Create a Charismatic Speaking Voice: 5 Steps

Ed Darling
7 min read

What you’ll learn:

  • Why your voice is vital when public speaking.
  • The trick to slowing down your speaking pace.
  • How to move from monotone to melody.
  • Understanding breathing and the voice.
vocal variety and your public speaking voice

Your speaking voice, speaks volumes.

If you’ve ever heard an unhappy person smile and say “I’m fine!” – you probably knew otherwise because of their tone of voice.

Actors amd orators have long known the importance of your “vocal instrument”

It can make or break a speech.

While it’s important to use the right words, structure, and body language – it’s your speaking voice that instills trust, and creates emotion.  

If you want a voice that sounds credible and charismatic, you need to know how to use it.

So let’s look at five simple yet powerful ways to improve your public speaking voice. 

Doing so will enable you to connect with people on a deeper level, and keep your audiences hooked.

Let’s go…

Increase your speaking volume by 20%.

If people can’t hear you, they won’t listen. 

Volume might sound like an obvious point, but it’s one of the first vocal areas that inexperiened speakers often get wrong.

A quiet and softly spoken voice might work 1-2-1 or in small groups, but it wont allow you to command a room.

Low volume is especially prevalent amongst anxious speakers. If you’ve grown up being shy and speaking quietly, projecting your voice can feel like you’re shouting. 

But in fact, speaking with more volume is one of the quickest ways for an anxious speaker to begin feeling more confident. That’s because increasing volume reduces the nervous “tells” in your speaking voice, such as high-pitched tones or trembles.

Speaking with volume and articulation:

Upping the volume forces you to articulate your words, and to breathe deeper into the diaphragm. 

For those in the “quiet club”, I’d typically recommend speaking with 20% more volume than you usually would. Before long this volume will become your new normal. As well as sounding more confident, you’ll feel it too.

For more advanced speakers, aim to use moments of both high and low volume for maximum engagement.

Speaking loudly to immediately capture attention or emphasise a specific point.

Speaking quietly to slowly draw your audience in, building a sense of intrigue as your voice drops to a whisper. 

Playing with volume can add a huge amount of charisma to your public speaking voice. At a minimum, always speak loud enough to be comfortably heard by everyone in the room.

charismatic speaker scorecard

Discover Your Charisma Score!

The Charismatic Speaker Scorecard benchmarks your ability to speak in an engaging way, and identifies opportunities to improve based on three key areas:

  1. Confident Mindset
  2. Compelling Content
  3. Engaging Delivery


Find your perfect public speaking pace.

Pacing is a common problem for the “fast talkers” amongst us.

These are people who rush through every sentence, barely stopping to take a breath or look up at their audience. 

It’s often the result of nerves and anxiety, making the speaker rush to finish and sit down.

But it can also come from a life-time of being interrupted – teaching you that speaking fast is the only way to be heard. 

Either way, the impression the audience gets is that you’re unprepared, or unconfident.

If you want to be listened to, you must learn to slow down.

Start practising this by slowing down your speech by as much as 30% when talking with friends, family or colleagues. 

That doesn’t mean frustrating everyone by taking forever to get your point across (which happens when you swing too far in the other direction). 

It just means allowing yourself time to pause, to breathe, and to elongate your words when speaking. 

We live in a world where the majority of people speak quickly — and it’s natural for us to imitate those around us. 

But with practice, you can learn to consciously slow down your pace, and speak with more composure and authority.

An extra tip on speaking pace:

Different situations require different pacing, so work on reading the room and adjusting accordingly. If you’re explaining something new or important, slow down your pace to increase understanding. 

If you’re covering known-ground, increasing your pace can show professionalism and an appreciation for everyone’s time. 

Ditch the vocal fillers, develop the pause.

Erm, so, like, well… you know?

When it comes to “credibility killers”, filler words are the official worst offender.

You’ve probably heard someone overusing them in a speech or presentation. 

Once noticed they erm, become well, just like… kind of distracting!

But the question is, do you notice when you use them?

Filler-words (or sounds) happen for many reasons. When we’re rushing, when we’re under prepared, and when we feel nervous. They also happen purely out of bad verbal habits that we’ve fallen into. 

It’s one thing to start every sentence with “like” in a conversation with friends, but another when you’re speaking in a professional situation.

Stop filler-words with self-awareness:

Most people have no idea how much they fall into the filler-word trap, so you must start by listening to yourself and noticing which fillers you use. 

Then, as you start to catch yourself in the act – the next stage is to swap them out for something new.

Like any habit, it’s easier replace it with something else, than to simply stop it all together. Instead of using filler-words, begin replacing those moments with a pause. 

Pauses give you time to think in the same way saying “uhhm” does. But with the added benefit that the audience will think you’re more credible, more interesting, and more enjoyable to listen to.

Become aware of your fillers, then replace them with a well timed pause.

Here’s an more in-depth guide on eliminating your filler words.

Move your public speaking voice from monotone to melody.

There’s a reason why lengthy zoom meetings put us to sleep:

Chances are, most people are speaking in a monotone speaking voice.

Monotone – literally meaning using one tone, one note – is the monotonous monologues that make us tune out and switch off.

Have you ever wondered why your favourite podcast or radio show doesn’t have the same effect? 

It’s because trained communicators understand the power of melody.

Melody is the antidote to monotone. Having melody means using the full range of highs, mids and lows that the instrument of your vocal chords are able to create.

The best communicators have perfected this, and are able to keep people listening and engaged.

Imagine Mozart playing beautiful symphonies, vs. the average Joe hitting a single key over and over.

Add more melody to your speaking voice:

Fortunately, adding more melody to your speaking voice doesn’t require you to be a musical savant. 

Start by listening back to a recording of your voice. 

Notice where you’re getting stuck in a monotone voice. Then work on adding more melody. If you need inspiration, listen to your favourite speakers and emulate them. 

The voice really is an instrument, and adding melody is how we play it fully.

Ready to feel confident while speaking in public?

Join our next 1-Day Public Speaking Masterclass

More air in, better speaking voice out.

To understand how important breathing is when speaking, try this exercise.

  1. Blow out all the air from your lungs.
  2. Keep going until your abdomen is completely pulled in.
  3. Then try to say something.

You’re going to hear a raspy croaky sound where your normal, lovely speaking voice should be.

That’s because all sound requires oxygen. The vibrations we make must be carried on a flow of air which is being pushed out of our diaphragm, and vibrating in the ear-drums of our audience.

So when it comes to public speaking, breathing is pretty important.

But you’d be amazed at how many speakers literally forget to breathe!

They get stuck trying to communicate in that same croaky voice. Barely audible, and looking like they’re about to pass out. The reason for this is also usually down to excessive nerves. 

The rush of adrenaline makes your abdomen tight, and your breath shallow.

Not only does this constriction of air leave us feeling even more anxious, but it prevents us from actually producing enough sound.


Improve your speaking voice through breathing:

If you’re the type of speaker who finds themselves gasping for breath and croaking on the podium, you have to build the habit of proper breathing. That means deep diaphragmatic breaths that make your stomach rise and fall.

To test this, try placing one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Then breathe for a few minutes however you normally would.

If you feel your chest rising and falling with each breath, try to slow and deepen your breath until the chest remains still. You should begin to feel your stomach rise and fall as your breathing is corrected. 

This slow, relaxed breathing is what we’re aiming to maintain when speaking. 

In order for that to happen – even when the nerves kick in – it has to become a deeply embedded habit. 

So take time to practise correct diaphragmatic breathing for a few minutes each day. And when you’re talking with others, hold some attention on your stomach to notice your breathing as you speak.

We were all born knowing instinctively how to breathe, but the stress of modern life has got most of us doing it wrong.

Learn to slow your breath, and your speaking tone of voice will naturally improve.

Developing your public speaking voice.

When it comes to communicating effectively, your voice is key. 

The sounds we make allow us to influence, engage and connect with people emotionally.

But they can just as easily kill our credibility, and switch people off. 

The vast majority of people don’t use their voice properly. If you listen closely, you’ll hear them making all of the mistakes highlighted above!

But here’s the good news:

That means the voice is an untapped resource you can utilize to catapult your charisma to the next level. 

Now you know the major vocal issues and how to avoid them, it’s time to begin speaking in a way that makes people listen. 

Keep practising, keep building awareness, and learn to love your public speaking voice.

charismatic speaker scorecard

Discover Your Charisma Score!

The Charismatic Speaker Scorecard benchmarks your ability to speak in an engaging way, and identifies opportunities to improve based on three key areas:

  1. Confident Mindset
  2. Compelling Content
  3. Engaging Delivery