When it comes to public speaking and presenting, you need to think about your “pitch range”—the range of notes you give to your voice to keep your audience engaged, interested and motivated. Here’s a brief pitch range overview.
By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak
You’ve just arrived at a musical concert. You wait to be entertained by the musician.
The pianist arrives on stage and starts to play.
But he starts playing by using only two notes – C D!
You wonder what’s going on, you’re definitely disappointed and then, as the performance continues in the same vein, you become completely frustrated and you tune out entirely.
Now switch the focus from music to speaking.
If you want to engage an audience when you speak, you need to think of your voice as an instrument and you need to use your range of notes (pitch range) to connect with your audience.
If you don’t, you will simply bore the pants off our listener!
Using pitch range is necessary to get the audience to sit up and listen.
So firstly, how do we hear the pitch range (notes) in our voice?
Simply, start at your lowest note and just like a scale of a piano, hum gently and slowly up your vocal scale – the notes should be getting higher and higher! give it a go. This is easier to explain by doing than writing!
How do you use your pitch range – how do you make your voice an instrument?
I always think it’s useful to firstly think about the meaning of your message. What do you want the audience to think about and feel?
Once you decide on this, the emotion in your voice (be it interest, positivity etc.) will follow.
Pitch variety will follow once you are really thinking about, and connected to your message.
Two ways to vary pitch
- Going from low pitch to high pitch when stating contrasts.
- Build up your pitch in steps to build momentum.
Things to remember about sustained pitch
A sustained period of high pitch:
- Can put people on edge
- Can motivate your audience
- Can indicate sarcasm
- Can indicate light heartedness
A sustained period of lower pitch:
- Can be soothing
- Can indicate seriousness
- Can be boring!
What are you aiming for? Be sure to know what’s possible when you decide on your pitch and pitch variation for your talk.
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ConfidentSpeak is a specialist S.T.E.M Communications & Coaching Consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives at home and abroad. Contact us for details on our range of corporate/private programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.