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Tools for emphasis

Many newsreaders, including some veterans, seem to think there is only one tool for emphasizing the important words in a sentence, and that is to punch them. That is, to make them louder. But if you’ve ever heard a radio newscast or TV news story read this way, you know that having the significant words punched the same way, over and over, can sound monotonous and robotic.

In fact, there are at least three other techniques skilled broadcast reporters or newsreaders can use to highlight important words. These tools also add variety, shape, and ‘music’ to a reader’s delivery. Besides amplitude (i.e. louder), there’s also pitch/stress (making your voice slightly higher and tenser), e l o n g a t i o n (stretching the word out a bit), and   pausing   (surrounding a word with slight pauses tends strongly to draw attention to it).

In fact, there’s also another kind of amplitude variation (besides, did I mention, louder?) that can be occasionally be used to emphasize a word. Some times lowering your voice can draw the audience in, and convey just the right note of intimacy or conspiracy.

Anyone have other techniques they use for emphasis besides those I’ve mentioned?

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