Your Pitch In Vocal Delivery


Imagine an opera singer in front of thousands of people who are just dying to hear the high-pitched melody she is famous for, only to hear her sing in falsetto. No matter how great she sounds, hundreds of people will storm off angrily because that is not what they expected to hear. Now, put yourself in the opera singer’s place, the only difference being that you are speaking instead of singing,  but it’s almost the same thing. Your pitch is basically how high or low your voice is, or how frequently you switch between the two.

What is the pitch?

Your pitch will determine if you are able to get your audience hooked from the beginning or if you’ll irritate them into leaving. It doesn’t matter if you are speaking at a zoom meeting or in front of a room full of people, you do not want to sound like you are on the verge of breaking all the windows around you with your voice. You want your pitch to be just right.

Using the right pitch is so easy that it doesn’t even need to be practiced. Your airways shouldn’t feel blocked and your throat shouldn’t feel itchy after just a few minutes. You should not strain to be heard. The right pitch is comfortable and feels like a part of you. The veins around your neck shouldn’t bulge and you definitely shouldn’t feel light-headed or out of breath. It is a speech, not a marathon race! The examples I gave above are only valid when you are sure that you do not have any underlying medical issue that prevents you from using the right pitch. For example, a cough or clogged nose might affect your vocal delivery, and that is understandable. What I am emphasizing here is those trying to force a pitch. It will never work!

Don’t fake it!

A fake pitch will always show its self. Imagine trying to hit Mariah Carey’s high pitch while singing, at some point you’ll run out of breath and start coughing. You might be able to pull it off for a few minutes but never for a long period of time. As a speaker, you want to find a pitch that feels comfortable for you. It should be as seamless as having a simple conversation. Adult males and females tend to have different pitch ranges because of the difference in their vocal folds and the sizes of their larynx. Female voices tend to be higher pitched and they have smaller vocal folds while it is the complete opposite for adult males. There are two factors to pitch in vocal delivery as far as speaking is concerned, and they are:

  1. Volume: When speaking as I explained above, you want to be sure that your voice is audible. You do not want your pitch too low, especially when you do not have the equipment to amplify it, or too high especially when you are in close proximity to the audience or have equipment that amplifies your voice.
  2. Expression: this is basically the meaning your pitch gives to certain words or statements and the emotions that can be derived from your pitch range such as anger, disinterest, and more.

Your pitch

Pitch range will vary from person to person. Your pitch should help convey different meanings such as surprise or to place emphasis on certain words and help differentiate a question from a statement. It is your pitch that helps you convey Irony or surprise and it can fluctuate severally (pitch c ) in your speech, sometimes even unconsciously. In general, there are four types of pitch changes and they are:

  1. Dipping Intonation: this is when your pitch falls, then rises when you speak. As in when you say; “How did you even do that?” You’ll note that your pitch falls when you say “how did you even…”, and then rises when you say “…do that?”
  2. Rising Intonation: this refers to a pitch that rises over time. It is commonly used when asking questions with yes/no answers, with statements of uncertainty, or expressing strong emotions like shock, anger, and joy. A rising pitch would also change a statement to a question. For example, “He did that.” becomes “He did that?”
  3. Falling Intonation: this is when your pitch continues to fall over time. It is most commonly used when commenting or making statements, asking Wh-questions, or expressing boredom.
  4. Peaking Intonation: this refers to a pitch that rises, then falls. For example, when offering someone a choice between two things, as in “this or that?” you would notice that the pitch falls on the last word. When you also call items off a list, your pitch tends to steadily rise, then falls on the last item.

Pitch Variety

Think of pitch variety as the little spices and herbs that give your recipes their unique taste. In your vocal delivery, pitch variety combined with the right tone gives your speech strength and value. It will no longer be a piece of writing on a sheet or few memorized words, it will come alive!

Pitch variety is something that scares a lot of speakers because they think too much about it and try to stick to the rules listed for the four pitch changes above, and that is the first mistake. Most times, we already know how to vary our pitch while speaking. The essence of the lesson above is to let you know that you shouldn’t sound surprised when you should be sounding bored, that is your pitch shouldn’t go high when it supposed to go low. It is that simple! A pitch relays a message, it isn’t just about making sure you are heard or making sure your voice is loud enough for those in the back, does your pitch convey the right message?

The opera singer doesn’t sing in one pitch throughout her performance, she varies her pitch, waving back and forth between different frequencies until she hits a climax. Sounding monotone while giving a speech kills your delivery, it doesn’t matter how strong your message is.

So next time you have a speech you want to deliver, don’t forget to add that spice, it might be just what you need to get that signature flavor.


Thelma Zambrano
she is member of Toastmasters Seville since September 2020

Capacity of resolution and ingenuity

Capacity of resolution and ingenuity could be the leitmotiv of last Toastmaster Seville session.

And this is, because the toastmaster of the day, Rafa Berjillos, in the absence of an evaluator for Chema’s speech, invited volunteers from the auditory to express their opinion about. It was an unprecedented and fruitful experience for all the participants, as this new way of evaluation. It also proved to be a very effective modality to learn ones from the others how to give effective evaluations.

Chemas’s speech was centred on the work of the former officer team of Toastmasters Seville. He focused specially on Penelope and Isabelle, recognizing their implication, and merit for having taken the club to the level where it is today.

The Table Topic section was headed by Elena Tolmos , who with her usual elegance and sense of humour,invited some participants to get the scene. They all exercised their capacity to give impromptu speech, on some very simple but original themes.

Grammarian role was assumed by Javier whom feedback was very clear, accurate and coherent about the use of English. His feedback was followed by Pablo’s, who took up the role of Body Language evaluator. His delivery impressed us by the meticulousness of his observations, and also by his spontaneity in expressing with his body when English words were not present in his vocabulary. This is an example that, in Toastmasters, it doesn’t matter if you are not fluent in English. Everybody is there to learn and perfect their communication skills. Andri took the role of time controler, very important since participants have to respect a specific segment of time when delivering a speech. The session was closed by Monalisa’s general evaluation, outstanding all the points expressed here up.

A very rich session where the desire to learn and improve communication skills was together with the ingenuity. Just add some sense of humour and good vibes of the participants and you get the final result.

Congratulations to everybody. We wait for you at our next session.

El reto de ser sincero

Un buen orador debe saber gestionar la verdad y la mentira. En nuestros discursos, a veces tenemos que expresar ideas que,… bueno…. quizá no sean totalmente ciertas. No obstante, la calidad discursiva que se consigue cuando el orador está convencido de lo que afirma, es muy difícilmente falseable. Es esta sinceridad lo que puede marcar la diferencia entre una charla más y un discurso memorable.

Ser sincero es un reto en sí mismo. Reconocer que no se domina la lengua, que no se conoce mucho el tema del que se habla, que se está fuera de la zona de comfort es siempre duro, incluso para oradores expertos.

El pasado miércoles recogimos todo esto en nuestra sesión. Tuvimos solo dos discursos preparados en una sesión en Inglés que tuvo hueco para el Español. El discurso en inglés realizado por Rafael González trató sobre la mentira y cómo impacta en el mundo actual de la postverdad. Y en el segundo, Antonio Quirós aceptó un reto, propuesto por sus compañeros del club, y nos habló sobre algo tan «exótico» para él como Bitcoin.

Previamente, el toastmaster del día, que fue nuestro comapañero León, nos había presentado el nuevo modelo de hoja de evaluación diseñado por él. ¡Muchas gracias, León! Son estas apotaciones de los socios, lo que hace que nuestro club sea grande.

El discurso de Antonio fue evaluado por Monalisa, que de forma original combinó tanto el Inglés como el Español en su exposición. ¡Gran trabajo para alguien cuya lengua materna no es ninguna de esas dos!

Por su parte,Chema evaluó el discurso en Inglés, realizando un entrenamiento final para la ya próxima competición transnacional de Toastmasters Iberia. Todos lo que formamos parte del club apoyaremos a Chema, bien sea en Barcelona o desde Sevilla, para que se traiga el premio a nuestras vitrinas. ¡¡¡Vamos Chema!!!

Como es habitual, cerramos nuestra sesión con los discursos improvisados que fueron propuestos por el recientemente embarcado Lucas. Tuvieron un gran toque de originalidad y, también, de internacionalidad. Asistentes locales y otros provenientes de Francia o de Alemania siguieron las instrucciones y fueron intercalando ciertas palabras en sus discursos.

Porque no olvidemos que Toatsmasters es una organización global, que reune a todos aquellos que queremos mejorar nuestra oratoria sin importar origen, idoma o país.

Si tú queres afrontar el reto de mejorar tu capacidad de oratoria y de liderazgo, pásate por la próxima sesión de Toastmasters Sevilla. No mentimos al decirte que viivirás una magnifica experiencia. 😉

A Spanglish Session

Is it possible to deliver a speech in Spanglish? What is exactly Spanglish language? Last Wednesday, we had something similar to a «Spanglish session» in Toastmasters Seville. We lived a very special one, because we merged our both languages (Spanish and English) into the same day.

Firstly, we had our monthly ordinary session of Toastmasters in English featuring evaluations and speeches (one, to be precise) in that language. Rafael González led this part with one sentence in Spanglish as its moto: “Are you listo to move?” It happened that all the attendees were not only ready but wise enough to move their bodies. 😉

The only speech of the day was given by María León who broke her ice with it. She told us about her gap year and how her to-do list is being checked. Our mate Chema Garteiz (yes, we have reduced his long family name) evaluated it with the high quality of someone who is a specialist in that matter.

Table topics were brought by Leon Lassovsky (no, we have not reduced his familiy name, yet). He suggested some very challenging subjects that were bravely tackled by our volunteers.

The session was globally evaluated by Fernando Cobreros who took over the role with very short notice. This spirit of cooperation and comradeship is one of the corner stones of Toastmasters and one clear reason of success.

When this session in English finished, Rafael González dio paso a nuestra presidenta Penélope que presentó a la siguiente ponente. Nuestra compañera Fátima Santos iba a realizar un taller en Español sobre el mejor uso de la voz.

¡¡Y, qué taller!! Estuvo lleno de consejos útiles, ejemplos didácticos, buenas prácticas alcanzadas por ella en sus años de experiencia profesional. Muchos tuvieron la ocasión de probar las técnicas que nos propuso, mejorando con ello la expresividad de su voz. Desde lecturas de letras de canciones de reguetón hasta trozos de Don Juan Tenorio, pasando por trabalenguas formaron parte del arsenal utilizado.

Es un honor contar con socias como Fátima que, de forma generosa, comparten un conocimiento atesorado durante años para el aprovechamiento de todo el club. ¡Mil gracias por ello, Fátima!

Como suele suceder últimamente, contamos con una buena asistencia de invitados. No podemos más que destacar a nuestra compañera Joanna Karolina U, Toastmasters del club Na Szczycie de Polonia. Fue un placer para nosotros que nos acompañaras en esta sesión tan singular.

And this is it. Esta session in Spanglish está over. Hacemos una pausa en Semana Santa, so we are meeting next 24th April. Mismo lugar, same hour. 🙂

Importante presencia y excelentes resultados en Granada

Este fin de semana nos tocaba viajar en coche a los miembros de Toastmasters Sevilla. Porque este sábado se celebraba el Concurso de Área en la hermosa ciudad de Granada.

La presencia de toasties sevillanos ha sido espectacular. Nada menos que catorce de nosotros acudieron a la cita, tanto para ser concursantes como para animar a los que lo eran. Esta importante presencia ha sido un verdadero hito en la historia de nuestro club.

Nuestros representantes:

  • Chema Garteizgogeascoa
  • León Lassovsky
  • Antonio Quirós
  • Monalisa Tomsa

realizaron grandes discursos y grandes evaluaciones de los discursos de referencia. Demostraron el alto nivel que nuestro club tiene en la actualidad tanto en español como en inglés.

Y ese mismo alto nivel también se observó en los representantes de Málaga y de Granada , por lo que las competiciones estuvieron muy reñidas. Era solo algún detalle lo que podía hacer que el premio cayera de un lado o de otro.

Tras las deliberaciones de los jueces de la competición, la jornada se cerró con el anuncio y entrega de premios. Nuestro club atesoró unos excelentes resultados con un total de cuatro trofeos, un primer premio y tres segundos premios.

No podemos dejar de destacar los resultados de nuestro compañero Chema Garteizgogeascoa que ganó el primer premio en Evaluaciones en inglés así como dos segundos premios en Discursos en inglés y en Evaluaciones en español. Desde Toastmasters Sevilla le damos nuestra mayor enhorabuena a Chema. Así mismo, le deseamos lo mejor en la próxima competición nacional de División que se celebrará en Zaragoza.

Queremos agradecer la amable acogida de nuestro compañeros de Granada que han trabajado de lo lindo para que la reunión fuera el éxito que ha resultado. Tambien, felicitar al club de Málaga que obtuvo los mejores resultados globales en la competición. Y, como no, saludar la presencia del incipiente club de Toastmasters Almería, al que le deseamos muchos éxitos en el futuro. Compañeros de Andalucía: ¡sois todos muy grandes!

Presienta TM Sevilla

Por último, un reconocimiento merecido a nuestros oficiales, representados por nuestra presidenta Penélope. Ellos han catalizado con su trabajo tanto la importante presencia, como los excelentes resultados, creando el magnífico ambiente que disfrutamos. ¡Gracias mil!

Mucho ánimo a todos nuestros campeones de Área. ¡Nos vemos en Zaragoza!