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Know your voice and your speaking style

speaking styles

Most days, you look in a mirror to check on how you look and to make decisions about your hair or skin or your style. Taking time to check on your communication style can be a useful step to take to think about how to develop your speaking style.
Check on the sound of your voice: how does it sound ok to you?
Is it loud enough? Or do people often ask you to repeat yourself or to speak up?
Are you aware of using a wide range of intonation? Or do you think that your voice is monotonous?
Do you think your voice pitch is too high? Or too low?
What is your voice quality like? Does it sound cool and interesting? Or does it sound thin and scratchy?
Think about how you would like your voice to sound and begin to experiment with different intonation patterns.
Listen to someone whose voice sounds interesting to you what are they doing? Try out some of their vocal range differences.
Check on your use of non-verbal or body language. This is one of the most important means of letting people know how you are, how you feel, how interested (or not) you are in talking to them.

Ideas for practice

Use your iPhone or laptop etc. to record yourself talking. Listen to how you speak and analyse how you can improve aspects of your communication ability: using emphasis, using different words to express what you need to say, using gaze.

Ask some friends/family members to listen and provide some feedback about your skills as a presenter. Practise the presentation of your assigned project with problem solutions agreed with your co-presenters or small group colleagues. Join Toastmasters where you will have opportunities to practise your communication skills in a non pressure environment. Having the confidence to tackle a presentation in front of a largely unknown audience is an achievement that takes some practice and honing of communication skills.

Last updated 4 April 2013 by Listen, Speak & be Heard (Email).