What do baseball pitches and voice pitch have in common?

PITCH: the degree of highness or lowness of a tone – Oxford Dictionaries

The only thing that baseball pitches and voice pitch have in common is whether they are low or high. Voice pitch is something that mainly singers and actors pay attention to. However, it’s also important for speakers.

Have you ever listened to your voice on a recording and been surprised or even embarrassed? What you are hearing is your pitch.

The pitch of a voice is primarily determined by the length and thickness of the vocal cords (tissue in the neck). The longer and thicker the vocal cords are the deeper the voice. That’s why women tend to have higher voices because they have shorter vocal cords.

As you go through adolescence you develop a certain pitch to your voice and most people keep that same pitch their whole adult lives. However, some people for a variety of reasons choose to change the pitch of their voice through voice training.

Famously, Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, underwent voice training at the Royal National Theatre in England to lower her pitch. Here is a video of before and after the voice training:

For more insight into how Mrs Thatcher’s voice evolved over her political career, there is an in-depth article here.

But if you don’t want to spend years in voice training to adjust your voice, there is an easy way to lower your pitch slightly when speaking. Breathe from the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle that sits under the lungs and helps the lungs expand their capacity. Most adults breathe from their upper chest and don’t use the diaphragm in everyday life.

Some studies have shown that there are advantages to having a lower pitch or a deeper voice. For men this includes being more attractive to women, but also being more memorable.

So before your next presentation take a deep breath, use your diaphragm and your presentation could be more memorable!

This is part of the Word Wednesday series, posts dedicated to improving your speaking vocabulary. Each Wednesday we will look at one word or expression by defining it and explaining how it applies to your presentations.

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