Boost Your Influence – Add Emotion to Your Voice

Speaking in a way that others are drawn to listening to what you have to say, is more than having a clear voice. 

Consider Pitch-Pace-Volume 

Pitch Variation: Don’t let your voice flatline. Varying your pitch infuses your speech with emotion and interest. Practice moving between high and low tones to maintain your listener’s engagement. Remember to relax, as when we feel tension and our bodies and throat area are tight, then our pitch can become higher.

Pacing: Your speaking speed can significantly impact how your message is received. Slowing down can underscore crucial points, while a quicker pace can inject excitement and urgency. Mix it up where relevant, for a more interesting sound.

Volume Control: Strategic volume changes can express enthusiasm or draw listeners in closer for a serious point. Mastering this can make your message resonate more powerfully. Aim to speak at a volume that is natural rather than straining, Use your diaphragm to boost the power and volume in your voice, never strain from the larynx.

It Takes Practice to Add Emotion in a Natural Way

Expressive Intonation: What you are aiming for is your pitch and tone matching the emotional content of your words.

Expressive intonation plays a pivotal role in enhancing the emotional depth and engagement of our speech, with rising intonation being a powerful tool for adding dynamism and interest.

Rising Intonation

Rising intonation, where the pitch of your voice increases towards the end of a phrase, is not just a question indicator but a versatile vocal technique that can significantly affect how our message is received.

It’s particularly effective in conveying curiosity, enthusiasm, or uncertainty, making it an essential tool in storytelling, presentations, and everyday conversations.

When we want to pique the audience’s interest, suggest possibilities, or express openness to ideas and feedback, employing a rising intonation can draw listeners in, inviting them to engage more deeply with the narrative or discussion. It signals that we’re posing a question, either literally or rhetonally, encouraging our listeners to think, reflect, and participate.

Mastering the strategic use of rising intonation allows speakers to add a layer of sophistication to their delivery, making their communication not just heard, but felt and responded to.

Falling Intonation

Falling intonation, where the pitch of the voice decreases towards the end of a phrase, is useful for conveying certainty, completion, or decisiveness. It’s often employed to deliver statements, commands, or to indicate the end of a rhetorical question, providing a sense of closure and clarity.

This intonational pattern can help your to assert authority, express firmness in your stance, or signal the end of a discussion or point. In your presentations using falling intonation effectively can give your words a weight of finality and assurance, making your message more compelling and authoritative.

For example, when concluding a presentation, you might say, “And that concludes our strategy for the upcoming year.” The falling intonation on “year” signals to the audience that you have finished your point and the presentation, inviting no further questions on the topic. It subtly communicates to the listeners that the information provided is reliable and definitive, enhancing the overall impact of your communication.

Practical Exercises for Adding Emotion to your Voice

Emotion Mapping Exercise

Adding emotion into your voice can significantly enhance the impact and connection of your presentations. An excellent way to begin this practice is through emotional mapping exercises.

These exercises involve deliberately planning and mapping out where and how to incorporate specific emotions into your presentation.

Here’s a structured approach to start practicing emotional mapping:

Step 1: Analyse Your Speech Content

  • Break down your speech into sections or key points.
  • Identify the core message or purpose of each section—what you want the audience to feel and take away.

Step 2: Identify Suitable Emotions

  • For each section or key point, determine the most appropriate emotion to enhance the message. Consider emotions like joy, sadness, surprise, anger, fear, and anticipation, depending on the content and desired impact.
  • Note that some sections might benefit from a mix of emotions to reflect complexity or development in your narrative.

Step 3: Emotional Scripting

  • Beside each section or key point, think about how you might express the identified emotion through your words, tone, pace, and body language. This includes selecting emotionally charged words, adjusting your vocal variety, and planning facial expressions and gestures.
  • Example: For a segment intended to inspire or motivate, add an increase in volume and pace, use uplifting language, and plan open, inviting gestures.

Step 4: Practice with Emphasis on Emotional Delivery

  • Run through your presentation focusing on the emotional script. Pay attention to how natural each emotion feels and how well it aligns with your message.
  • Record your practice sessions to listen and observe your emotional delivery and identify areas for improvement.

Step 5: Refine Your Emotional Map

  • Based on practice and feedback (from self-review or peer-review), refine your emotional scripting. This may involve adjusting the intensity of emotions, modifying your delivery techniques, or rethinking the emotions associated with each section.
  • Repeated practice will help embed these emotional cues into your natural speaking style.

Emotional Mapping in Three Parts

Imagine you have a speech divided into three main parts: introducing a problem, discussing its impacts, and presenting a solution. You decide to map your emotions as follows:

  1. Introducing the Problem: Use concern and seriousness to underscore the importance of the issue. Your voice is steady and lower in pitch, with pauses that let the gravity of the problem sink in.
  2. Discussing the Impacts: Shift to a mix of sadness and empathy to connect with the audience on a personal level. Your pace slows, allowing each word to resonate with emotion, and your facial expressions reflect genuine concern.
  3. Presenting a Solution: Transition to hope and excitement, signaling a positive change. Your pace quickens, your voice rises in pitch, and you use open gestures to invite the audience into the vision you’re presenting.

This structured approach to emotional mapping will help you deliberately integrate emotion into your speeches, making your messages more compelling and memorable.

Expanding Your Emotion Vocabulary

Increasing your emotional vocabulary is an invaluable strategy for enhancing communication and emotional intelligence. A rich emotional lexicon allows you to articulate feelings with greater precision, fostering deeper understanding and connection with others.

When you accurately convey the nuances of your emotions, it not only enhances your ability to express yourself but also aids in recognising and empathising with the feelings of others.

This clarity in communication can lead to more effective conflict resolution, stronger relationships, and an enriched personal and professional life.

Expanding your emotional vocabulary equips you with the tools to navigate complex emotional landscapes,  fostering emotional resilience, empathy, and a deeper engagement with the world around you.

An emotion word list is an invaluable asset for you as a speaker looking to inject more nuanced emotion into your voice.

By accurately naming and expressing your feelings, you create a stronger empathetic connection, drawing your listeners closer to your experiences and viewpoints.

Having a diverse array of emotion words at your disposal not only heightens audience engagement but also empowers you to communicate persuasively and foster an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect. Your speeches become not just heard, but felt and remembered.


Emotion Word List



  • Joyful
  • Elated
  • Content
  • Cheerful
  • Optimistic
  • Blissful
  • Enthusiastic


  • Melancholic
  • Sorrowful
  • Disheartened
  • Gloomy
  • Despondent
  • Mournful
  • Reflective


  • Irritated
  • Furious
  • Annoyed
  • Resentful
  • Indignant
  • Aggravated
  • Frustrated


  • Anxious
  • Terrified
  • Panicked
  • Hesitant
  • Worried
  • Apprehensive
  • Timid


  • Astonished
  • Amazed
  • Awe-struck
  • Speechless
  • Stunned
  • Shocked
  • Bewildered


  • Repulsed
  • Disdainful
  • Loathsome
  • Appalled
  • Horrified
  • Skeptical
  • Disapproving


Putting it Together – How to Use Emotion in Your Voice

  1. Understand Your Emotions: Begin by understanding the emotions you intend to convey in your speech. Grasp the nuances of each emotion and how they influence perception and interaction.
  2. Ensure Emotional Congruence: Make sure your emotional expression matches the content of your message. The tone of happiness or optimism may not suit serious topics, while overly cheerful expressions can detract from the gravity of your message.
  3. Embrace Vocal Variety: Use changes in pitch, volume, and pace to convey different emotions. Express joy with a higher pitch and quicker pace, and convey sadness with a slower pace and softer volume.
  4. Use Facial Expressions and Body Language: Align your facial expressions and body language with the emotion you wish to express.
  5. Share Personal Stories: Integrating personal stories that evoke specific emotions can powerfully connect with your audience. Draw upon personal experiences that reflect the emotions you aim to convey.
  6. Pause for Effect: Employ pauses strategically to let the emotional weight of your message sink in with the audience, enhancing its overall impact.
  7. Practice Emotional Delivery: Continually practice your speech focusing on the emotional delivery. Consider recording yourself, or working with a coach to refine your speaking voice.
  8. Seek Feedback: Obtain feedback on your emotional delivery from trusted sources or through video analysis to further hone your speaking skills.

Incorporating emotion into your speaking is a skill that enriches your message and connects more deeply with your audience. Through practice and awareness, you can master the art of emotional expression to make your speeches more impactful and memorable.


Lisa Evans is a Certified Professional Speaker and Accredited Coach, TEDx speaker coach, NLP practitioner, Neuro Leadership Institute Brain-Based Results Coach, Genos© Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, author, graphic recorder, broadcaster and podcaster. Unlock your speaking potential and establish a stand-out brand with a complimentary session. Book now to become an exceptional and successful speaker.  Let Lisa Evans be your trusted partner on your path to captivating storytelling and speaking success. Start your transformational journey today! If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat. Download my e-book – How to Build Confidence and Overcome Nervousness.
Lisa Evans

Professional Speaker