Tone Of Voice Exercise Part 3: Intonation #2
As the pitch of your voice remains relatively constant, typically only changing when emotion dictates, you can be in control of your intonation, which is the rise and fall of your voice when speaking. Intonation, which includes inflection, can be used to distinguish the difference between a statement and a question, and serves to regulate conversational interaction.
How Intonation Can Work In Your Favor:
When applied smartly, Finality Patterns, which are sharp falls in the pitch of your voice in the final syllables of declarative statements, can demonstrate that you’re in command of your subject matter, and that you stand behind your statements. Properly manipulating your inflections in this way can project the right kind of confidence when it matters most, and signal to others when you “mean business”.
How Intonation Can Work Against You:
Rising Intonation, which is an upswing in pitch toward the end of a spoken question, can sometimes also be used in declarative statements in order to “feel out” the listener and gauge the degree to which they understand your points. However, overuse of Rising Intonation in declarative statements is considered “upspeaking”, which can send a message to your audience that you’re unsure of or “questioning” your own subject matter, thus surrendering any power you might have had.
Familiarize yourself with the following sentence: “Jane didn’t steal my pen.” Then, recite it 5 separate times, each time placing the Inflection on a different specific word. Take note of how each of the 5 recitations gives the sentence a significantly different meaning, and what the consequences of those meanings are. Equate this sense of tonality to the way people receive what you say every day, and begin to consciously use Inflection to your advantage.