Emphasis is a fundamental part of our daily way of speaking and expressing ourselves even though very often we are not aware of it. Those who know how to make good use of it can turn words into powerful tools of expression capable of convey emotions. This ability to vocally emphasize a word to highlight specific ideas adds a level of special intensity and great resonance to verbal communication. Don’t be fooled into thinking that paraverbal communication and body language are more effective! During any conversation, even the simplest, placing emphasis correctly not only captures the listener’s attention, but conveys deeper emotions and meanings than is possible in other modes.

Definition of emphasis

Emphasis, in linguistics, refers to the prominence or special attention given to a word or group of words to give them importance or highlight their meaning. Emphasis can only be expressed through complete and correct mastery of the voice, modulating pitch or rhythm, for example, certainly not through the choice of high-sounding or low-sounding words. To this day virtually no Vocal Coach talks about emphasis or explains how to use it, perhaps because he him/her self is unable to put it into practice. In contrast, the Inborn Voice method places deep emotion and vocal awareness at the center, i.e., the communication skills necessary and the basis of emphasis itself.

The art of speaking with emphasis

Speaking with emphasis certainly requires vocal awareness, an excellent grasp of one’s voice and the expressive nuances of which it is capable. Everyone can develop it with the right training, even those who think they are a hopeless write-off. Clearly we are not talking about diction, indeed it is probably easier for some people to use emphasis by inserting dialect expressions. It is possible to expressively load a word by increasing the volume or introducing a pause, but these are only techniques, that is, ploys that do not go unnoticed and very often achieve the opposite effect to the desired one. Only the art of speaking with emphasis can turn a seemingly trivial sentence into a bold statement or incisive claim. Speaking with emphasis is like painting with words, conveying vivid ideas, full of emotion, and leaving lasting impressions.

You may have happened to prepare a speech or presentation in advance. You may have noticed that when it shows up in writing everything seems perfect and in the mind it appears enunciated to perfection, but when you then need to speak in public, reading it or going from memory, things change. In fact, it only takes a moment of anxiety, an apnea, to mistakenly place emphasis on one word rather than another to convey the wrong emotion to everyone else. It is no coincidence that from the studies we do here at Inborn Voice, the emotion most often conveyed during an “important” business conversation is fear, apprehension. These negative emotions cause emphasis to be placed on the words least likely to convey the excitement of a winning idea, a raise request, or a love statement.

As we have seen, in its basic version Emphasis emphasizes a word. Now let’s turn to a classic example that Mylena Vocal Coach uses during her “Your Voice, Your Identity” Workshops. It is very well known and has been quoted by many other coaches and shows how a single sentence, can have 12 different meanings depending on where you want to emphasize it.
Clearly here you will find the written version of each sentence, but it is by no means certain that you are able to correctly place emphasis in each one, just as it is not easy to do so in an elegant and unobtrusive way. You can always visit Mylena’s Vocal Coach Youtube channel to find some examples.

Practical example: Seven different meanings depending on where the emphasis is placed:

Let’s start with a simple sentence, “I have always said that voice is capable of performing magic.” its meaning is rather simple to understand, but now we will see how simply by using emphasis you can convey an idea or emotion to others. You may not necessarily be able to pronounce this sentence by placing emphasis as suggested in the example, and you need not worry because with a few sessions of an Inborn Voice course everything will become easier.

  1. I have always said that the voice is capable of performing magic.”
    In this case the emphasis is on the word “I,” so you want to reinforce the idea that other people, probably present in the conversation, have not done the same.
  2. “I have always said that the voice is capable of performing magic.”
    Stressing the word “ALWAYS” is intended to emphasize the idea that this statement has never changed over time, contrary to what seems to be happening during the conversation.
  3. “I have always said that the voice is capable of performing magic.”
    This time the word “SAID” has important implications. In fact, the emotion that is conveyed is to deny that one has ever remained inert, silent, but that on the contrary one has always had the courage to express one’s ideas.
  4. “I have always said that the voice is capable of performing magic.”
    Emphasizing the word “VOICE” is meant to make it clear that it is the voice that has the ability to perform magic, not some other idea that is trying to sneak into the discourse. Clearly, when Mylena refers to voice, she is always referring to what she calls “Inborn Voice.”
  5. “I have always said that the voice is capable of performing magic.”
    Now with the word “CAPABLE” she wants to convey the idea that the voice has this potential, but that in order to express it, it needs to be put into practice through exercise and dedication.
  6. “I have always said that the voice is capable of performing magic.”
    The word “PERFORMING” emphasizes the direct link between the use of one’s Inborn Voice and magic, that there is no doubt about the two ideas, and that practical experience has shown tangible results.
  7. “I have always said that the voice is capable of performing magic.”
    Finally, placing emphasis on the word “MAGIC” is intended to emphasize the idea, the emotion that the result is beyond expectation, beyond the reasonable, that is, it enters the realm of the mysterious. The use of the plural should also be noted, as if to further emphasize that the positive consequences are even many and all interrelated.

Clearly this is just an example, and as an exercise you can try recording yourself repeating this simple sentence by inserting the seven emphases we have shown you. As many as 12 different emphases are possible in this sentence, but for now let’s limit ourselves to the main 7.

Conclusions

Emphasis is a subtle but powerful element that every successful person should have in his or her expressive arsenal. When used through the Inborn Voice method, that is, at mastery levels, it can transform our words into effective tools to influence, persuade, and communicate more effectively. Emphasis awareness and its appropriate application enrich the way we communicate, making interactions more engaging and meaningful. The next time you have something important to say, don’t underestimate the power of emphasis in making your words truly memorable.

If you want to improve your vocal expressiveness in business, interpersonal relationships, or delve into vocal awareness, below is a way to book an initial meeting or ask any questions.


 

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