Chapter 8. How the Signals Sound—The Voice

There is an old saying, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." Effective communication comprises infinite combinations of what we do with our gestures, body, location, voice, and breathing patterns. Now that you can easily recognize nonverbal patterns of gestures, let's look at the other nonverbal influences your body has and how they're intertwined.

With your voice, verbal communication is the words, and nonverbal is everything else. The common nonverbal components of voice include:

  • Tone: warm, cool, bored, upbeat.

  • Pitch: flat, low, high, ending up or down.

  • Emphasis: too much, too little, where it is placed.

  • Volume: too loud, too soft, just right, forced.

  • Speed: pacing, tempo, cadence, rhythm.

  • Culture: accent, pronunciations, slang, clichés.

  • Emotion: happy, sad, afraid, excited, nervous.

  • Facial expressions: smile, clenched jaw.

  • Clarity: mumbling, stuttering, enunciation.

  • Pause: make noise during, silent, length.

  • Breathing: shallow, rapid, comfortable, forced, hesitant.

Of course, this is just a partial list of all the ways you can change your voice. Most people think that it's just the voice box or larynx where the vocal chords are located that produces the sound, but your vocal chords are only part of the sound-producing process. You can use this process to your advantage to change the emotional quality and perception of your voice.

The action starts in your brain, since your sound often mirrors your emotions. If you are feeling positive, your ...

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