Gift Wrap Your Speech

Knowing the components of speech provides you with the tools to become a compelling and exciting speaker.

The tune in your voice, the tone, pace, pauses, volume and clarity, all gift wrap your speech.

With practice, you can have an impressive voice. Everyone is gifted with a good voice. However, many of us don’t use all the components of speech or perhaps don’t maximise the use of airflow in and out of our lungs. The way you sound is three times more important than what we say, so, consider the following vocal variety involved in the components of speech.

Components of speech

The tune is the musical pitch of your voice, high or low, the inflexion and how you bend your voice for emphasis. Use the tune in your voice to keep your audience listening. The voice has a range of two octaves; it sounds more interesting if you use the whole range.

The tone in the voice makes the sound the same as the meaning or feeling. There is an appropriate tone for delivering a eulogy and a tone which expresses excitement. When there is no tone variation, the sounds become monotone. Such a presentation is considered dull by the audience.

Pitch is the degree of highness or lowness of a tone. A speech delivered without pitch variation affects the audience’s ability to recall the information and reduces their enjoyment in listening. Pitch adds character to your speaking pattern. Using the right pitch at the right time helps express a range of emotions, which assists you to connect with your audience.

The pace is the speed of delivery. You can use the rate of your speech for emphasis; faster for less critical points, slower for important ones. The most effective address is between 120 – 160 words a minute. If you speak quicker than that, your audience will not grasp the meaning of all the content, or retain the information presented.

A pause is a most useful tool for emphasis. Decide on your salient points and pause at each juncture. Stopping for effect will give you time to scan the room and lets your audience know that they must listen to your next statement.

When delivering a series of facts or figures, pause after each one so your audience may process the details, before you present additional statistics or information.

The volume in your voice is raised and lowered for variety. Keep your voice natural. Select a sentence and say it in a loud whisper. Then try it in a soft speaking voice. Say it a little louder and then in a loud voice. As you vary the volume, you notice the change in emphasis. Choose the appropriate volume for your needs.

Clarity is determined by correct pronunciation, proper expression of sounds and by emphasising appropriate words. Know how words are best said before your presentation and practice the right pronunciation. Emphasis is most effective on the significant words only, not every word.

For clarity sake, identify your problem areas; for example, do you ‘uhm’ too many times? Do you say, ‘Okay’’ or ‘you know’? It is essential to try to eliminate these where possible. Becoming aware of problematic areas is the first step to controlling, and getting rid of them in your talk.

Gift wrap your speech. Use tune in your voice to keep the audience listening. The right pace will give them time to grasp your meaning and remember your speech. A pause emphasises an important point that you make, while volume provides variety. Correct pronunciation, and stressing essential words, creates clarity of sound and meaning. By understanding and using the different components of speech, you become a compelling and exciting speaker.