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Use Your Voice as a Musical Instrument

“True leadership lies not only in the words you speak but in the way you make others feel heard, valued and inspired"

How often is it that you hear someone speak and ask yourself - when is this going to end?

I have seen people shake their watches to see if it was working. And then, sometimes, you hear people speak and ask to hear more. That’s because they are captivating and engaging. It’s like they are painting a picture in your mind with their words.

This is the power of voice modulation it’s the how of what you want to say. Your voice reflects the feeling you want to convey to the audience.

Think of your voice as an instrument. Just as skilled musicians play their instruments delivering music, they want you to relate to, you can learn to play your voice to make the audience feel anything you want them to. You could sound confident, excited, passionate or engaging.

Therefore, it is essential to use your voice strategically to help the listener connect with your message and with you. Voice modulation helps you engage with your audience on an emotional level. Below are the five aspects of voice modulation that are commonly used in combination to make an impact:

1. Tonality – Tonality refers to the movement between rising and falling tones. Being aware of the tones can help you sound the way you want to. Tonality adds meaning and emotion to your words.

2. Emphasis - When we listen to people speak, we pick up words that sound important and are highlighted. These highlighted words give a message to the listener that is picked up by the subconscious mind. It is pretty much like when you listen to an important lecture and write down the key points.

3. Pauses - Pauses are very important, they help the audience process what you are saying. Pauses have to be at the right time and at the right place allowing the speech to flow in between.

Pauses along with intonation are similar to vocal punctuation. The listener needs to figure out when one idea is done and the next idea has started. They are also indicators for knowing the beginning and end of a sentence. Therefore, it is an important tool for the listener to process your ideas and follow your logic.

Pauses can be used as speed breakers, especially if you speak fast.

4. Speed – Don’t speak faster than people can understand you. When you talk too fast, you come across as nervous or anxious. On the other hand, speaking too slowly can give the listeners a sense of boredom or disinterest. Pace well practised is a great technique that is used in storytelling to help the audience visualize a situation. For example, when the hero of the story is in a state of urgency or is running, we could use our pace to indicate it.

5. Volume is the decibel level of sound. When you are too soft and the listener needs to strain to get an idea of what you are saying, the impact of your speech is lost. In the same way, when speakers are too loud, some listeners may perceive them as yelling. Getting the volume right is important to make the right impact on your audience.

We use volume when we want to dramatize a situation. Using both speed and volume together can transport the listener into the world you want them to see.

As with music, voice modulation changes based on the context. So, when we use our tonality, emphasis, pauses, pace and volume effectively, we can bring our words to life!

A good way to improve your voice modulation is first to check how you sound. You could use this checklist to help you. Record a practice session and then ask yourself:

1. What is my tone like? Do I sound monotonous, disinterested or meaningful?

2. How is my volume? Am I yelling, too soft, too loud or effective?

3. How is my speed? Am I too fast, too slow or just right?

4. Am I clear and easily understood? Do articulate well and sound clear or do I mumble along?

It doesn’t matter what kind of voice you have; what does matter is how you use it to influence and inspire your listeners.


Varsha Samtani


Varsha is an executive communication coach whose specialty is working with leaders to improve performance and engagement through better communication.

She comes with a rich corporate experience of ten years of training in the field of communication. Varsha has worked with entrepreneurs, professionals, and senior managers and helped them advance in their careers by helping them overcome their limiting beliefs and scale greater heights. Her approach is highly personalized and her programs are customized to each client.

She is a qualified TEFL / TESOL trainer, Emotional Intelligence Coach, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Practitioner, Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and certified counsellor.

To know more about Varsha visit,


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