A key component of non-verbal communications is your voice. Along with eye contact, gestures, movement and facial expression, your voice can communicate meaning and help your audience focus on your message.

Your voice has an incredible range and ability to convey meaning and emotion, yet most of us use only a small part of that range. Use the following guidelines to unleash the power of your voice so you can deliver your message effectively and connect to the audience:

Speak loudly enough. How loudly? Loudly enough that people can hear you without having to strain. How loudly depends on the room size, whether or not you are using a microphone, the acoustics, etc. Most people think that they are already speaking loudly enough. In fact, it's the opposite – most people need to speak louder.

I remember working with someone who had an inspiring speech, but he spoke too softly to be heard. He had grown up being told that he should never raise his voice and he had to work very hard to overcome that belief. Eventually, he realized that speaking louder was actually a service to the audience since it would make it easier for them to listen – and that it was not shouting.

If you think you speak loudly enough, record yourself or get someone you trust to sit in the back row, or the other end of the table, and give you an honest assessment of whether you speak loudly enough to be heard easily. Chances are, you don't.

Speak slowly enough. How slowly? Once again, it depends on many factors. What is the normal rate of speed for your audience? If you're speaking to native New Yorkers in New York, a much faster speed is allowed – and expected – than if you're speaking just about anywhere else in the world.

Likewise, if you're speaking in a language that is not native to the audience, or if you're presenting complex information that is new to them, you'll need to speak slower, so they have time to digest it.

Your voice has incredible power to communicate meaning and connect you to the audience. Learning to tap into that voice power will enable you to become a more effective communicator.

Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills. Receive a FREE Special Report, "Six Mistakes to Avoid in Public Speaking, So Your Presentation Sparkles" by visiting http://gildabonanno.com/newsletter.aspx and entering your email address. You'll also be subscribed to Gilda's free twice-monthly e-newsletter containing practical tips you can use immediately to improve your communication and presentation skills.

Copyright (c) 2009

Author's Bio: 

Gilda Bonanno is a trainer, speaker, coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate professionals sharpen their presentation and communication skills. She achieves these results by combining her extensive business experience with a talent for improvisational performance and a belief that with the right training and practice, everyone can become an effective communicator.
In addition to facilitating high-energy, client-focused training programs, Gilda speaks about leadership, motivation, communication and humor to groups ranging from engineers to healthcare professionals to human resource practitioners. Gilda also coaches individuals to overcome their fear of public speaking and eliminate the barriers to letting their voice be heard.
She is Immediate Past President of the Southern CT chapter of the American Society for Training and Development and a member of the National Speakers Association. Gilda also is a member of the World Class Indifference improv comedy team, which performs shows and workshops in New York City and throughout Connecticut. She incorporates improv techniques into her training and coaching, helping people learn to think on their feet, be creative and develop confidence. Gilda has worked with clients throughout the US, and in Mexico, China and India.