We know that communication involves much more than actual words being said.
Body language, appearance and gesture play a big role in how we are perceived. One aspect of communication that is often overlooked is our voice.
Whether you are a teacher, a public speaker or in any other kind of profession that requires speaking you might want to begin to think of your voice as your instrument. An instrument that must be finely tuned, developed, and practiced in order to successfully play the sound that appeals to those who hear it. Here are seven tips of how to better "tune" up your instrument:
1. Speak clearly. Avoid dropping the endings off of your words such as "gettin', goin', shoppin', sleepin', etc." Finish the "g's" and you will sound much clearer and professional.
2. Instead of using filler words, such as "uh", "um", or "you know", simply pause in between words or sentences. Gather your thought during the pause and your customer won't be distracted by your inability to quickly find the right word. The pause sends the message that you are thoughtful, which is an advantage.
3. Keep your head up when you talk. If your head is down, looking at a screen, your hands, or the floor, you aren't providing your voice with the best position to project and sound engaging. With your head up, you are stretching out your vocal cords
, allowing them to vibrate naturally. This is particularly important if you tend to sound monotone.
4. Smile into your words. When you smile, your vocal cords lift up and you sound friendlier, warmer, and more engaging. Try re-recording your outbound voice mail message
by standing up, smiling into the phone, and then listen. You'll know when it sounds right.
5. Maintain vocal variety when you speak. Use inflection to emphasize certain words or phrases, you may want to get louder, softer, inflect an emotion on particular words. Try this exercise: Say the following words out loud and speak them as you would want your customer to experience the emotion: "Delicious", "Great", "Reward", "Smooth", "Fine", "Amazing", "Profit". Hear the difference?
6. Record yourself and listen to how you sound by reading a story or a white paper out loud. After you have taped yourself, listen to what your voice sounds like. You could record your phone calls for a morning, too. See what you think after those are done.
7. BREATHE. If you are breathing correctly, from your diaphragm, you will find you don't run out of breath at the end of sentences. In the meantime, you are expanding your lungs (great for when you go skiing this winter)
. When you breathe out, your tummy goes in, when you breathe in, your tummy goes out. See if you are doing this correctly, and start practicing when you can concentrate to improve your breathing, breath, and your voice.
Remember, your voice is your instrument. Keep it in tune!
by Renee Walkup
edited by Soutenus