They say that variety is the spice of life and the same holds true for the voice which has color, those various and vivid effects in speech which give life to the voice. Good pacing, pause, force, duration, inflection, variety of pitch and your attitude characterize a truly dynamic speaking voice. Take the statement, He likes me, and by stressing a different word each time you say it, you will have three different meanings.
He likes me. (He of all the others)
He likes me. (He doesn’t dislike me)
He likes me. (Me from all the others)
Color is relative and has much to do with one's personality. One of the least colorful speakers I've ever heard is Henry Kissinger. His face is glum; his voice, brown, muddy, thick. As a guest speaker, however, he commands top dollar. Why? Because he's Henry Kissinger. With his background, wisdom and experience, boring is forgiven.
Not all movie stars exhibit a great deal of color in the voice either; however, their body language and facial expression often make up for lesser vocal variety and again serve for the personality or style of that particular actor. Whereas the former Secretary of State has a brown voice, Harrison Ford's color might best be described as gray: Ford's greatest strength is the emotion he shows in his entire body. Possessing a very rich, resonant voice, this actor reveals a gamut of feelings which he 'speaks' in his facial expressions and in his body.
In the movie The Fugitive, Harrison Ford had very few speaking lines; however, his every emotion, every feeling, every thought was manifested in his face and body language. When he reflected on his love for his wife, you felt it; when he hesitated in jumping over the falls, you knew his momentary indecision and fear.
Citing good facial expression and body language though is not an excuse to ignore color in the voice if you lack vocal variety or are a monotone, especially if you are making presentations. Lack of color in the voice in public speaking is called boring. There are many people I meet who are very colorful in conversation; but, when they stand in front of a camera or on a podium, their color often vanishes. Fear is the common cause. It is easy to recognize because the body becomes rigid, the face immobile, the voice high-pitched and fast, and the eyes glazed: nary a muscle moves.
You have it in you to speak in living color. It is easier than you think. Give yourself permission and then let it be.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic and discover the best means of adding some life to your voice and your delivery.