitch sounds move down the bass clef.

Pitch for Male and Female Speakers

As a speaker you want to find a pitch that is suitable for speaking. Generally, you want to use a pitch range that would normally be comfortable for your natural conversation. For men and women the size difference of the vocal folds, reflecting male-female differences in larynx size, will influence available pitch range. Adult male voices are usually lower-pitched and have larger folds. The male vocal folds are between 17mm and 25mm in length. The female vocal folds are between 12.5mm and 17.5mm in length.

Uses of Pitch for Communicating Different Meanings

The pitch or pitch contour in which a syllable is pronounced conveys shades of meaning such as emphasis or surprise, or distinguishes a statement from a question. All languages use pitch pragmatically as intonation (or inflection as is used in some texts) to communicate different meanings—for emphasis, to convey surprise or irony, or to pose a question. Generally speaking, there are four types of pitch changes you can make, as follows:

  • Rising intonation means the pitch of the voice rises over time [↗];
  • Falling intonation means that the pitch falls with time [↘];
  • Dipping intonation falls and then rises [↘];
  • Peaking intonation rises and then falls [↗].

Consciously or unconsciously the speaker will use the different patterns of pitch to convey different meanings to the listener. Consider the uses of pitch change and the associated meanings in the different categories as follows:

  • Informational: for example, “I saw a ↘man in the garden” answers “Whom did you see? ” or “What happened? “, while “I ↘saw a man in the garden” answers “Did you hear a man in the garden? “
  • Grammatical: for example, a rising pitch turns a statement into a yes-no question, as in “He’s going ↗home? “
  • Illocution: the intentional meaning is signaled by the pitch pattern, for example, “Why ↘don’t you move to California? ” (a question) versus “Why don’t you ↗move to California? ” (a suggestion).
  • Attitudinal: high declining pitch signals more excitement than does low declining pitch, as in “Good ↗morn↘ing” versus “Good morn↘ing. “
  • Textual: information not in the sentence is signaled by the absence of a statement-ending decline in pitch, as in “The lecture was canceled” (high pitch on both syllables of “cancelled”, indicating continuation); versus “The lecture was can↘celed. ” (high pitch on first syllable of “canceled”, but declining pitch on the second syllable, indicating the end of the first thought).

In public speaking you can apply changes in pitch not only to a single word such as an exclamation, “Oh! ” but to any group of syllables, words, and even sentences to convey different meanings. You can change pitch of successive syllables in a word, word groups, or successive sentences. You want to make sure that you use pitch to convey the intended meaning so that you do not drop the pitch, for example, until you have completed an idea.

Additionally, in natural conversation pitch changes make some words stand out more than others, you can do the same in your public speaking for emphasis. You can use pitch to draw the listeners’ attention to words or phrases that are more important than others. When speaking you will naturally use a range of pitches to convey different meanings.

Speaker Tips

  • Avoid monotony, speaking with one pitch tone or little variety in pitch. Make sure to vary the speech as you speak to show emphasis and change in meaning.
  • Practice saying sentences with different intonation patterns to change the meaning. For example, if you make a statement with falling intonation at the end, you can turn it into a question by raising the intonation at the end. Try for example, “See what I mean,” and “See what I mean? “

Pauses

A speaker may use pauses to enhance the message delivery; a speaker may also user filler words and pauses that distract from the message.

Learning Objectives

Classify pauses as effective or ineffective

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • You may use a pause to emphasize that the information coming next is important, or to give the audience time to process what you have just said.
  • Repetitive, unnecessary pauses like speech disfluencies, filler pauses, false starts—particularly filler words such as like, you know, and so—can distract from the message.
  • Record a conversation and count the use of unnecessary pauses and filler words in relation to the other words in the speech. See if you can reduce the ratio over time.

Key Terms

  • filler: A sound or word that is spoken in conversation by one participant to signal to others that he/she has paused to think but is not yet finished speaking.
  • Pause: Pause may refer to a rest, hesitation, or temporary stop.
  • disfluencies: Speech disfluencies are breaks, irregularities, or non-lexical vocables that occur within the flow of otherwise fluent speech. These include false starts, fillers, and repaired utterances (correcting slips of the tongue or mispronunciations).

Pauses

Pauses can enhance delivery or be filled needlessly and distract the audience.

A pause may refer to a rest, hesitation, or temporary stop. It is an interval of silence and may vary in length. The speaker may use pauses to enhance the message delivery or fill the pauses needlessly and distract the audience from the message.

Efficient and Effective Pauses

You may use a pause to emphasize that the information coming next is important, or to give the audience time to process what you have just said. Consider some of the ways that you might use pauses effectively in your delivery.

image

Using Pauses: Jimmy Wales pauses for dramatic effect in response to Amanda Cogdon at the 2006 Time 100 gala.

  • Pause enables the speaker to gather thoughts before delivering the final appeal: pause just before the utterance, think about what you want to say, and then deliver your final appeal with renewed strength.
  • Pause prepares the listener to receive your message: pause and give the attention powers of your audience a rest. The thought that follows a pause is much more dynamic than if no pause had occurred.
  • Pause creates effective suspense: suspense can create interest. The audience will want to find out the conclusion or what happened if you pause before the punch line or conclusion.
  • Pause after an important idea: pausing gives the audience time to process what you have just said before you continue with your delivery.
  • Pause at the end of a unit: you may pause to signal the close of a unit of thought, such as a sentence or main point.

Ineffective Pauses

Different types of pauses that could present problems for the speaker:

Speech Disfluencies

Speech disfluencies are breaks, irregularities, or non-lexical vocables that occur within the flow of otherwise fluent speech, including false starts (words and sentences that are cut off in the middle), phrases that are restarted and repeated, grunts, or fillers like uh, erm, and well.

Filled Pauses

Filled pauses are repetitions of syllables and words; reformulations; or false starts, where the speaker rephrases to fit the representation of grammatical repairs, partial repeats, or searching for words to carry the meaning.

Filler Words

Filler words are spoken in conversation by one participant to signal to others that he or she has paused to think, but is not yet finished speaking. Different languages have different characteristic filler sounds. The most common filler sounds in English are: uh /ə/, er /ɚ/, and um /əm/.

Today’s youth uses other fillers. The following are among the more prevalent:

  • y’know,
  • so,
  • actually,
  • literally,
  • basically,
  • right,
  • I’m tellin’ ya,
  • you know what I mean.

Placeholder
Names

Placeholder names are filler words like thingamajig, which refer to objects or people whose names are temporarily forgotten, irrelevant, or unknown.

Tips for speaker

Record a conversation and count the use of unnecessary pauses and filler words in relation to the other words in the speech. See if you can reduce the ratio over time.

Remember that as you become more confident and familiar with speaking it will be easier to reduce the frequency of many of the unnecessary filler words and pauses.

Articulation and Pronunciation

Articulation focuses on making individual sounds and pronunciation focuses on stress, rhythm, and intonation of the syllables in the word.

Learning Objectives

Define articulation and pronunciation

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • In articulation you change the sounds coming from your vocal folds by moving the teeth, tongue, and lips in recognizable patterns.
  • After practice, if you can not physically produce the sound, then you may want to consult with a professional speech therapist to help you with articulation.
  • In pronunciation you change the sounds of words by using stress. rhythm, and tone change on different syllables of the word.
  • The syllable is the phonological “building block” of words. It is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter.
  • Practice to make sure you are not substituting or omitting sounds when you say a word, and pay particular attention to common sound substitutions such as ‘tin for thin and d for th so that you do not say ‘den for then or goin’ for going.
  • Install an online dictionary with audio pronunciation guides on your cellphone or laptop so you can listen to words that are troublesome to you when you are practicing.

Key Terms

  • pronunciation: The way in which the words of a language are made to sound when speaking.
  • articulation: Use of tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs to make a sound. Often the concept is only used for the production of consonants,
  • intonation: The rise and fall of the voice in speaking. Some texts use “inflection” instead of intonation to indicate change in pitch.
A diagram of a human head that shows the lips, jaw, tongue, nasal cavity, palate, oral cavity, pharynx, epiglottis, larynx opening into the pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.

How Humans Speak: The human pharynx is situated immediately below the mouth and nasal cavity, and above the esophagus and larynx.

Articulation, the last step in speech production

We as humans are unique in our use of tongue, lips, and other movable parts of the speech mechanism. The first act of speech is breathing, in which you get air into a storage chamber; second is phonation, the process by which you force air into vibration by the action of the vocal folds; third, resonation, in which your mouth,nose and throat cavities amplify the sound so you can hear it; and finally there is articulation, in which you modify the sound by movement of the teeth, tongue, and lips into recognizable patterns. There are only forty-four sounds to master, and as young child you started making them by mastering simple sounds which you later articulated into repetitive sound combinations and then words.

Here you are concerned with intelligibility. Can the audience comprehend what you are saying? If you produce the basic sounds of the language in a manner which is different from the language users in the audience, at the most basic level your speech will not be understood. You might substitute one sound for another at the beginning of a word such as ‘dis for this and “w” for “r” so you would say “wabbit” rather than “rabbit. ” Or you might leave a sound off the end of a word, such as in goin’ for going, in casual speech. But, the real challenge is whether or not you can produce the “correct” sound when it is required. If you can not physically produce the sound, then you may want to consult with a professional speech therapist to help you with articulation.

Tips for Speaker

  • Practice to make sure you are not substituting or omitting sounds when you say a word, or adding sounds such as needcessity for necessity.
  • Pay particular attention to common sound substitutions such as t for th so that you don’t say ‘tin for thin and d for th so that you dont say ‘den for then.
  • Practice reading and recording passages with the problem sounds. Listen to the practice recording with a learning partner or tutor.

Pronunciation in spoken language

Pronunciation refers to the ability to use the correct stress, rhythm, and intonation of a word in a spoken language. A word may be spoken in different ways by various individuals or groups, depending on many factors. These factors include the area in which you grew up, the area in which you now live, whether you have a speech or voice disorder, your ethnic group, your socio-economic class, or your education.

When we talk about pronunciation, we focus on the word rather than the individual sound, as with articulation. The syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel) with consonants around it at the beginning and end. Syllables are often considered the phonological “building blocks” of words. A word that consists of a single syllable (like English dog) is called a monosyllable, and is said to be monosyllabic. Similar terms include disyllable and disyllabic, for a word of two syllables; trisyllable and trisyllabic for a word of three syllables; and polysyllable and polysyllabic, which may refer either to a word of more than three syllables or to any word of more than one syllable. Your job in pronunciation involves recognizing the different syllables that make up a word, applying the stress to the right syllable and using the right up and down pitch pattern for intonation.

Intonation is also used in English to add function to words such as to to differentiate between wh-questions, yes-no questions, declarative statements, commands, requests, etc. You can change the meaning by varying the intonation pattern.

Tips for Speaker

  • Listen to recordings of different people you admire, to check the pronunciation.
  • You can connect to one of the online dictionaries which has an audio of the preferred pronunciations if you are unsure.
  • You can download an app for your cellphone or tablet so you have it readily available to check pronunciation and meaning of words.
  • If you are using a non-English word, you can also use Google’s translate function with audio pronunciation guide with the translation.
  • If you spell a word differently than other language users, you may also pronounce the word differently. Check to determine if the word is pronounced as it is spelled. There are fourty-four sounds in English, but over five hundred spellings for the different sounds.
  • You may want to practice reading a story or article aloud with a learning partner or tutor to check your pronunciation.

Dialect and Vocal Variety

Speakers may use many different English dialects to change the pitch, rate, volume, and use of pauses to achieve vocal variety.

Learning Objectives

Employ vocal variety to emphasize key points in your speech and use dialect to relate to your audience

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • A dialect is a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language’s speakers and is distinguished by shared vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
  • The major native dialects of English are often divided by linguists into three general categories: British, North American, and Australasian; over two-thirds of English speakers live in the United States.
  • Though the U.S. federal government has no official language, English is the common language used by the federal government and is considered the de facto language of the United States.
  • All dialects have communicative value within the particular dialect community. When a person moves out of their home dialect community, they may encounter negative evaluations by those in powerful positions who speak a different dialect and have set a standard for others.
  • You achieve vocal variety by using any or all of the features of paralanguage — rate, pitch, volume, and pauses to change the way you deliver your message.
  • Consider that emphasis allows you to compare and contrast different parts of your speech.
  • Vocal variety combats monotony, which results from having an unvarying tone in your speech.

Key Terms

  • paralanguage: The non-verbal elements of speech used to modify meaning and convey emotion, such as pitch, volume, and intonation.
  • tone: The manner in which speech or writing is expressed.
  • dialect: A variety of a language (specifically, often a spoken variety) that is characteristic of a particular area, community or group, often with relatively minor differences in vocabulary, style, spelling and pronunciation.
  • monotony: Tedium as a result of repetition or a lack of variety. The quality of having an unvarying tone or pitch.

Dialect and Vocal Variety

A Dialect is a Variety of a Language

A dialect is a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language speakers. A dialect is distinguished by its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation (phonology, including prosody). Where a distinction can be made only in terms of pronunciation, the term accent is appropriate—not dialect.

The term dialect is applied most often to regional speech patterns. The major native dialects of English are often divided by linguists into three general categories: British, North American, and Australasian. American English is a set of dialects used mostly in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the world’s native speakers of English live in the United States and it is the most common language there. Although the U.S. federal government has no official language, English is the common language used by the federal government and is considered the de facto language of the United States because of its widespread use. English has been given official status by 28 of the 50 state governments.

A picture of half an American flag and half of a Union Jack.

English Language: English is not just one language. There are three major dialects in the English language — North American, British, and Australasia.

There are several dialects associated with the speech communities in different regions. You may have meet people from different parts of the country who speak a different dialect. Some of the more common dialects are as follows:

  • New England includes Boston and Vermont English;
  • Inland North American includes western and central upstate New York;
  • Mid-Atlantic includes Baltimore, New York, and New Jersey;
  • Inland North American includes Michigan, Northern Ohio, and Indiana;
  • North Central includes primarily Minnesota and Wisconsin;
  • Midland American covers Nebraska to Ohio;
  • Southern English across the Southeast;
  • Western English includes California and Hawaiian Pidgin.

What dialect do you speak? Are you currently living in your native dialect area? What differences of words or pronunciation do you hear from others in different parts of the United States?

Since there are so many dialects of English, it is difficult to say that one dialect is better than another. Some dialects may be spoken by persons holding powerful positions in an area, so those dialects are the ones that become a standard for others. People of one dialect may view speakers with dialects from different regions, social or cultural backgrounds negatively and treat them accordingly. All dialects have communicative value within the particular dialect community; it is when the person moves out of their home dialect community that they may encounter negative evaluation.

Tips for the Speaker

  • It is important to consider whether the majority of the audience shares the same dialect as the speaker to make sure that the words and pronunciation match those of the audience.
  • If you are speaking to a national audience, you will want to make sure that your word choice and pronunciation is more widely used than that of your home dialect community.

Vocal Variety

Vocalics, or paralangue, refers to the non-verbal elements of speech used to modify meaning and convey emotion. You achieve vocal variety by using any or all of the features of vocalics: the rate, pitch, volume, and pauses you use to change the way you deliver your message. Here are methods to help you create variety in your delivery:

  • Speak faster or slower at different times;
  • Speak at a slightly higher or lower pitch;
  • Use more force to speak louder or softer;
  • Pause at different points in your speech.

Consider that emphasis allows you to compare and contrast. You might say one phrase at a faster rate in comparison to another phrase that you speak at a slower rate. You might speak louder at the end of your speech to create a contrast with the softer delivery in the preceding part of your speech. All of these vocal changes in paralanguage help you emphasize what is more important compared to another part that is less important.

The goal here is to avoid monotony, or an unvarying tone, that could bore your audience and fails to communicate your message clearly.

Tips for the Speaker

  • Every speech has key points that you want to emphasize. Identify those points by changing the delivery so they stand out or contrast with the rest of the speech.
  • Change the rate meaningfully; do not speak faster to finish the speech or to avoid talking about a main point.
  • Change in rate is natural in conversation. Notice how you change the rate in your conversation and apply the natural changes while speaking in public.