Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Vocal Variety Vital for a Speaker to Connect With & Influence Their Audience

Late last year I had the privilege of speaking to an audience of more than 800 business professionals.

I arrived at the venue early so I could experience the opening keynote speaker.

The woman's topic was perfect for the audience, non-verbal communication and body language.

She told great stories and had great experiential activities that were quick and easy for audience members to participate in at their seats.

It was a very good keynote with one exception.

For 50-minutes the woman talked, virtually non-stop.

After just 10-15 minutes I was exhausted.

It seemed as though she didn't take a breath the entire time.

It was hard to listen without a break in her speech pattern.

Audiences need a break during the a speech, and this can be done in a couple of ways:

1) Provide some short downtime and opportunities for assessment by asking a rhetorical question people can reflect on for a few seconds. This is good for when you transition from one point to another.

2) Vary your speech pattern by speaking fast in some parts and slower in others. Raising and lowering your voice at different times in a way that reinforces a feeling you are trying to convey or evoke. Otherwise, you risk a monotone pattern that puts the audience to sleep or becomes a pattern that is difficult to listen to long-term.

3) Take a breath and pause.

You've heard the term, "silence is golden."

The audience needs the silence to digest the previous point.

You need it to create a smooth transition to the next point. 

And, remember, the silence will draw the audience in waiting on what you're going say next.

Wouldn't you like an audience leaning in to hear what you're going to say next?

If so, give them that chance.

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Skip Weisman is The Leadership & Workplace Communication Expert, and is a member of an elite group of international World Class Speaking Coaches. Skip works with the owners of companies with between 6-60 employees to transform workplace communication in 90-days and create a more positive, more productive and even more profitable company. Additionally, he coaches and trains business professionals and professional speakers to become a World Class Speaker and presenter that can inspire and motivate any type of audience.  You can learn more about Skip at and .


  1. Yes!! I have few pet peeves, but speakers-who-don't-stop-for-breath is one of them. Great article, Skip. Thank you for posting.

  2. Daniel and Jenny,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
    Daniel, what specifically, did you like about the article and its points?