English Communication Confidence Blog

Communicate Well By Varying The Volume

Mar 28, 2022

Don't overlook the importance of varying your volume when you speak. It is a great way to grab people's attention...oh, and it doesn't always mean louder either. 


Video Transcript:

My name is Jill Diamond. Welcome to the by Jill Diamond YouTube channel.

Why am I yelling?

I'm yelling because volume is such an important part of our communication. I don't know if any of you out there have ever heard of Li Yang and Crazy English, but he has proven that when you learn a language loudly, you have more confidence. Li Yang teaches thousands of Chinese students how to speak English in huge auditoriums, huge stadiums, screaming at the top of their lungs.


Now, my goal is not to get you to scream at the top of your lungs, but public speaking and leadership presence requires dynamics. So, as my voice goes low, I grab your attention. That's what you need to do. When it comes to volume, you want to know how to speak out, you want to know when to get louder and when to get quieter.


We're going to do a very simple exercise to practice this. I'm going to ask you to count in your normal speaking voice, from one to six.


One, two, three, four, five, six.


Okay. Let's do that again: One, two, three, four, five, six.


Now I want you to say it twice as loud: One, two, three, four, five, six.


Let's try it in a whisper: One, two, three, four, five, six.


Let's really make it a whisper: One, two, three, four, five, six.


Now I want you to scream it loud like Crazy English: One, two, three, four, five, six.


Now come back to your normal speaking voice: One, two, three, four, five, six.


Now, I don't know about you, but in just those few minutes of changing the volume of those words, I was able to create a more supported, resonant, natural speech.


Think about your volume, when you speak. If you're really interested in learning more about Crazy English, you can go to a TED talk and check out Li Yang and Crazy English.


Thanks for watching the by Jill Diamond channel. I want to remind you to like, to share, subscribe to the channel and I'll see you again real soon with another communication tip.


Check out these FAQs related to today's post:

Q. Why is volume such an important part of our communication?

A. Varying our volume is such an underused speaking tool. First of all, people often are asked to speak louder. It could be when learning to speak a foreign language or when being trained to give a public speech. And that can be very valid. For example, one way that we emphasize words when we speak is by making the vowel of the important stressed syllable of a word louder. We also add intonation change and length to those syllables, but when it comes to volume, an increase in decibels is always helpful in being understood in our English communication. However, sometimes, it is equally effective to lower the volume. I'd recommend that more as a way to grab your audience's attention. When it comes to executive communication, vocal variety is the name of the game. So practice changing how loudly you speak. You can do it by counting from 1to 6. Just be playful and keep changing the volume. It's really that simple.

Q. Do appropriate volume levels vary from culture to culture?  

A. Well, certainly, I would imagine, yes. We can easily say that Asian and European cultures tend to use a lower volume than those who live in the Americas, for example. I also see that there are volume variances depending on the environment in which one is speaking. Let's say for American English purposes that skilled orators do use different volumes as a speaking technique to maintain the attention of their audience. The best way to know if that is true in your culture is to find the best public speakers (entertainers, news anchors, politicians, etc.) you can find online and listen to them give a public speech. In what ways do they use volume to their advantage--in other words, how are they connecting with the audience through the use of their volume? 

Q. Related to volume, why do you think women are less likely to speak up in a meeting than men?

A. I think more and more women today are taking greater risks in this regard. Women have been taught for centuries that their voices are less valuable than men's, but that isn't true in the Western world today. However, just because women are now encouraged (and taught) to speak up at work and in the family, it doesn't mean it comes easily. Some of my clients have asked me about the pitch of their female voices and if they should speak lower to make their voices and ideas more appealing to their male counterparts. To that, I say, you have to find your optimal pitch and speak from that place. If it means adjusting it lower or higher, do so. However, don't change your voice to be like someone else. Change your voice if it helps you connect more deeply with your authentic self. When it comes to interjecting and keeping the floor in a meeting, regardless of your gender, keep this in mind. Keep your volume high as you interject and keep your pitch high when you want to keep the floor. 

Let's Stay Connected!

Subscribe to The English Communication Confidence Blog so that you can be the first to receive unique ways to polish your advanced English.  

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

Take the first step towards your confident communication with just one phone call.


Schedule your call here!