1. Correct breathing is the foundation of vocal quality (T/F)
  2. “Pitch” refers to the loudness or softness of one’s voice (T/F)
  3. On the average, most people speak at about 125-160 words per minute (T/F)
  4. “Resonance” refers to the richness and vibration of your voice (T/F)
  5. Vocal variety should be pre-planned and memorized (T/F)
  6. The voice is a delicate instrument that should be cared for (T/F)
  7. An audio recording device is a very useful tool to help improve vocal quality (T/F)
  8. Good articulation has nothing to do with effective enunciation (T/F)
  9. Reading children’s stories out loud with emotion provides good vocal training (T/F)
  10. High impact communication happens when listeners understand and feel the message (T/F)

Answer the above questions first, and then scroll down to see the answers!


Dr. Dilip’s Summer International Speaking Tour!

April 22:
Toronto, Canada – Toastmasters District 60 Conference Keynote

May 08:
Bangalore, India – One day Workshop: the Secret to Success & Happiness – Human Relations

May 08:
Book Launch of new book on Communication Excellence, with co-author, Kathiravan Pethi.

May 11:
Colombo, Sri Lanka – Listening Skills Workshop - Colombo Toastmasters Club.

May 19:
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Toastmasters District 87 Conference Keynote

May 19:
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia – Workshop on Communication Excellence

May 20:
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia – Sermon, Skyline Church

May 22:
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia – Workshop, Skyline Church



  1. T
  2. F
  3. T
  4. T
  5. F
  6. T
  7. T
  8. F
  9. T
  10. T



10 correct answers: High Vocal IQ. Congratulations!

0 correct answers: Your voice needs help … urgently.

If you scored less than 10, consider joining the Diamonds Club!

If you scored 10, consider joining the Diamonds Club to see what else you can learn!

Unleashing Your Communication & Performance Potential



Vocally Connecting with Your Audience



In the previous issues of this newsletter, we focused on essentials for speech writing and structuring your speech. Now let’s begin to address speech delivery! It so happens that we are in the middle of Toastmasters International’s speech contest season and some of my readers have requested me to address the question of what makes a speech “stand out” the way it is delivered.


What makes a well-written speech have a strong impact on an audience (what I refer to as High Impact Communication) is that the audience both understands and feels the message. A speech of good substance might be understood. A speech that is full of feel-good clichés and “fluff” stories (but no substance) may be felt but no lasting impact will be experienced. However, a well-constructed speech that is audience-centered and delivered so that it is both understood and felt will be a high impact speech. Most of the time, that is the kind of speech that wins speech contests. More importantly, that is the kind of speech that gives lasting value to an audience.


The speech that is understood makes sense to the mind. The speech that is felt connects with the heart. How does a speaker appeal to the heart? Let’s spend the remainder of this newsletter focusing on one of the most important tools for a speaker: The voice.


In order for you to tap the power of your voice, pay attention to the following three areas: vocal quality, emotion, and articulation.


Vocal Quality

The elements of vocal quality are:

Breath Support – How effectively you breathe and support the words that you speak

Pitch – How high or low your normal voice sounds

Resonance – The richness and vibration of your voice

Volume – The loudness or softness of your voice

Tone – This is a combination of breath support, pitch, and resonance


Breathing Naturally

We cannot possibly cover the above topics exhaustively in this newsletter, but let’s take a look at “breath support” because without breathing we cannot speak. One reason that some speakers’ voices get tired is because they breathe improperly. To breathe in correctly, contract the muscle that is called the diaphragm, which is located just above the stomach. When you do so, the stomach will feel like it’s being pushed out. When you breathe out, the diaphragm will return to its normal position and the stomach will feel like it is going in. A simple way to think of it is imagine that there is a balloon in your stomach. When you breathe in, the balloon inflates and your stomach area seems to move out. When you breathe out, the balloon deflates and your stomach area pulls back in. If your shoulders move when you are breathing in and out, that is a sign that you are using the wrong muscles. When you breathe, only the stomach area should register breathing.


Improving Vocal Quality

Think of your voice as a muscle. Like any other muscle, it needs exercise to improve its’ tone and increase its’ strength. Here are some simple and practical ways to improve your vocal quality:

  • Join a Choir. Regular singing practice will make your vocal muscles stronger and limber and will enrich the tone of your voice.
  • Read poems out loud and record them. Listen to the recording and then re-reread the poem, attempting to improve the quality of your vocal tone. Let the recording be an unbiased evaluator of your vocal progress.
  • Do not abuse your voice. Avoid shouting, screaming, screeching, and whispering. These are hard on your vocal chords and can have a negative impact on your voice quality. Prior to or the day before a speaking engagement, do not go to a sporting event where you are likely to scream and holler for your team.


The Secret to Great Vocal Variety

Vocal variety refers to the variation in speaking rate, volume, pitch, and emphasis. We know that a total lack of vocal variety is called “monotone” and is the death knell of a speech. Here is the secret to having great vocal variety: FEEL what you are saying! Every word you say has a certain “weight” to it. Feel that weight. Feel its’ vibrations. By some magical process, when you “feel” the vibrations and “weight” of the word, your mind sends a signal to your vocal chords, facial muscles, limbs, eyes, and the rest of the body and they fall into alignment with that feeling. It’s a mystery as to how this happens. You don’t have to understand it to make it happen. Just feel the power and impact of the words and let your vocal chords and body reflect that feeling. Your audience will get the message both intellectually and emotionally.


An effective way to measure and increase your vocal variety is to record yourself reading a favorite poem or a speech. Play it back and evaluate your vocal variety. Then read the poem or speech again with more feeling and evaluate your progress by playing the second recording. If you have little children to read to, you’ve got a tremendous opportunity to practice vocal variety. Read children’s stories to them! Throw yourself into the emotions of the story line. Your listeners will love it and so will you!


I invite you to listen to my speeches on You Tube and send me feedback on my vocal variety.


Next month we will look at how to increase clarity (articulation) and projection of the words you say.


If you found this newsletter helpful and would like more in-depth information directly from me, come join the Diamonds Club. Here is what you get from the Diamonds Club:


As a member, you will receive:

  • A weekly video training session on how you can become a more competent and confident public speaker. This will run from 8-12 minutes and you can play it as many times as you want to extract the maximum learning from it.
  • Free quarterly webinars, which will go into depth on public speaking skills as well as special communication topics that will help you reach ever-higher levels of knowledge and competence.
  • Receive an evaluation of your upcoming speech. Submit a video clip or script of a speech you are preparing to give. Receive expert feedback that will inform you about what you are doing well and receive practical tips on how to improve your presentation.
  • A Q & A Forum where you can submit your questions about public speaking and communication. Learn from the answers, not just to your questions, but also answers to questions posed by others.

You can hurdle time and money obstacles because for a low monthly fee, you can access all of the above 24/7! For more details and to sign up, click here.


Dr. Dilip Abayasekara
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Upcoming Events

April 16:
Speech Coaching (Chairman of the Board)

April 16:
Speech Coaching (CEO)

April 18:
Speech Coaching (Business Executive)

April 22:
Keynote, Toastmasters District 60, Canada

April 23:
Speech Coaching (CEO)

April 25:
Speech Coaching (Chairman of the Board)

April 27:
Speech Coaching (Business Executive)

April 28:
Speech Coaching (Preacher)

April 29:
Worship Leader, Camp Hill UMC

April 30:
Speech Coaching (CEO)

May 08:
Workshop (on Human Relations (Bangalore, India)

May 08:
Book Launch (Bangalore, India)

May 11:
Keynote (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

May 19:
Keynote (Toastmasters District 87, Malaysia)

May 19:
Workshop (Toastmasters District 87, Malaysia)

May 20:
Sermon (Skyline Church, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia)

May 22:
Workshop (Skyline Church, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia)

June 2:
Speech Coaching (Preacher)

June 4:
Speech Coaching (CEO)

June 7:
One Day Workshop, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ

June 8:
Half day Workshop, Service 1st, Middletown, PA

Quote to Think About

“There are two things that are more difficult than making an after dinner speech: climbing a ladder that is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.”
- Winston Churchill

You’ve heard it said, “There is an exception to every rule.” As a speech coach, I encourage my clients to enhance audience comprehension by using simple words and short sentences. However, there can be exceptions. In my opinion, President Abraham Lincoln’ supreme speech was his second inaugural address which was delivered on March 4, 1865 as the Civil war drawing to a merciful close. The last paragraph of his speech is one l-o-n-g sentence; but it is a beautifully crafted sentence with profound meaning:

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan -- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

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