1. Volume: Speaking loudly adds energy and excitement to your delivery, while speaking softly increases intimacy and drama.
2. Pace: Most people speak at 3 words per second, but many people speak more quickly when they get nervous. Speaking quickly can be useful if you’re trying to add excitement to a specific point, but be careful not to rush through your entire presentation. Speak a little slower than usual when discussing more complicated information, emphasizing a key point, or building drama.
3. Inflection: When you ask a question, your inflection usually goes up at the end of the sentence; when you give a command, it typically goes down. Be careful to avoid vocal “upticks,” which occur when your inflection gets higher at the end of every sentence.
4. Tone: Your tone adds emotion to words. For example, try saying “Sure, I love you” aloud in three different ways: Sincerely, sarcastically, or sadly. Those versions each convey something different, and good speakers align their words with the tone they wish to convey.
5. Pauses: Well-timed pauses can add drama to your vocal delivery or allow audiences an extra moment to consider your message. Short pauses, the verbal equivalent of the white space in a newspaper, allow the audience to process your ideas on their terms, meaning you’ve effectively transferred information from speaker to audience.