Tone Of Voice Exercise Part 4: Volume

Volume, or the physical loudness vs softness with which you speak, is received by your audience as a perception of the energy behind your spoken statement. You should always be audible to your audience, but this is not to say that louder speech volume is always preferred or necessary. Controlled fluctuations in volume can serve as devices for conveying nuance or emotion, ultimately lending dimension to your content.

How Volume Can Work In Your Favor:

Artfully varying the volume of your voice is a clever way to retain the attention of your audience. Depending upon your subject matter, there is a place for every degree on the loudness spectrum in your speech, from a stage whisper to a shout. Properly exploiting this spectrum can animate your topic and prompt the listener to take it seriously.

How Volume Can Work Against You:

When your speech Volume is not diversified, you run the risk of sounding monotonous, or worse, as if you’re reading or reciting a memorized block of content. Additionally, always speaking too loudly can cause you to come across as too assertive or authoritative, while always speaking too softly can strip your content of its vitality, and even put your audience to sleep.

Your Mission:

Familiarize yourself with the quote below from the movie Gandhi. Then, record yourself reciting it in two ways: Once in a consistent vocal Volume (either too loud, too softly, or at normal volume), and once with varying Volumes that creatively correspond with the dramas and tensions in the quote. During playback, consider the effectiveness of the latter vs the former, and start to understand how Volume can be utilized to draw the listener in to different sections of the quote:

“When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.”