let silence underline the significance of your words.
Through your gestures, voice, movement, eye contact, and choice of words, you can convey
force to your listeners. But your listeners will neither hear you nor see you unless you project
words and actions with a vitality and strength of conviction. Force is not loudness, shouting,
wild gesturing, or vulgar language. Force is knowing what you want to say and then saying it
with implicit firmness and undeniable confidence.
The following common difficulties with force have accompanying suggestions for
Lack of volume. To increase volume, select someone in the back of the room and
concentrate on making him or her hear you. Rehearse in an empty classroom and speak to an
imaginary person in the back of the room.
Since these exercises will make you aware of the
distance involved, they will motivate you to increase your volume. When you speak with
increased volume, you will be able to feel your diaphragm working.
Dropping volume at end of words or sentences.
Dropping volume usually results when
a speaker incorrectly associates a drop in volume with downward inflection. Develop the habit
of paying attention to the sound of your own voice so that you can judge whether you are being
heard. Practice lowering the pitch of your voice without dropping the volume. Record your
voice so that you can hear how you sound to others. Read aloud, and concentrate on projecting
every word in a thought or idea to an imaginary listener seated in the back of the room.
Failure to give emphasis to main points or key words. To emphasize main points and
key words, you must first know your subject well.
Then you can communicate main and
subordinate ideas by stressing key words and phrases using volume, pitch, rate, and pauses.
That will result in convincing and authoritative presentations.
This chapter has addressed specific ways to correct common difficulties; however, two
methods will improve all aspects of your speaking voice.
First, listen closely to polished
speakers on television, such as popular newscasters. Their techniques of speech make them good
models for study. Dont try to imitate them exactly, but study how they use their voices to give
meaning to their words and emphasis to their ideas.
Second, listen to yourself daily as you
instruct and casually converse with your contemporaries. Make a habit of constantly evaluating
how you use the speech factors listed in this section.
The most powerful element of instructor presence in front of a class is direct eye contact with
By looking directly in the eyes of each of your students, you personalize the
lesson being presented and stimulate the desire for them to listen more intently. Each student
should have your direct eye contact several times during an instructional period. Make and
maintain this eye contact for 3 to 5 seconds. This time interval is appropriate for personal
contact without being overbearing or creating some level of discomfort for individual students.
Scan the entire class without developing a mechanical pattern. Avoid the common pitfall of