Speech Study Guide

dynamic. The secret to delivering both an animated and conversational speech is sharing something people are passionate about. The passion will show through in the conversation and the gestures that are made as the speaker delivers the speech. 8.4 Vocal Characteristics Regardless of the type of speech, but especially critical for virtual speeches, vocal characteristics play a huge role in the delivery of the speech. Simply put, voice is the sound that the speaker produces using vocal organs. It is how a voice sounds and depends on pitch, volume, rate, and quality. The pitch of a speaker’s voice is the highness or lowness of the sounds produced. Most people speak at a pitch that is appropriate for listeners. However, speaking at an appropriate pitch is particularly important if the audience includes people with hearing loss. They may find it difficult to hear a pitch that is too low or too high. In normal conversations, pitch fluctuates frequently and perhaps more during a speech. Volume is how loudly or softly someone speaks. Speakers must speak loudly enough with or without a microphone to be heard easily by the audience members seated near the back of the room, but not so loudly to bother the audience seated at the front of the room. Speakers do not want to sound like they are shouting, however they want their words to be easily heard and understood. Rate is the speed at which people talk. Speaking too slowly allows the listener time to let their minds wander after they’ve processed an idea. Speaking too quickly, especially when sharing complex ideas and thoughts, may not give listeners enough time to process the information completely. Because nervousness may cause speakers to speak at a different rate than they would normally, it is important to monitor speaking rate. This is where practicing a speech in front of someone else will be helpful. Quality is the timbre that distinguishes a voice from others. A speaker’s goal in public speaking is to vary pitch, volume, rate, and quality to achieve a conversational and animated style that is both intelligible and expressive. Articulation is using the tongue, palate, teeth, jawmovement, and lips to shape vocalized sounds that combine to produce a word. Many people suffer fromminor articulation problems and therefore, have problems with pronunciation of words. Often, sounds are added where none appear (“warsh” for wash), are left out where one occurs, transposing sounds (“git” for“get”), and distorting sounds (“truf” for truth). Accent is the inflection, tone, and speech habits typical of native speakers of a language. When speakers misarticulate, or speak with a heavy accent during a conversation, listeners ask the speaker to repeat themselves to better understand. However, in a speech setting, audience members are unlikely to interrupt to ask for something to be repeated. This can be a major concern for second language speakers or speakers from various regions of a country. If a speaker’s accent is very different


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