6th Grade - Using Volume, Pitch And Tone In Oral Presentations

Oral Presentations
Using volume, pitch and tone in oral presentations
Use effective rate, volume, pitch, and tone and align nonverbal elements to sustain audience interest and attention.
Be able to deliver oral communication with effective vocal and nonverbal techniques.

Sample Problems


What is oral communication? (spoken words)


What is rate? (the speed of speech)


What is volume? (the sound level of speech)


What is pitch? (the quality of sound, e.g. high, low)


What is tone? (the emotional quality, e.g. sad, funny, angry)


What are the “nonverbal” elements of spoken communication? (posture, gestures, facial expression, etc.)


Why is it helpful to use rate, volume, pitch, tone, and nonverbal communication effectively? (these add to the comprehension and emotional impact of a speech by keeping the audience’s attention)

Learning Tips


Think back to teachers you have had over the years and try to remember one who seemed to make the material interesting. What did he or she do to maintain your interest?

Now recall one in whose class many students fell asleep from boredom. What was it about his or her speaking style that made class hard to follow?


Read this speech to yourself, looking up any unfamiliar words.

Barack Obama

2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address

"The Audacity of Hope”

(PDF at http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/PDFFiles/Barack%20Obama%20-%202...)


Read it out loud with what you believe to be the appropriate pitch, feeling, and tone. What words do you emphasize? When do you pause? When does your voice get louder? Softer?


Now stand and read the speech again, using the posture and gestures you think would be appropriate for the situation (supporting a presidential candidate and inspiring faith in the Democratic party). Would you stand behind a podium, sit on a chair, walk around a stage? Would you make eye contact with your audience? Would you look around the crowd? How would you use your hands?


Now watch the speech at http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/convention2004/barackobama2004dnc.htm.

Many people believe this was one of the greatest political convention speeches ever delivered. It made Barack Obama into a household name. What do you think was so good about this speech and the way he delivered it?

Extra Help Problems


How do rate, volume, pitch, tone, and nonverbal elements help sustain audience interest and attention?


As a speaker, what can you do to use rate, volume, pitch, tone, and nonverbal elements help sustain audience interest and attention?


Write a text you will speak aloud with a humorous tone, like a funny story.


Write a text to speak aloud that is designed to make people feel moved to tears, such as a eulogy (delivered at a funeral.)


Write a text to speak aloud that is designed to make people feel inspired, like the story of someone (or yourself) overcoming great difficulties.


For one of the texts, write in notes to yourself about rate, volume, tone, gestures, pauses, etc.


Read and watch Hillary Clinton’s 1995 speech at the United Nations World Conference on Women at http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/hillaryclintonbeijingspeech.htm and answer the following questions. Use the Internet to help you if you need it.


Speech Analysis Questions


A. Who was the speaker?

B. Where was the speech given?

C. When was the speech given?

D. Who was the audience?

E. What is the speaker trying to accomplish?


A. What were the important points that were to be made?

B. What information did the audience need?

C. What attitude did the speech convey?


A. Did the speech have a clear beginning, middle, and end?

B. Did the speech contain repetition?

1. If so, what was the effect of the repetition?

2. If not, where would repetition have been useful?

C. Did the speech contain parallel structure?

1. If so, what was the effect of the parallel structure?

2. If not, where would parallel structure have been useful?

D. Was the vocabulary appropriate? Explain your answer.

E. Was the sentence structure appropriate? Explain your answer.


A. What first impression did the speaker create?

B. How was the dress and appearance of the speaker appropriate to the speech?


Now answer these same questions about your own speech and revise if necessary.


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