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Essential Speaking Skills
All about the art of public speaking.

Inflection

Your inflection is important, because according to how you use it you can seem powerful, or not. You see there are three ways of speaking: commands, questions, and statements.

Statements just have a flat inflection at the end, questions go up at the end, and commands go down. This is important because if you say something like "Let's go out" as a question instead of a command you give the other person a chance to say no. Also, a question isn't always a question. If you use the grammatical structure of a question but go down with the inflection at the end of the sentence then you actually make it a command.


Exercise 1 Say these sentences using a downward inflection at the end.

  • Let's go out.
  • Come with me.
  • I love you.
  • Do you want to go out for coffee with me? (Taking the inflection down on with me)
  • Do you understand?

Inflection is also very important for being able to embed commands. You can embed a command using any note, but for the sake of simplicity here we're going to talk about embedding commands by dropping your tone slightly on the command. The difference not only doesn't have to be extreme, but it should be slight so it is only perceptible to the trained ear Imagine a musical scale; the note you use for the embedded command would be a note or even only a half note lower on the scale than the other notes you're using when you speak.

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“Inflection”