Have you ever sat through a speech that was so boring that you either fell asleep, or spent the time catching up on your email?

Would you like to know how to avoid doing the same painful thing to the people who are listening to you?

An obvious requirement is to create an interesting presentation. However, you can ruin the best speech in the world by delivering it in a boring manner.

One of the best ways to spark up any presentation is to use what is called vocal variety. That sounds promising, but what is it, and how can you do it?

Following is a list of suggestions for you to try out when you are practicing your next presentation, or simply reading something aloud. Any of these methods can help to add interest, drama or humor to even the most mundane material.

  1. Tempo  – speeding up or slowing down at appropriate places in your talk helps keep people alert and attentive.
  2. Volume – using a louder or softer voice is an effective way to add emphasis to a particular point you want to make. (It can also wake people up!)
  3. Rhythm – alternating a steady rhythm with syncopation and the use of well timed pauses are also very powerful attention grabbers.
  4. Pitch – speaking in a lower or higher voice is another way to add variety, especially if you are quoting someone else.

If you  want to start having some real fun with your voice, try using some of these sounds in your voice when you speak:

  1. Gravelly
  2. Breathy
  3. Husky
  4. Nasal
  5. An accent
  6. Tight lips

The next time you are watching a cartoon, pay attention to how the voice actors create the distinctive sounds of their characters, generally by combining several of the techniques I’ve shared with you above.

Listening to how great speakers use their voices is also a great place to start getting ideas for how you too can help your voice go from dull to dazzling, and keep the eager attention of anyone who has the privilege of listening to you.