Vocal technique for voice drop?
March 26, 2010 3:21 PM   Subscribe

I've been doing some public speaking, and it's been going pretty well. One critique from a friend of mine, however, is that my voice tends to drop at the end of sentences.

I'm having a hard time not doing this. I don't even notice I'm doing it, and I'm not sure why I do. I'm guessing that it might be related to having to try and control my voice over the years, as it's naturally pretty loud. Or perhaps I'm not always feeling super confident in what I'm saying, and I'm having a hard time following through on the idea. Are there any vocal techniques that can help me fix this?
posted by SpacemanStix to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
 
Could you please clarify: Does your voice get quieter, or lower in pitch?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:33 PM on March 26, 2010


I don't even notice I'm doing it

There's your first problem. Start by videotaping yourself speaking. This should make it easier to notice this phenomenon and how you correct it.
posted by grouse at 3:34 PM on March 26, 2010


Could you please clarify: Does your voice get quieter, or lower in pitch?

My understanding is that it drops in loudness and strength. Does that help?

Start by videotaping yourself speaking

This is a good idea.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:40 PM on March 26, 2010


One critique from a friend of mine, however, is that my voice tends to drop at the end of sentences.

Everyone's a critic. Do not get hung up on any one comment from any one person.

Do what makes YOU feel comfortable. Speaking in public is hard enough without becoming too self-conscious about it.
posted by three blind mice at 4:03 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Simple answer, use semicolons. OK, that sounds snarky, but don't mean it to be. This is something with in your approach to the material, so change that. Just keep talking and yes, in writing very long sentences are bad. In conversations, people who drone on and on are annoying. But this isn't those things; you have the floor and aren't going to yield it except for a fire alarm anyway. The whole speech really is a single sentence anyway. {take a deep breath...}
posted by Some1 at 4:07 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is also sometimes called "swallowing your words" - and many people do it, especially if you're not used to public speaking. It's a cue that you're nearly finished with your sentence, and allows for conversation to flow, but of course, in public speaking, there's no need for that.
Awareness is part of the answer - the other part is posture and breathing. Be sure to keep your head up, chin back, and breath from the diaphragm - all this will help you project naturally (without speaking 'louder'), and then try to be aware of how you structure your sentences.
Also - practice practice practice - literally, practice each speech at least three times, preferably with an audience (even just a friend or two). You'll become far more familiar with your own words, and will be able to speak more naturally - you'll know what you're trying to say and won't have to rely solely on what you've written. The more you do this (public speaking), the better you'll get.
Lastly - Toastmasters is your friend - find a local chapter that meets at a convenient time and join. They can help you with speech structure, impromptu presentations, loads of stuff that will make you a more dynamic and comfortable public speaker.
Good luck!
posted by dbmcd at 4:09 PM on March 26, 2010


You could try exaggerating the opposite. Give a practice talk alone in which at the end of each sentence you speak LOUDER and SLOWER.

And if that works, um, let me know, because I'd be curious.
posted by sesquipedalian at 5:46 PM on March 26, 2010


Variation on sesquipedalian's approach: force yourself to start slowing down and emphasizing the last few words of your sentences.

This should lead to two things: first, you'll be louder at the end of the sentence, even if it is only the last few words, and second, you'll quickly learn to drop unnecessary noise from the end of your sentences -- going from, say, "Force yourself to start slowing down and emphasizing the last few words of...your...sentences" to "As you speak, slow...down. Emphasize the last..few...words."

Obviously that'll get old really quick, but it is just an exercise to help you end sentences with a clear voice and a clear idea.
posted by davejay at 9:19 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


It sounds to me like you're running out of air or are afraid you might be. You might try making yourself breath in the middle of sentences.
posted by irisclara at 2:21 AM on March 28, 2010


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