22 Jan Public Speaking Tips Lesson 1: Your “Normal Voice” vs. Your “Best” Voice
Your “Normal: Voice vs. Using your Best Voice
By Elizabeth Peterson M.A.CCC-Speech-language pathologist
(Excerpt from: How to Speak like a Broadcaster and Lead like a CEO)
When people judge others’ voices, they are usually commenting on the quality of their pitch when public speaking. The concept of pitch is easily misunderstood. On a technical and scientific level, vocal pitch is described as how the vocal chords vibrate together to create sound waves. For a nontechnical individual, pitch is often perceived as how the voice sounds. For example, the vocal pitch is too high or low or wavering, or sounds thin or weak. Learning to speak from your best and more optimal pitch range will help you to present with strong, rich tones that are pleasing and sound more powerful. It is important for you to know what it is you want to change for a successful result.
To strengthen your awareness, describe your pitch and voice quality:
Voice therapists describe two types of pitch, habitual and optimal when it comes to public speaking. Habitual pitch is your regular and what you consider to be your “normal” and consistent tone of voice. It is the pitch you use automatically or habitually for speaking, but it may not necessarily be your best vocal quality. Optimal pitch, located in your lower throat, produces a rich and pure tone where the muscles of the vocal mechanism function at their best to produce your ideal and best voice quality that is rich and pure in tone with natural projection. Speaking in your optimal pitch range would be preferred for professional speech and voice since that is where the most vibrant tones are produced.
If there is a significant gap between your habitual and optimal pitch, it is most likely due to the fact that you find it easier and more comfortable speaking in your habitual or “normal” pitch range. This is the pitch level most people use automatically without ever thinking about it. Many speakers with a high, thin or nasal-sounding pitch are speaking from their habitual pitch range. Learning to speak from your optimal pitch level is an easy adjustment to make, and the benefits will significantly improve your voice quality as well as your personal and professional image and public speaking skills.
Thank you for your interest in this article. Stay tuned as next week I will teach you how to find your “best” or optimal pitch range.
Homework: Determine what type of vocal pitch you speak from.
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