If you have to speak in public quite often it is highly likely, if are like most people, that you don’t particularly enjoy it – or at least think you could improve. If so, I am glad to say that research can potentially help as this week I have an interesting insights into what the most charismatic speakers do with their voices when they’re speaking to a large audience.
The research paper comes from University of California and highlights how vocal pitch is important when it comes to effective public speaking. Now we know that political leaders who are perceived as more powerful and dominant have generally lower voices and people who spoke with higher pitched voices were perceived as more submissive. However, this week’s research relates to how people purposefully change the pitch of their voice to elicit emotions within their audience as those public speakers who can grab an audience and hold them in the palm of their hand have got an exceptional vocal ability and tend to vary the speed AND tone of what they are saying.
It is important to point out that, as lead researcher Dr Rosario Signorello outlines: “There is no general recipe for being charismatic but in every culture there are ways to manipulate your voice to convey different types of charisma.”
However, no matter what nationalities are in your audience, as someone who was a very poor public speaker when I started out 12 years ago but who now does it for a living I certainly can concur with the power of vocal flexibility. The ability to pause, speed up, lower and raise your voice in terms of pitch as well as volume can have a huge impact on an audience and I encourage you to experiment, practice and rehearse in front of a small group of friends and ask them how your voice sounds and what works best as the pitch the timing can make a great difference as this research from the University of California highlights.
Please don’t forget to share this week’s insight and I’ll be back in a week’s time with some more meetology® – exploring the fascinating psychology powering exceptional people skills.
See you next week, until then take care,
The Meetology® Lab
Signorello, Rosario. “The biological function of fundamental frequency in leaders’ charismatic voices.” The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 136.4 (2014): 2295-2295.