My speaking coach, Eleni Kelakos, has posted a good blog on the importance of vocal tone, pitch and timbre in communicating authority, presence and confidence.
In addition, I’d suggest that the voice can send signals about our emotional status, such as anxiety or depression — even when we’re not speaking in public.
Just as fidgeting or hyperactivity can mark an anxious person, a tense voice can signal emotional fear states to others. I know many people who speak with voices that are high-pitched or lacking in prosody, the “melodic” or “sing-song” quality that a relaxed voice possesses. This is a sign that their throats are tense and that they are anxious.
Others talk too rapidly or too haltingly, perhaps signs of anxiety or of “having the self-criticism filter turned up too high.” Others may speak with a lack of positive energy or enthusiasm, that clearly messages others about their low mood and lack of confidence.
Eleni’s blog as an excellent suggestion as to how to improve the voice. I didn’t realize I used this technique, but I do, so that may explain why my voice is considered self-assured and calming. (An essential skill for someone who teaches meditation!)
I also believe that being aware of your speaking voice and working to change it can be a very helpful exercise in mindfulness. Because you have to “be in the moment” to notice and change your voice as you speak.
be kind to yourself…