Valuable Tips from Voice Expert Petra Berger: Intonation and Speech Melody (Part 2 of 3)

Welcome back to the current blog and video series with voice trainer and elocution specialist Petra Berger, who you already met at the mid May in a blog article and video on the topic of “Posture.”

Today we present the second part of the series – this time titled „Roarers, Barkers and Little Mice: How we create our image through speech melody.”

Have fun with the second part, Birgit

What impression do we make on others? And can we even influence this? Studies* tell us that the impression we make largely depends on appearance and voice. The first part of my BusinessMind blog dealt with visual demeanour (posture, countenance, body language).

Now to acoustics: here, the tone of voice is decisive for the first impression. It is pleasant to the ear when someone speaks in a soothing tone of voice, and the sounds are rich and pure. The second acoustic impression is speech melody, i.e. the messages conveyed via the so-called subtext.

Which speech melody do you prefer? The garrulous and monotonous ummm… statements? – Or sentences ending in insecure, high-rise terminals, in a nothing-is-sure way? Or the whining singsong of those „it’s not my fault“ whingers? – Or the harsh commanding barks of army chiefs who never use full sentences? I often do this: I leave the language aside and only listen to the sound. Try it sometime! The result is very interesting!

There is a basic melody underscoring the way each and every one of us speaks. And this basic melody defines our image. You can change the key, the rhythm, and the phrasing at any time and express yourself more clearly and to the point as a result.

A simple statement is a good training starting point. In German, it begins low, rises to the middle of the predicate, and goes back down at the point. If you keep your voice raised high at a possible end of sentence, you either say a comma, or a question mark. Try reading a newspaper article out loud, changing all the full stops to commas! The message will become disoriented and endless. No one will know anymore what you actually want to say. Question marks, on the other hand, question everything you say. You don’t really want either of these, do you?

Start consciously intonating your sentences at home first, alone in the bathroom, later in harmless small talk situations! You will not only achieve a more harmonious speech melody, but stricter thought discipline in your formulations. Speech thinking will be replaced by conscious statement. And this – by the way – will boost your credibility and your power of persuasion at the same time!

So: stop babbling, whining or barking! – Speak!

I wish you every success with this, and look forward to the next time. Warmest wishes, your Petra Maria Berger

* e.g. Forsa-Institut (for „Geo“, Germany, 1995)

At this point a huge thank you to Petra, too, because this series is a useful brush up for me as well! If you would like to learn more about this topic from Petra, then read Petra’s last blog article about “Posture” or contact her directly, e.g. for voice coaching! You won’t regret it!

Sunny summer greetings, Birgit