As a voice expert, I help business professionals learn to use their voices to become more successful. Essentially, I teach tips and techniques so they have many vocal and speech choices.
After more than ten years of experience, I have identified some areas of improvement when it comes to business communications. Some of these may seem subtle, but they make a powerful impact on your audience.
1. Speaking more than anyone else in the conversation.
You may think you have a lot of important information to share. But if you speak more than other folks, the impression they will be left with is you just go on and on and on. People appreciate pithy speakers who get to the point and then let others speak.
2. Beginning to speak before you know what you are going to say.
If you don’t know where you are headed, you won’t know when you have arrived. Understand what you want to contribute before you open your mouth. This will make you popular – you will be known as the person who gets to the point and does not waste anyone’s time.
3. Saying your name and phone number too quickly.
I admit it; this is a pet peeve of mine. But I have a technique to help you: say each syllable of your name and number on a different pitch. This forces you to slow down, and the different pitches make it easy for the listener to understand what you are saying.
4. Interrupting other speakers.
If you have this habit, please STOP! The message you are sending to others is that are you not listening to them. You only hurt your own reputation with this technique. On the other hand, if someone interrupts you, it is acceptable to say, “Excuse me; I just want to finish what I am saying.”
5. Speaking without breathing first.
You may be shaking your head about this sin, but it is very important. When you speak without breathing first, you strain your voice to be heard. That is because your voice needs breathe support to travel out of your mouth and into people’s ears. This straining quality results in many vocal problems, and it signals to the listener that you are tense. This can make the listener tense, and create a distance that is hard to overcome.
This is not a sin, but I always let my clients know first thing that everything their voice does occurs due to brain impulses. You cannot “feel” your own voice! When you think you are feeling it, you are really feeling your throat. Try to speak with as little “feeling” in your neck as possible. This means you are using your voice naturally, and the result is a natural, relaxed sound.
For my next article, I would love your questions regarding any voice or speaking issues that you want to solve. Sharing these tips and techniques is a wonderful way to awaken you to the instrument inside you that is your voice. You can learn to play it just as you play any other instrument. The results can be better communication skills, increased confidence, and the ability to project a professional image.