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How To Sound More Interesting When You Speak

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When you speak, do people listen? If you want to sound more interesting when you speak then you've got expand your range so as to captivate your listeners. The problem is, most people think they'll sound fake or phony if they do this. In this video Joshua Seth (the voice of over 100 animated TV shows and movies) will show you how to sound better so people will respond to you better.

When you train your voice to sound better, people will respond to you better. The problem is, people think that they're going to sound fake or phony or inauthentic if they start speaking in a way that sounds different to what they're accustomed to.

Back when I was a voice actor, I used to talk like this all day in a recording studio. "Come on, guys, let's save the world!" And I would do all kinds of different characters and sound funny, because that was my job.

Then I'd actually go out into the world and people would ask me, "Why are you talking like that? What is your real voice?" And I didn't have a good answer for them, because I was so used to making weird noises with my voice, that I'd lost track of what my real voice was.

Most people have the opposite problem. Most people are so accustomed to locking themselves down to only speaking using a few notes in their vocal range, that if they expand it out, it just sounds weird.

Now I train speakers and leaders and sales people and actors how to use their vocal instrument more effectively. And ever since the pandemic, I moved those classes online. So I've been able to have a lot more repetition than usual. And what I hear over and over from my students when I ask them to do an alternative read or to read a script in a way that's just unusual or seems wrong is pushback, resistance. They don't want to do it. They're afraid of being judged as sounding weird or inauthentic.

It's not possible. This is your voice. This is your vocal instrument. Any sound that you make is real. Now, whether it's authentic or not, that comes down to a feeling that you have. And that feeling is based on what's normal for you.

Now, what's normal for someone like Bob Dylan is that every song he sings sounds pretty much the same. Bob Dylan has about four notes in his range, but somebody like Pavorotti can sing multiple octaves, four octaves, somebody like Mariah Carey can sing five octaves. So, where you are is probably somewhere between those two extremes.

It's up to us to be bold enough, playful enough, and willing enough to experiment with the way in which we speak to be able to expand our range beyond what seems normal to us.

What feels comfortable, and sounds authentic to our ear is limited by what we've heard in the past. Charismatic leaders know that if they expand every note in their range, and use them all in their speeches, speaking very high, and very low, very fast, and very slow, that it's going to captivate the listeners. And the same is true for you and me. So it behooves us to experiment with the way in which we speak.

The next time that you are preparing to give a presentation, do something weird, just when you're rehearsing. See what it sounds like with an accent. What it sounds like if you go real low, what it sounds like if you go really high. Mix it up a bit. Not because you're going to do that in front of people, but because you want to expand what's possible for you, and what seems normal to you in terms of your own range.

You can do this. All that's lacking is a willingness to make the attempt. Why? Fear of being judged, fear of people thinking, "Well that person sounds weird."

Get over it. It's okay.

What you want to do is take the vocal instrument that you have, and instead of just playing those few notes in the middle, expand it out, so that you're playing your entire range. That will make you a more effective communicator. It will make you a more dynamic speaker. It will suck in and magnetize the attention of the listener, because they can't get ahead of the music of your voice. They don't know where you're going.

It's the opposite of the economics teacher in the movie Ferris Bueller. You remember him? "Bueller, Bueller? Class, class." Every word the same, the pace, the volume, the intensity. Everything is exactly the same. And that's boring, right?

You want to be interesting.

A-I-D-A

Attention - Interest - Desire - Action.

Every salesperson knows this. Every speaker and leader should as well.

So, how do you get their attention? Be interesting. Is that through the content of your words or the style of your speech? Well, it's both, really, but mostly, communication comes down to your delivery. 

Whether or not people listen to you comes down to how interesting you sound when you speak, how well you resonate with them, how much of your energy and personality and enthusiasm is transferred from you to your listener. And that starts with being willing to expand what's possible when you speak.

So don't worry about sounding fake or weird or funny or inauthentic, just experiment.

Have fun with it. And then, when you come back to what's normal, you'll find that what is normal for you has now expanded. And the more you do this, the more range you will have, and the more effective a communicator you will be.


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Joshua Seth is the voice of over 100 other animated TV shows and movies (Digimon, Akira, Spongebob). He teaches sales and leadership professionals how to speak with influence, communicate with confidence, and create more meaningful connections with people by improving the way the use their voice.

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