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Flat, monotone sound can be improved by adding three E’s – energy, enthusiasm and expression. Business people sometimes develop a flat, monotone voice from the misconceived notion that the more controlled they sound and behave, the more professional they will appear.

To add energy:

 Vary the pace. Monotone flat sounds can appear less so if you work at speeding up, slowing down, adding pauses.

 Get fit. The fitter you are the more energy you can generate without getting yourself all worked up physically.

 Check your breathing. Of course you are breathing, but is the sound nasal? A monotone voice is often weak because it uses less wind power. Practice deep breathing to increase your lung capacity.

To add enthusiasm:

 Believe that you are worth listening to and convey that belief to others, use words like amazing, awesome, fantastic...etc.
 WIIFM (what’s in it for me). Put your message across in a way which engages attention. When you see that they are interested, you too will become more enthusiastic.
 Add variety. Moving to another ‘base’, change the pace – it all helps to break up the monotony.

To add expression:

 Move your facial muscles. Make your face expressive. Practice in front of a mirror.
 Smile. The voice really does sound lighter if you look as if you are enjoying it. Of course, you would not want to grin throughout the presentation, but look as if you are enjoying the experience of presenting! Don’t let the corners of your mouth droop when you speak.

Adapted from – Branding Yourself by Mary Spillane. Published by Pan.

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