Say What? Use Your Voice to Command a Room

Have you been in the presence of someone who can really command a room or a crowd?  Think of some of the great speeches in history such as Martin Luther King’s “I’ve been to the top of the mountain” speech.  Do you think he would have engaged the crowd as much if he mumbled?

One of the most serious voice problems I encounter in DJs is the failure to clearly articulate words.  This ordinary diction mainly comes from a failure to open their mouths.  It appears that for some, it’s not cool to open your mouth when speaking – the less lip movement the better.  If you want to be taken seriously though, you have to be able to enunciate well.  The best training for this ailment is simply reading aloud.  Find a newspaper or interesting book and read it out loud, consciously thinking about opening your mouth fully.  You’ll find pronunciation becomes far easier and eventually the technique will become a habit.  Record yourself play it back and ‘self criticise’.

Inflection is another area that can cause the speaker to sound unconfident.  Inflection is the raise in pitch you apply to words, often to convey that what you’ve just said is a question.  In the interests of demonstration, try reading the following sentences, whilst raising your voice slightly for the bold words.

Sean: I saw your sister at the club yesterday.

Brigitte: What?

Sean: Yeah, she was there with your parents.

Brigitte: With my parents?

Sean: Yes.

Brigitte: Are you sure?

As you should be able to see, the raised pitch lets the other party know that your batch of words is a question. That’s the basic purpose of the inflection.  Some people however, get into the nasty habit of inflecting what are supposed to be statements:

The result of inflecting your statements is that you end up sounding unsure of them. They lack confidence and this image is projected to the listener.  Make a conscious effort to not raise your pitch at the end of a sentence.  Save your inflections for questions.

Try this one, read it over and over, and every time you read it, emphasise eacg bold word by saying it strongly.  What happens to the meaning?

I did not say he bashed his wife”

“I did not say he bashed his wife”

“I did not say he bashed his wife”

“I did not say he bashed his wife”

“I did not say he bashed his wife”

“I did not say he bashed his wife”

“I did not say he bashed his wife”

“I did not say he bashed his wife

The point being that if you emphasise the wrong word you most likely change the entire meaning of what you’re saying and in some cases, you intend to present one thing but in fact you are presenting something else.

The most confident sounding language is command tonality where your voice goes down in tone on the last word of each sentence.  Try it and see how differently people react to you.

And lastly, remember that your posture will affect the delivery of your voice so stand up straight, hold your head up and smile.



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