Voice Skills

by Judy Apps

How to get people to trust you

You can sound untrustworthy!

So how does that happen?

If your voice has a flatness about it, you can sound as if you do not mean what you say, or even as though you are lying. Nerves can have this effect on the voice because, in making the effort to conceal your fear, you also dull down the sound of your voice. Keith Johnstone, the improvisation teacher, used to find this fear-based dullness in new recruits. He says that many students

...will begin an improvisation, or a scene, in a rather feeble way. It’s as if they’re ill, and lacking in vitality. They’ve learned to play for sympathy. However easy the problem, they’ll use the same old trick of looking inadequate. This ploy is supposed to make the onlookers have sympathy with them if they ‘fail’ and it’s expected to bring greater rewards if they ‘win’. Actually this down–in-the-mouth attitude almost guarantees failure, and makes everyone fed up with them.

Much the same feeble result is attained if you do not associate with the material you are talking about, but stand at arm’s length from it. The voice devoid of emotion or feeling sounds flat, uninteresting and even mendacious.

Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence.

Spanish proverb