Pitch and Tone of Voice Make All the Difference for Women

June 17, 2013

Once again, this year’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders brought hundreds of young women together to meet new friends, network, and find their voices. The conference included many wonderful workshops that gave attendees skills and tools to become better leaders and impact their campuses on new levels. Christine Jahnke, author of The Well-Spoken Woman: Your Guide to Looking and Sounding Your Best, taught attendees important essentials for successful speaking like finding your signature style, sending a synchronized message, and projecting self-assurance. One of the most important communication tools, Jahnke noted, has been highly overlooked and under-utilized: your voice.

Jahnke said that women often don’t use our voices in a way that shows we are confident, mentally prepared, and physically ready for a presentation. “Ask yourself, ‘Do I know how I sound?’” Below are four of Jahnke’s tips to improve your vocal quality and make sure you are a well-spoken woman in all types of communication.

  1. Pace.
    How quickly or slowly are you speaking? You want to make sure that you maintain a conversational rate (about 140 words per minute). This will make you sound confident and comfortable with your content.
     
  2. Pitch.
    Where does your voice fall on a musical scale? Avoid speaking in an overly high-pitched voice; instead, try lowering your tone.
     
  3. Pause.
    Don’t be afraid of the pause. You can always take a second to catch your breath — this will save you from replacing these spaces with “um,” “you know,” “actually,” and other fillers.
     
  4. Projection.
    Raise or lower your voice to add interest to the conversation. Drop the volume, for example, to increase intensity, pull people in, and call attention to what you’re saying.
     

Next time you have a speech to prepare, remember to use your voice fully and you will speak with confidence!

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Nzinga Shury. 

By:   |   June 17, 2013

1 Comment

  1. [...] watch the show without a second thought to the way the women spoke, so why does it even matter? Christine Jahnke, a Washington, D.C.-based speech coach, spells it out like this: “Upspeak makes everything [...]

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