One great way of getting your ear (and then your voice) attuned to a variety of voices, inflections, accents and qualities is to go people watching, or people-listening, rather... Find a fairly busy spot, like a mall, a zoo, a crowded lobby, café, etc, sit yourself down, and observe. Listen to how different people talk, take note of their pauses, inflections, their unique affectations and things you find interesting about them. Without appearing creepy, you might even pay attention to their mouths to see if there’s something specific they’re doing to create sounds.
If you think it might help, bring a note pad along so you can take notes on things you want to remember. Consider also bringing your quality check list with you so you can quantify for yourself the characteristics of the voices you’re hearing. In case you haven’t built a quality list yet, here are some examples to start with. Use them as a jumping-off point and add your own!
Calm Pointed Sincere Flustered Agitated Loving
Hypnotic Polite Warm Shrill Distant Brash
See how many different qualities a particular person’s voice might have: perhaps they have a calm, sincere, loving, polite voice, or maybe their voice is pointed and agitated. Mix and match to best describe the voice you are listening to, or add any qualities you become aware of that aren’t yet on your list.
Happy people listening!