Paralanguage Roller Coaster

Roller coasters are made to be exciting, and your presentation should be no different! This video describes why you want to take your audience on an exciting ride using the paralanguage roller coaster. (As a side note, this is one of The Guru’s favorite analogies for giving a good presentation vocally–but you can also extrapolate it and use the analogy for what makes a good public speech, period.)


  • What is paralanguage?
  • What analogy is used to describe effective use of paralanguage?
  • What are rate, tone and pitch?
  • How can changing your rate of speech help you emphasize a point?
  • How can you get your audience’s attention by changing your tone of voice?


So you’ve gotten the preparation in, you’ve done some training, and now you’re ready to deliver. These videos will help you know what to do during the speech.

I’m going to give you an analogy that I hope you haven’t heard before. That when you use your voice effectively in a speech, it’s like a roller coaster. You want to make your voice like a roller coaster when giving your presentation.

Paralanguage is everything other than words that goes into your speech. Specifically, we talk about rate, tone and pitch.

Your rate is the speed at which you speak. So when you’re going through information more quickly, you can emphasize by slowing down.

Tone is the volume of your voice. So when you need to get someone’s attention, you raise your voice just a little bit and that gets them back into focus.

Pitch is the lowness or the highness of your voice. When you’re happier or excited you tend to have a higher pitch. If you have something more serious, that pitch lowers just a little bit.

Effective speakers can vary all three things much like a roller coaster. You’ll have some build up. You’ll have a great drop. You’ll have a couple of little loops. Maybe you’ll go upside down.

Paralanguage effectively is like riding a roller coaster. There’s excitement at every turn.


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