Gary Genard's

Speak for Success!

"Be a voice not an echo." - Albert Einstein

7 Ways To Use Your Voice To Be An Unforgettable Speaker

7 Ways To Use Your Voice To Be An Unforgettable Speaker

Is your voice an asset or a liability in your career? It's an important question! Here are 7 ways to use your voice to be an unforgettable speaker.


Would you like to be the voice of success in your industry? How about the voice of experience? Or, are the stars aligned for you to be the voice of your generation?

Each of these examples, of course, is a use of the phrase "the voice of . . . " in its figurative sense. But how about the literal use of "the voice," i.e., the characteristics of how you speak and their relation to your professional success?

See Chapter 6, "Vocal Dynamics: Transforming Your Relationship With Your Audience" in my book, Speak for Leadership. It's true. Click on the book image for a signed copy! Amazon

Speak for Leadership, by Gary Genard, shows you how to achieve leadership presence in public speaking.

Those of you who are familiar with Speak for Success! know that my articles focus on the performance of public speaking. And arguably, the most potent tool you have for succeeding at that task is your vocal style. Many others in your company or industry could speak about the same data you do. But you are literally the true voice of your presentations.

And that is a key element of being seen as a leader! Discover other tools of leadership with my Free cheat sheet, "Leadership Skills: 5 Essential Speaking Techniques."

7 Voice Characteristics That Influence Listeners

You can say (and I do, often) that your voice is the most flexible and powerful communication tool you own, especially when you use my 5 Key Tools of Vocal Dynamics. By using your voice with knowledge and control, you can profoundly persuade and influence listeners. Here are seven ways you can do so, while being unforgettable in the bargain:

1. Vocal Energy. All performance needs to be a step up from the ordinary and everyday. It needs size . . . and it needs energy. You have to be bigger. Many stage actors could tell you that it's common for people to come up to them after a performance (whatever their actual height) and say, "You looked taller on stage!" When you're ready to speak, start ramping up the energy. You need your voice—which means your presence—to be strong enough so that it reaches the audience and bounces back to you. Low-energy speeches usually fail, period.

2. Breath Control. Do you breathe deeply enough to speak in public? (By the way, if you have stage fright, here is how breathing can help you control your fear of public speaking.) Modern life makes us shallow breathers. How much air do I need to send my voice from New York to New Delhi when the microphone in my cell phone is only inches away? Exhaled air from your lungs vibrates the vocal cords in your larynx, producing the sound waves that listeners hear. The larger your reservoir of air, the more powerful your voice. So, get that belly breathing working!

3. Pitch Variety. As human beings, we respond to variety, not sameness. For instance, an unchanging visual field lulls us into inattention. It's why you shouldn't stare at the white lines on the highway. The same is true in terms of sound. We call a voice that doesn't change its pitch monotonous, because of that "mono" quality. If you speak like that, you'll put people to sleep rather than energizing them! Allow your voice to rise and fall through inflection. Fortunately, this skill comes naturally when you're not self-conscious. Listen to yourself when you're emotionally engaged, and you'll hear how varied and interesting your voice becomes.

4. Allowing the operative words of your thoughts to be clear. We write in sentences, but speak in ideas and thoughts, which is why reading a speech can sound odd. "Operative word" means the word or phrase that drives the meaning of the idea. And people need to hear it! If you say, "We have the people and products to be THE WORLD LEADER in our industry!those three words need to stand out. And be aware of this: When you read something silently, you emphasize certain words in your mind. As soon as you say that exact text out loud, you'll discover that in speaking, different words need to be emphasized. Try it!

5. Resonance and Authority. Before anyone will listen to what you say, they must believe that you're a credible speaker. You need that authority. Some of that will come through your content, but just as much will be due to the nonverbal communication you're displaying. And that absolutely includes voice. Your voice needs to be both powerful and pleasant, while being invested with authority. How do you get those things going? You breathe deeply enough to create a big reservoir of air so you can project the sound (see #2 above) authoritatively. Then you work on creating a balance of authority and warmth, i.e., accessibility.

Want to project that kind of power? Download my Free Tips and Tricks GuideThe Voice of Authority: How to Sound Like a LeaderSpeak with the attributes of leadership!

6. That last point is all about the emotional connection you establish with your audience. Neuroscientists tell us that all decisions have an emotional component, since damage to the limbic or emotional system of the brain makes decision-making impossible. And that doesn't apply to only emotionally-based decisions; it involves even highly analytical ones. What does that tell us as speakers? It reminds us that if we don't create an emotional connection with listeners, we seriously undermine our ability to change their thinking in positive ways.

7. Shh! Do you use silence when you speak? Silences are powerful! A dramatic pause creates, well, drama—sometimes a thunderclap of it. But audiences need silence for other reasons. People need a pause just after you say something important to absorb it. Pauses during transitions allow folks to hit the refresh button in their brain. And we all know that nervous speakers tend to fly through their presentations due to adrenaline and because they want to get it all over with. Using silence effectively is a great way to demonstrate to everyone that you possess confidence, and that when you speak, you mean business.

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Red Season, by Gary Genard, Book #1 in the Dr. William Scarlet Mystery Series.

You should follow me on Twitter here.

Cropped headshot for Speak for Leadership back cover -- 8.30.21

Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking and overcoming speaking fear. His company, The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching  and corporate group training worldwide. He was named for nine consecutive years as One of the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals, and also named as One of America's Top 5 Speech CoachesHe is the author of the Amazon Best-Sellers How to Give a Speech and Speak for Leadership: An Executive Speech Coach's Secrets for Developing Leadership Presence. His book, Fearless Speakingwas named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." He is also the author of the Dr. William Scarlet Mysteries. Contact Gary here. 

Main photo credit: tiffanysalerno at


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