Improve your Voice

How to improve your voice quality when speaking

When it comes to influencing, your voice is one of the most powerful tools you have available in your toolbox to influence and changes people’s thinking when they listen to your speech. In this article I’m going to share with you seven techniques that will help you improve your voice quality, enhance your vocal delivery, and increase your ability to influence and persuade others when you’re speaking in public.



When speaking to an audience your goal is to find the vocal expression that matches your content and matches the needs of your audience and marry them together. You need to do this so that you have a range of vocal skills that you can choose from that will help you enhance and deliver a message which influences and persuades others.


Improve your voice quality with correct breathing

The obvious first step to improve your voice quality is to consider your breathing. Breathing is the foundation of a good high quality voice. Breathing starts with having the correct posture. Firstly, stand still and stand with your feet shoulder width apart and have a good solid posture with your shoulders back. Take deep breaths and when you’re speaking, speak as you breathe out. This will help you in a couple of areas from voice projection to comfort in using your voice effectively.

Breathing is your first fundamental area that you need to think about to improve your voice quality.



Secondly is volume. You need to speak at a volume which is loud enough to be heard, but not so loud that your audience feels that you’re shouting at them. You’ve got to adjust it according to the size of room and the audio qualities, such as microphones, that you have available in the room.

You need to consider varying your volume, because you don’t want to be speaking only at one volume level. If you’re speaking at a loud volume you need to soften it and lower the your volume from time to time. Softening it is really valuable when there are points that you want to potentially emphasise. If you’ve been speaking at a louder volume, when you want to draw the audience’s attention in, when you really want to get them thinking, start to soften the volume. Start to lower it so that you can get their ears and get their attention.

A good little tip, a good way of thinking about this is, for things that you’re excited, you’re happy about, this is where you lift the volume, and things that you disapprove of, you lower the volume. Excited and happy, you lift it up, you speak a bit louder. You lower it for things that you disapprove of.



Your pitch is the next aspect you need to consider if you want to improve your voice quality. Firstly, you’ve got to be aware of what your pitch is. Typically, men speak at a lower pitch and ladies speak at a slightly higher pitch, and that’s okay. That’s nature, that’s what it is.

What you need to be considerate of is what your pitch is. If you have an exceptionally high pitch or an exceptionally low pitch, you need to think about trying to find a middle ground. Either lifting it up or lowering it depending upon what it is. Regardless of what your pitch is, you need to vary it, you need to speak with a variety so you move it up and down to keep an audience’s attention and keep their ears engaged.

If you speak at the same pitch all the way through your speech, it will eventually become monotone, whether it’s high, low or in the middle. So look to vary it.

Ultimately, think about what you do in a day-to-day life. When you’re conversing with friends, with family, with colleagues, you will find there that you naturally vary your pitch so you want to be looking to mimic that and replicate that when you speak to larger audiences. Make sure you’re consciously choosing and finding ways to vary your pitch, is really the fundamental thing to think about in this section.


Use Speaking rate to improve your voice quality

Understanding and varying the rate at which you speak is crucial to improve your voice. Somewhere in the range of 120 to 180 words is a comfortable range for you to speak. That’s what you want to be maintaining throughout your speech. This has two benefits. It allows you to easily prepare a 10-minute presentation, because you know you just have to do 10 times whatever your speaking rate is. So that’s a great way for you to project and know how much content you need to prepare.

Like Pitch and volume your speaking rate needs to be varied. If you speak at an average of 120 words a minute, you’ve got to find ways to life it up and vary it from time to time so that you speak maybe 130, 140 words for a period and then drop back to a more natural rate. Whatever it is, look at using your speaking rates to help provide your presentation a new “interest” factor.

You can also look to increase your speaking rate to emphasise key points, or you can look to drop it back. If you’re at the 120 words per minute, I would look to increase your speaking rate to emphasise key points. If you’re at the 180 end of the spectrum look to lower it and slower it so that you can speak and emphasise key points, so you provide that differentiation. Again, it’s variety that’s providing the impact here, so be conscious of your rate and be conscious of what you want to emphasise with your key points and key ideas.

Improve your voice quality with Silence

The most powerful sound in public speaking is actually silence. When you stop, when you allow no sound to come out of your mouth, when you allow this pause to happen you allow your audience the opportunity to really digest t what you have just shared with them.

This is really powerful in terms of influencing and persuading your audience when you have shared that key idea, that key message, that thing, that idea that you want them to do. You want to pause at the end of it. This does two things. Firstly, it allows them to think about what it is you’ve just said, and it draws in and emphasises that point. That point becomes really embedded and burned into their brain and into their thoughts.

Leverage pausing after every key idea that you’ve shared. Every major point that you want your audience to think about, pause, just for one or two seconds. That pause there will allow them to digest your thoughts.

Please leverage the most powerful sound in speaking and it will dramatically increase your ability to influence your audience.


Filler Words destroy your credibility

Where most people fall down in trying to pause is that they use filler words, such as ums and ahs, rather than allowing the silence to envelop the audience. It is critical for you to eliminate filler words. They destroy your credibility. They destroy your authority and presence.

When you are presenting to an audience, if you are filling in every “silent” gap in your speech with um, ah, hmm you are projecting the image of someone who is not confident about their message.

It is not just Um’s and Ah’s. Think about other words that you use frequently when you speak. Whether it’s “basically”, “actually”, “literally”, or a favourite of my children, “seriously”. Look at those kinds of words, phrases and sounds that are coming out and eliminate them. They destroy your credibility. They destroy your authority and they ultimately distract your audience because that’s all your audience hears, because they are the most repetitive sounds and words that are coming through in your presentation.

Work hard to eliminate them. If need be find a friend, find a colleague that can count them and pay attention to them for you, so at the end of your presentation, as you develop this skill you start to understand that you’re starting out with 20 ums and ahs, and then you can reduce it down and be conscious of it.

Make a concerted effort to reduce the ums, ahs, and all the other filler words so that you don’t destroy your credibility and authority in the process.

Enunciate every word

Finally, you need to clearly enunciate your words. Make sure that every word that comes out of your mouth is clear. Articulate it properly. You can do this by practising those words that you may be having challenges with, that are struggling to get out of your mouth, by speaking them loud, reading them out loud, and really making a conscious effort to say the last sound that forms the word. Make that effort there and you will see a marked improvement in your ability to enunciate your ideas.

We’ve covered seven simple ways that you can start to improve your vocal authority, your vocal influence, to really leverage that most powerful tool in your toolbox, your voice. When you can leverage it properly, when you can incorporate pauses, enunciate your words clearly, look at your rate, your pitch, your tone, and how you delivery your voice through your volume, you will see a marked improvement in your ability to influence and share your ideas with others.


If you want more advice, more help; why not check out the Public Speaking Skills Academy. I’ve got a range of great free articles that will help you on your ability to speak in public and become the trusted authority and leader in your field. There are some great online programmes that are available to you from my self-training programme through to my online mastermind group. Check them out at the

About The Author

Mark Kyte

Mark Kyte is a public speaking mentor and founder of the Public Speaking Skills Academy. Mark loves helping clients achieve dynamic results that help them increase their influence and get more clients. Read more of his blog and if you like what you see check out the mentoring programs.