Ian effort to maintain audience responsiveness, some speakers loudly communicate all the time. That is not an effective presentation technique, and it tends to drain audience energy.
Raising and lowering your voice, as well as being silent, are effective tools for increasing audience responsiveness. People don't need to have a presentation pounded into them to ingest the key points. A combination of loud and soft volumes works far better. Choose what you want to accent via increased volume and do it in a controlled fashion.
Getting softer can work well depending on where you are in your presentation. If you're speaking about something on which you want people to reflect, slowing down and speaking at a low volume can work wonders. Suppose you arrive at a critical part of your presentation and you want to encourage audience agreement. In a low voice, you could say, “Haven't we all experienced that at one time or another?”
For a vivid example of how well reducing your volume can work, tune into a Barbara Walters Special. She uses that particular technique to great effect. When she wants to ask interviewees a question that requires them to disclose some personal or highly confidential information, she leans forward and looks directly at them. In a soft voice, she poses her question as if the cameras aren't rolling and the answer won't be broadcast to millions of homes.
The same technique works with audiences of any size. If you're behind a lectern, lean forward a little. If you're in the middle of the stage, come to the front. Look directly at some segment of your audience and, in a low volume, pose your question. Then, give audience members time for mental reflection.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The Complete Guide to Public Speaking. Contributors: Jeff Davidson - Author. Publisher: John Wiley & Sons. Place of publication: Hoboken, NJ. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 281.
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