How often do you think about how you use your voice?… and what does your voice say about you?
Bearing in mind it is one of the ways that creates our first impression and the way we motivate, influence and communicate, why do we so often neglect it?
Whether you are:
Speaking at a public meeting
Making a sales pitch for your products or services
Addressing a group of colleagues
Bidding for a tender
Trying to engage people through telesales or marketing
Delivering training to a group
… how we present ourselves and convey the message is a key differentiator. First impressions do count. Knowing a subject matter is not enough, and being able to communicate and influence can be the difference between success and failure.
It is all too easy to fall into bad habits, often because we are not paying enough attention to this aspect of presence. So here they are – are you guilty of:
Using filler words (“basically”, “you know”, “kind of”, “you know what I mean”, “like”, “umms”) We are often not mindful of our language habits and use these filler words to give us time to think. The trouble is that it kind of reduces your impact if you know what I mean, sort of thing…
Overusing “uptalk” – a rising inflection at the end of your sentences – made popular by teenagers, but sounds like you need reassurance and are wanting the other person to agree with you.
Poor diction – ensure you pronounce consenants and the endings of your words. I can remember being reminded as a teenager that there is a ‘t’ in the word ‘party’!
Speed talking – the faster you go, the more you will be perceived by others as nervous. Breathe and pause to create calm both in you and the other person.
Weak speak – “just”, “only”, “perhaps”, “hopefully”, “I’ll try to”. You can feel the personal power drain from your statements when you use “weak speak”, and the other person’s expectations go with it.
Grammatical errors like “he don’t know nothing”…
Tongue Twisters can help articulation and prepare your voice for speaking and projecting well. Try this as an example:
“Theophilus Thistle the thistle sifter had a sieve of unsifted thistles and a sieve of sifted thistles, but Theophilus Thistle the thistle sifter thoughtlessly thrust a thistle through the thick of his thumb”.
Say it out loud (naturally!), 4 – 5 times, as quickly as you can.
Your voice is a wonderful instrument and an immensely powerful tool for enhancing your impact, influence and presence.
So why not nurture it and develop it…just raising your own awareness of how you use your voice can help you make sure it speaks volumes about you.
“How now brown cow…”
For more on how to use your voice and body well, contact Axiom firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange one to one coaching or attend a Presenting Effectively and Powerfully course.