How vocal tones can improve your presentation

I recently wondered why almost all of the great speakers just happen to be male. There was really only one female that I could think of who stood out as a great speaker and that was the “iron lady” herself, Margaret Thatcher. But, did you know that when she became the country’s first and only female prime minister, she took lessons to make her voice sound more masculine?

Well, it’s true, and here’s the reason why –

Women have more vocal tones than men, and yes I know that sounds like an excuse of some sort, but really, it’s true. Women have five vocal tones whereas men have only three. So the effect of this is that women often have more expressive voices, and the pitch is more varied, which is why we get accused of shrieking and screeching more often and are often not taken seriously simply because we tend to talk in a higher tone.

But don’t fret, ladies, this can be used to our advantage when making a presentation, and we don’t need to take lessons like Mrs Thatcher. The reason she took lessons was because back in the time of her reign as prime minister there were far fewer women in high-profile positions, and 99 percent of the time in order to get ahead it was better to be male. So for this reason, she made herself as masculine in tone as she could get away with and basically only used the same tones as her male counterparts. This isn’t necessary today; woman can be just as prominent in the world of business, and we can use our voices to our advantage. Here’s how –

  • Just by raising the pitch slightly we can make certain points more interesting, lively and vibrant.
  • Lowering the pitch and talking a bit more slowly will emphasise serious points and make them easier to understand.
  • Using a balanced tone will make your presentation sound calm and professional.

So the trick is to recognise and use your normal conversational voice for the most part, but remember to use pitch to emphasise important and interesting points to maintain the interest of your audience.

Sharren Bessant


Published On: 4th Dec 2011

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Public Speaking,Speaking Articles ,

  1. This is interesting and beneficial… Thank you..

    naw 3 Feb at 9:17 pm
  2. it’s useful.thanks

    Anonymous 25 Feb at 4:41 pm
  3. well
    only Margaret thatcher? serious?

    Andrea 2 Mar at 9:46 am
  4. hey thats one of the most interesting facts i ever came accross.. its really useful..thanks

    Anjali 3 Mar at 7:26 am
  5. what is vocal tones

    razel salcedo 22 Jun at 7:14 am
  6. seriously true 🙂

    august 15 Dec at 1:35 pm