Mickey looking at camera and pointing into it. Text overlaid: “Be a Superstar Speaker!”

How to Speak to a Group: Energy and Voice

Do you want to captivate an audience or group every time you speak? Let’s break into the secrets of using your energy and voice to be a Superstar Speaker!

What’s Your Gut Telling You?

First, ask yourself: How can your nervous energy—those butterflies in your stomach—become your best ally on stage? Let’s dive into some concepts first, then get back to our guts!


Let’s figure out how to turn your “speech” from an information delivery mechanism into an experience that inspires, persuades, educates, and entertains!

There are some crucial to great speaking, and we’ll explore how your Energy can invigorate your persona and your charisma, and how your Voice can command attention and make your message memorable.

We’re going to Rev it up! …and modulate.

Is This Thing On?

Have you done a presentation for a meeting at work, or maybe given a talk at a conference, and you find yourself starting to rush, trying to finish before too many people fall asleep?

A lot of us have—or have had—the same hurdles: Nerves that flatten us, or we get so focused on getting every word of our talk right…that we fall into a monotone of remembrance.

Either of these alone can be super-speaker kryptonite, but usually they travel as a pair, hitting you from both sides.


Let’s plug into energy, first. As long as we’re using a “plug in” metaphor, think of a live audience as a live wire, plugged directly into the wall. If it’s not properly channeled, you’ll end up fried and die on stage. (Not literally.)

For most of us mortal human beings, the time right before going out on stage or in front of a sizable group at a company is a time of stress! The body responds by dumping a surge of norepinephrine into our system, priming us to naturally boost adrenaline and excitement. We often feel afraid, because that sensation is part of the body’s fight-or-flight response. The important part is not to be afraid of the feeling. When you channel that, it becomes your own personal super-speaker serum!

Image from https://sanescohealth.com/blog/noradrenaline-or-norepinephrine-hormone-or-neurotransmitter/

Those are the butterflies! They’re not just nerves, they are our performance allies—potential energy waiting to be unleashed! They feel like fear, but they are instead adrenalizing us to go over and above our normal mortal selves! They can help make us seem larger than life!

At the other end are online meetings and videos. Those are battery-powered, and you need to charge those up before you fly. There are a bunch of ways you can do this, but two of our favorites are:


Exercise! Do some jumping jacks, high-knees, push-ups, burpees—anything (attire-permitting) that gets the blood flowing! This gets your heartrate up, expands your lungs, and gets your body’s natural movement into the game.

The other is, psyching yourself up. Tell jokes, talk to the computer or camera or that photo of your family. Go crazy before you enter a remote call or hit “record” on your camera!

When it comes to video, they say the camera adds ten pounds. What they don’t tell you is that it subtracts half your energy! If you feel like you’re going over the top, you’re probably right where you should be.

Now that you have all this energy, what can you do with it?


Onto the power of your Voice!

There are three techniques that everyone can use to make what you say more memorable.

1. Volume: Commanding Attention

Volume comes in two packages: Having enough of it, and changing it up. Getting enough of it is “projection,” and we’ll go into that in another article.

Varying volume to engage and emphasize is dominating with decibels. Most of the time, you are speaking at your regular volume—which is not coincidentally how we in part define “regular volume”—but you can speak more quietly to “make” them lean in—figuratively or even literally—or explode with volume to drive home something important.

2. Pitch: Adding Expression

Rising and falling pitch convey emotion. A high pitch communicates excitement and urgency, while low pitches lend seriousness and gravitas to your words.

When you speak effectively, you frequently alter your pitch to impart those emotional beats—but also to keep your speech from sounding monotonous. You want always to be dynamic and engaging, not boring and forgettable.

3. Pace: Controlling the Tempo

The speed at which we speak is usually more consistent than the other speaking techniques, though it’s still something that we don’t leave too static. Our baseline speaking tempo is one that moves fast enough to maintain momentum while remaining slow enough to be well-understood. Speeding up slightly can give a sense of enthusiasm and energy, while slowing down stresses important points.

3.5 Pauses: Creating Emphasis

In the realm of tempo there are also: Pauses. You can either use them to create anticipation (or annoyance), or you can stop speaking for a few beats after an important or emotional point to allow your audience time to digest and reflect on it.

Pauses are space, and space between what is said can have as much power as the highest volume of your speech—in some cases, even more.

Combining Techniques

Together, these are how we modulate our speech—give it variety and depth. They form the building blocks, the “tone” of our speech—both overall, and at each point within the larger whole.

Overusing any of these is the just as bad—or worse—than using none of them at all. An entire speech delivered slowly at high volume is as boring and hard to follow as one said quietly and in a monotone.

When we combine them, though, we have ultimate power!

Emperor Palpatine, from Star Wars, with lightning bolts shooting from his fingertips.

Try stating the following, “The tortoise beat the hare,” with each of the following intonations:

  1. Loud, high, and fast
    This will sound extremely energetic – lend a sense of amazement, surprise, or something sensational.
  2. Quiet, low, and slow
    This would convey something that is important and exclusive.
  3. Loud, low, and slow
    Use this at a critical point of a speech, like the climax of a sermon.
  4. Quiet, high, and slow
    This can sound humorous or instructive, like the “moral of the story..”

Quivering Quaver

One final point about voice: Don’t worry your nerves make it quaver slightly. Most people won’t even notice, and since there’s little you can do about it in the moment, allow it to provide color and uniqueness to your delivery.

Pretend you are an opera singer deigning to favor the audience with your august presence.

Tell Your Story

These techniques are impactful because they tap into basic human communication expectations. People love stories and storytelling, and good stories build…and decline, climax…and resolve. People remember stories, and injecting and investing your energy and wrapping your voice around your message and your listeners can help them enjoy and keep what you say to them.

These are a big part of how you turn a “speech” from an information delivery mechanism into an experience that inspires, persuades, educates, and entertains!

Can you see what I’m saying?

Much of this message is greatly enhanced by hearing the examples. Check out the associated video:

How to Speak to a Group: Energy and Voice

There’s a whole lot more to say about speaking. So listen up, Superstars!

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