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Tone of voice and language

Watch educators talking about how they use tone of voice and lanugage to communicate efectively.

We convey meaning and hold people’s attention in lectures, presentations and ordinary conversations by how we use our voices, not just by our choice of words. Good communicators vary their vocal tone to suit both their audience and the subject matter that they are communicating.

In the video above, Bradley, a STEM Ambassador from Lear Corporation, and Sarah, a trainee teacher, talk about how tone of voice and use of appropriate language is significant in the way they work with young people.

Appropriate language and tone

The level of formality in the language we use also varies with the setting in which the activity is taking place and the age of the young people we are working with. For lectures or structured presentations such as talks in a school assembly, a style which is dynamic and rich in tonal range is more likely to capture and sustain the interest of an otherwise ‘passive’ audience.

In contrast, during a busy practical activity, using ‘calming’ vocal tones helps to manage the energy in the room, keep the young people focused on the purpose of their practical work and avoid any ‘silliness’.


Think about these descriptions of possible tones of voice and what audience responses each might produce.
soft / harsh / bright / monotonous / melodic / shrill / anxious / cheery / muffled / energetic / dramatic
Pick one of the words then share how that tone of voice may be effective and/or ineffective in particular volunteering situations.
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Volunteering in the Classroom: Communication Skills for STEM Volunteers

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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