Sometimes the best way to get your audience’s attention for a key thought or idea is to turn your volume down. WAY down.
Notice that we aren’t suggesting you should deliver your entire presentation in sotto voce. You should always be concerned about speaking loud enough so your audience can hear you. But a magnificent idea delivered in a much lower volume is like a pitcher throwing a great changeup.
How do you decide when and where to use the “stage whisper”? We’re pleased to share that there is now a masters-level course available online to learn how a great presenter is able to use volume as a tool to keep an audience engaged. Best of all, this course is FREE—as long as you have Netflix…
We recommend sitting in your favorite chair and watching the new Aziz Ansari comedy special on Netflix entitled “Right Now” right now, or as soon as you possibly can. Ansari is definitely a skilled comic, and he takes on juicy subjects such as racism, aging, family relationships, living in the moment, and even discusses his experience after being accused of sexual misconduct last year. He’s funny, but there are some serious moments as well, and he often speaks from his heart in front of an audience hanging on every word.
Aziz is engaging, in part, because of who he is—one of the first Indian-Americans to achieve celebrity status. “You know who the first ever Indian-American was to appear on MTV? Me!” But perhaps the most engaging moments in his show are when he brings the microphone right up to his mouth, lowers his volume almost to a whisper, and gets serious. When he gets quiet, people listen very, very attentively.
He also pumps up the volume at other times, using the full range of his voice to hold our attention. It’s like he uses all ten settings on his amplifier (or 11, if you’re a fan of Spinal Tap).
Our point: no one should deliver their ENTIRE speech in a quiet voice. Nor should you constantly speak in your loud voice. It’s important to use your full vocal range as well as the other Fundamentals to make a great impact.
But when you drop your voice for a bit, it can be magical. Watch Aziz—you’ll get the point.