Voice Skills

by Judy Apps

Tone

The enemy of a good tone is tightness. It’s like grasping a bell by its bowl and expecting it to ring true. If you force your voice by pushing the sound through tightness around the shoulders, neck and jaw, the tone will sound forced, harsh or strident, and the effort will be really bad for your voice.

Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.

Herman Hesse

When you relax, especially around your shoulders, neck and jaw, the sound is able to resonate according to the intention of your words, and the tone will then reflect the meaning of what you are saying. If you do this, the tone will never sound harsh or strained, however loudly or emphatically you speak.

The characteristics of a sound come from your feeling. A voice that carries fear can frighten the audience, while a voice that carries laughter can get the audience to smile. A voice that carries passion will arouse passion in the response.

Some common effects of tone of voice

  1. If your tone rises at the end of each sentence, you can sound indecisive. Every sentence sounds like a question.
  2. If your tone is monotonous (as can happen, for example, if English is not your first language), you can sound inflexible and even domineering.
  3. If your tone is high, you can sound childish, and people won’t take you seriously.
  4. If your voice is strident or in other ways hard on the ear, people will want to listen to you as little as possible!
  5. If your tone of voice is too low and indistinct, people will have to make a big effort to understand you, and may not always bother!