How to be a Charismatic Speaker



I was fascinated to read a recent article in the Wall Street Journal in which the secrets of the charismatic voice were revealed.

Scientists at the University of California have been analysing vocal harmonics of pitch, wavelength, frequency and tonal quality to find out how speakers influence their audiences.

They were surprised to find that successful politicians in various countries all shared some key vocal qualities and this was independent of the words being used, or the language being spoken.  I have always known that the voice has the power to persuade and enthuse.  Obviously, some people are born with the magic quality that makes them charismatic, but for the rest of us, voice researchers are confident that some of the required acoustic elements can be taught.

Dr. Rosario Signorello, an acoustic scientist at UCLA, said “You have the capacity to shape your voice in a way that makes people perceive you as a leader.”

So, what did the research find out?  That the most charismatic voices were those that moved about a lot, in other words they used the full range of their MODULATION.

This is a recipe which includes:

  • PITCH variations
  • PACE variations
  • INFLECTION glides
  • INTENSITY of volume
  • TONE colour variations

The quality of vocal variety in PUBLIC SPEAKING can be especially influential in politics and business.  It was found that voters tended to favour candidates with deeper voices and that CEO’s with lower-pitched voices typically ran larger firms and made more money.  Generally, someone speaking in a low-pitched voice was always thought of as big and dominant while someone speaking in a high voice was seen as small and submissive.  When speaking to larger crowds leaders stretched their voices to extremes with a wide range of frequencies.


So what can you do to achieve a more CHARISMATIC sound?

Find out how you sound by recording yourself.  Do you stay on a narrow band of notes or does your voice sound as if you are playing a musical tune?
Become more aware of how others sound.
Make a conscious decision to show more emotion through the words and play around    with your vocal scale:

  • How HIGH can you go?
  • How LOW can you go?

If you find it hard to judge, ask someone else or get a professional opinion.

Dr. Signarello said “The voice is a TOOL that can be trained.  Singers and actors train their voices to reach higher or lower frequencies.  A leader-speaker should do the same.”

I’m sure I have given you some food for thought.  If you would like to read the whole article you can find it HERE.

I’ll be back with some more fascinating facts on the VOICE next month.  ‘Till then….

Speak wisely

                Speak well

                        Speak Loud & Clear!

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Twitter: @VoiceExpert

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