Black Friday: Your Tone of Voice Says It All

Earn Black Friday Bonus Points

Make sure you’re earning the +15 bonus points for this task! Here’s how:

  1. Choose one of the toolbox items mentioned in this article and then film a lecture paying particular attention to that element of your tone of voice.
  2. Share your lecture video by uploading it to YouTube and then posting the link in the Udemy Studio (or just uploading it directly to Facebook) with the hashtag #BlackFriday2015 by October 20. Be sure to tell us which toolbox item you focused on when you post. The community and our Instructor Team will offer feedback on how well you did!
  3. After you’ve incorporated any feedback, upload the lecture video to your course curriculum. You did it, you went for gold!

If you’re not a member of the Studio yet, apply to join here.

Tone of Voice

When your students decide whether they like you as a teacher (and therefore whether they like your course), there’s a ton of considerations baked into that opinion. These considerations largely have to do with the way you deliver your teaching. While your students may not actually break down your delivery style into individual attributes, it’s important that you as the instructor keep these attributes in mind when you record your lectures. In the previous article we discussed how important it is to be prepared on camera. Now we’re ready to jump into a slightly more nebulous but equally important attribute: tone of voice.

Your tone of voice says so much. It indicates how excited or passionate you are about the topic. It communicates how much authority you possess on what you speak. It can enhance your students’ comprehension with appropriate volume, emphasis, pausing, and inflection. This TED talk with Julian Treasure breaks tone of voice down into six elements: register, timbre, prosody, pace, pitch, and volume. Take a look at the video for a better understanding of exactly what makes up your tone of voice:

Tone of Voice Toolbox

  • Register: How high or low is your tone of voice? Are you talking through your nose, your throat, or your chest? Speaking through the nose can turn off your students, while speaking from the chest can signal power and authority.
  • Timbre: Record your voice and then listen to it. How does it feel? Is it smooth and rich? Or frantic and erratic? Practice your timbre!  
  • Prosody: Avoid speaking in monotone. You should also avoid repetitive prosody, such as ending every sentence like a question.
  • Pace: A fast pace can signal excitement. A slow pace (or even an intentional pause) can help emphasis key points. Use different pacing to your advantage!
  • Pitch: Pitch is one way to communicate emotions when you speak – are you feeling reserved, upset, happy, or excited? In your course, you’ll probably find yourself using pitch most frequently to communicate excitement. If you’re excited, so your students will be too.
  • Volume: Increased volume can also increase the enthusiasm of your audience, while a lower volume can be used strategically to make students pay attention.

Now check out this example lecture from instructor Len Smith. Notice how he uses variations in prosody, pace, pitch, and volume to effectively present his material.

Are you ready to give it a try? It’s time to film your own lecture video paying special attention to your tone of voice – just follow the steps at the top of this article. 

One thought on “Black Friday: Your Tone of Voice Says It All”

  1. Ramesha says:

    I’m glad Udemy raised this point about the voice. I’m a voice teacher and I recently published a course called “Conscious Communication” that teaches speakers how to use their voice correctly. Too often you hear great content delivered with poor tone of voice, so I’m glad that Udemy is tuning into this.

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