Vocal Tonality in Public Speaking

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning” -- Maya Angelou

The tonality of your message or your speech conveys the gravity of your situation. People vicariously experience and perceive what the speaker is trying to communicate through the tone of speech. Voice modulation carries almost 38% of weight towards making a great impact on the audience. Therefore, altering your tones at the correct time in the speech can result in influencing the listeners terrifically.


Speakers, having control of the intonation of their voice, can manipulate listeners’ emotions and feelings. These tones help in conveying their message to the audience and how they react to it. Changes in the tonal quality of a person helps to acquire the interest of the listeners. In this blog we will cover the meaning of Vocal Tonality, the types of tones used in different circumstances and their impact on people during public speaking.


Add vocal tonality to avoid monotonous speeches

Impact of Vocal Tonality and Modulation on Public Speaking


Tone of voice is how the meaning of your speech comes through your words, both from the paper and mic. This outlines the way you sound when you speak words out loud and you are able to convey your feelings through your modulation skills.


Why do you need Variance in your Voice?

When you start speaking in front of an audience, you may have experienced not having the desired impact on the crowd. Even when you have your words memorized, listeners seem to zone out. To enhance your public speaking game you should start focusing on conveying your message in apt manner to your target segment. Practicing voice modulation can be a good start to achieve this goal.


Types of Tones

  • Formal tone: Speaking in a professional manner. It involves being thorough, diplomatic and to the point. Giving a lecture in college or talking to people in an office requires a formal tone.


  • Informal Tone: It always has a personal touch while speaking. Generally a conversational tone in which emotions and feelings are expressed without any specific structure.


  • Assertive Tone: Have you realized, when somebody is putting forward their views about certain things, they become very bold in communicating their ideas. This determination and directness displays their assertive tone. They are very determined about their objective and do not wish to make any changes. They always find a way to work things out in the direction they want.

  • Informative Tone: Generally used by teachers and professors while teaching and imparting knowledge or information. Describing about the topics and subjects often requires a dose of informative tone.


  • Factual Tone: It is frequently misunderstood as informative tone. Factual one basically consists of stating basic facts about the discussed subject rather than describing them.


  • Motivating Tone: Talking with conviction, motivates people to achieve their full potential. It inspires and engages them to accomplish superiority in their personal and professional lives.


  • Humorous Tone: With the aim to keep the audience engaged as well as entertained, speakers tap into their light and funny pickup lines. It does not involve being sarcastic or mocking but rather positive and amusing. Converting one’s adversity into a circumstantial joke lightens the spirit of the room.


Inspiring Speeches with Vocal tonality

Importance of Varying Vocal Tones in Public Speaking

Numerous researches have concluded that 93% of the impact created on the listeners and their perception of your speech depends on the tone of your voice and body language whereas only 7% depends on the words that you use. Vocal tonality helps to convey the ideas, thoughts, emotions and meaning. The variation in your voice keeps listeners engaged and interested. Your speaking tone can make or break your speech delivery, hence using different tones is extremely important.


Techniques to Enhance Voice Modulation

  • Slow Down: Speak slowly and clearly while addressing an audience. It creates an emphasis on your message and gives more power and authority to your words.


  • Focus on Pauses: The drama of the speech is contained in the silences and pauses. When you move from one point to another, the breaks create suspense and engage people. Recording your voice and replaying it to check the correctness of pauses is a good practice.


  • Uptalk: Using an rising intonation at the end of the questions can increase the impact. To exemplify: Are you going there? (rising tone on there). This should be used with questions and not with statements as it might indicate uncertainty.


  • Brackets: Bracketing the words, in the written material, that need to be emphasized while speaking helps you remember when to modulate your voice. For instance: “{Hi}, how (are) you?” This means a high pressure on “Hi” and a little less on “are”. These brackets remind you to put an extra effort while speaking these words.


  • Looping: Have you noticed people repeating the same sentence, that is initially high pitched and then low pitched? This always creates a humorous or impactful environment (depending on the situation and sentence). For example: the words, "I have a dream" were reiterated by Martin Luther King Jr. several times in his speech with the same title to emphasize on the agenda.


Ever had a misunderstanding with people because you were not clear with your message? The reason could very well have been the improper tone of voice. In future keep the graveness of vocal tonality while speaking. As covered in this blog, the meaning, types, importance and use of different tones of voice will help you clarify your stance thereby evolving you as a confident speaker.

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