To sound more positive
• Inject pace to create a business-like tone (especially if you know that you tend to be too slow), and remember to pause at relevant points so your listeners can absorb what you are saying.
• Be expressive. Deadpan is never dynamic. (Unless used for comic effect.)
• Visualise the outcome you want. If you really want the job, want to sell an idea or influence them all, visualise yourself succeeding. Do that whilst you prepare, do it while speaking. Your voice will sound more compelling, upbeat and you will sound as if you know your stuff.
• Gesture along with your words. Not every sentence or paragraph, but to emphasise key words. Using your body emphatically (gestures and controlled movements) will put you into ‘performance’ mode.
To sound more authoritative:
• Slow down at the important bits that you want them to take in and remember.
• Use pauses for the same reason. Pause before a really important statement and pause after it too.
• Emphasise special words or phrases. ‘Do you want to know why we can’t wait longer for this decision? This incorporates emphasis and a rhetorical question – both attention grabbers!
• Speak softly when you want to emphasise other points. Do this in conjunction with pauses, but don’t overdo it. ‘We are in a great deal of trouble.’
• Eliminate spacers such as ‘er’, ‘um’ and ‘actually’.
Adapted from – Branding Yourself by Mary Spillane. Published by Pan.