There are many aspects one can learn in public speaking. In the past, I have discussed the importance of word choice, the use of flip charts instead of PowerPoint, how to overcome fear and exhibit confidence in public speaking. In this article, I would like to share with you something I have learnt recently about the pitch and voice control.

Recently, I had an opportunity to meet with my mentor again for a 5-day training on the use of Accelerated Learning Method. What happened in this course is that in between each bathroom or meal break, a few participants volunteered to be the cheerleaders on the stage. The reason why this is done is that we believe in Accelerated Learning Method, our brains will be willing to learn only if we are in a high-energy mode. Therefore, what these cheerleaders did was to build up the energy in the training room. I must say that all cheerleaders in those 5 days did a fantastic job. What I noticed however is that there is a subtle difference between male and female cheerleaders.

Lesson 1: Challenge to One of the Female Cheerleaders

Even though this 5-day training occurred 3 weeks ago, I can still remember the following scene:

It was Day 4 and it was Mary's turn (not the real person's name) to be the cheerleader. Just like other cheerleaders before her, she did a fantastic job to build up the energy in the training room. Part of the reason why she did well is that she had superb energy too. However, here is the deal. When she asked all of us to stand up, clap and cheer, she pitched her voice to Level 10 with very tense throat muscle. I immediately pictured an image of her rubbing the glass and making the squeak sound. I felt extremely uncomfortable and no matter how hard I wanted to participate, I just could not continue. I felt like a burst balloon after hearing her voice. By the way, I had another image of my friend being scolded by his mother-in-law too. It was weird.

What did I learn from this experience? The key takeaway for me is that Mary is used to use her throat muscle to squeeze her voice out, and her pitch was too high to make others comfortable. Thankfully, my mentor created an awareness of this issue for her and asked her to practise diaphragmatic breathing, i.e. practise breathing from the diaphragm and not the chest. It is my mentor's experience that this issue tends to occur more often to female speakers than male speakers. Well, I have learnt something new.

Lesson 2: Challenge to One of the Male Cheerleaders

I have also learnt something new on the last day of the training too. It was Day 5 and it was John's turn (not the real person's name) to become the cheerleader. Once again, from an energy building perspective, John did a fantastic job. However, here is the deal. After the exercise, he asked all of us to turn to someone to give a high five and say "you are awesome". But his voice was too flat. Suddenly, my "burst balloon" feeling came back.

What did I learn from this experience? While most male speakers have an edge over female speakers in terms of diaphragmatic breathing, male speakers have the challenge of adjusting the volume. It defeats the purpose of asking someone to give a high five but the voice is flat and disengaging. In this particular incident, my mentor pointed out to him that he had to practise his breathing by filling up his lungs. It is John's pattern that his breathing has been too shallow and only the top part of his lungs is full. As a result, he has difficulty in raising his voice to Level 10 to create any useful impact on the audience. Again, I have learnt something new.

I hope you will find my sharing useful. If you have any good tips or experience regarding voice projection you would like to share, leave your comments in my website as I would love to hear them.

Author's Bio: 

After working in the corporate world for 16 years as an international tax lawyer, Jack Wong is now an entrepreneur working from home, allowing him to spend more time with his family. He specialises in coaching his clients to identify their passion in life, and how to make money from home.

For more details, check out Jack's Websites at and