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Chapter 28. Smashing the Sound Barrier > Loud, Louder, Loudest: Volume - Pg. 236

Smashing the Sound Barrier 236 Ditch the Fillers A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative." A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right." Go back to the tape recordings you made of your practice sessions. Play them back and listen to yourself carefully. Do you ruin the flow of your thoughts with annoying filler words such as "yeah" and "like"? If so, drop them now. They serve only to interrupt your thoughts and put off your audience. Because these annoying fillers are unconscious, you'll have to work on getting rid of them. As you practice further, make new tape recordings. Listen to each succeeding tape and see how many fillers you've been able to eliminate. Keep working on this until they're all gone. Loud, Louder, Loudest: Volume Probably the single most important factor in making your speech understandable is the volume at which you speak. The volume is the loudness level at which you speak related to the distance between you and the listener and the amount of noise that surrounds the listener. The farther away your listener is, the louder you must talk to be heard clearly. You make these loudness adjustments without thinking when you project your voice across wide distances, as when you call to a friend who is down the block. What speakers often forget, however, is that the same principle applies over short distances. Your own voice will always seem louder to you than to your listeners because your ears are closer to your mouth than your listeners' ears are. Beginning speakers may also forget to consider the effect of background noise on their ability to be heard. How can you determine the proper strength of voice to use to compensate for the distance and background noise? Some mechanical devices work quite well, but you've got enough stuff to carry around as it is. Instead, judge your volume by the reactions of your listeners. As you speak, look at the people in the back row. Do they appear to be hearing you clearly? If you have any doubts, ask them. Talk Soup The volume is the loudness level at which you speak related to the distance between you and the listener and the amount of noise that surrounds the listener. In and Out Normally, your lungs allow you to take about 18 breaths a minute, which provides you with the amount of air you need to breathe and speak. Protected by your ribcage, the lungs function as a bellows, pushing air in and out. At the base of your lungs is your diaphragm , a powerful band of muscle. You can use this knowledge to get more volume and voice projection.