Being expressive when you speak is referred to as color. Color is heard in the various and vivid effects of your vocal sound: it is also seen in your facial expression and body language. Speaking without color is called speaking in a monotone. It is also called boring.
- You can have the most resonant, dynamic speaking voice, but if you lack expression then it is quite possible that you are putting your audience or your listeners to sleep!
One of the greatest aspects of color is that there is no right or wrong – except of course speaking with no color. And, it is very individual. How you feel at the time, both emotionally and physically, will certainly have an effect on your expressiveness. Being tired, angry, or sick, for example, can result in a much different style of speaking than if you are happy and feeling well. However, this is not an excuse for a boring delivery if you happen to speak in a monotone.
Speaking with color means that you must allow your emotions to be seen and heard. Through all of my years of teaching voice, I have found that those who keep their emotions bottled up inside of them are often accountants, athletes, writers, scientists, and computer geeks, to name a few. Please understand that I am generalizing. I know many people in the above-listed fields who indeed speak with a lot of color. However, it is not the rule for many who are drawn to these types of professions.
On the other hand, people in sales are usually very colorful. Part of their success lies in how well they can sell their product or their ideas. There is no doubt that those who are successful in sales speak with a lot of expression. My brother is a perfect example. At a time when newspaper subscriptions are on the decline and advertising in those papers is following suit, Lee sells advertising for his paper and always leads in sales volume. He exudes enthusiasm and passion with his voice as well as in his facial expression and body language which results in more sales.
I have yet to meet anyone who was incapable of speaking with some emotion. Yes, some people will speak with more expression than others. Harrison Ford is a case in point. While he is not the most effusive speaker when it comes to his voice, his facial expression and body language tell you exactly how he feels at any given moment. Both characteristics more than make up for his lack of vocal variety.
Whether you are addressing an audience or speaking to your colleagues, friends, or family, allowing for expression will make your delivery much more interesting than if you drone on in a flat, monotone voice.