Sounding the Part

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Feeling and looking the part would not be complete without voice. Given that we know that 38% of communication effectiveness is governed by voice quality, improving your overall voice message delivery is worthwhile.

It’s How You Say It

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We are all born with a particular tone of voice, which we can learn to improve. The goal is to sound upbeat, warm, under control, and clear. Here are some tips to help you begin the process.

  1. Breathe from your diaphragm
  2. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated; avoid caffeine because of its diuretic effects
  3. Posture affects breathing, and also tone of voice, so be sure to stand up straight
  4. To warm up the tone of your voice, smile
  5. If you have a voice that is particularly high or low, exercise it’s by practicing speaking on a sliding scale. You can also sing to expand the range of your voice.
  6. Record your voice and listen to the playback
  7. Deeper voices are more credible than higher pitched voices. Try speaking in a slightly lower octave. It will take some practice, but with a payoff, just as radio personalities have learned
  8. Enlist a colleague or family member to get feedback about the tone of your voice.

Sounding Confident

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Since 38% of the messages received by a listener are governed by the tone and quality of your voice, its pitch, volume and control all make a difference in how confident you sound when you communicate. Below are some specific tips.

Pitch (Pitch means how high or low your voice is.) Tip: Avoid a high-pitched sound. Speak from your stomach, the location of your diaphragm.

Volume (The loudness of your voice must be governed by your diaphragm.) Tip: Speak through your diaphragm, not your throat

Quality (The color, warmth, and meaning given to your voice contribute to quality.) Tip: Add emotion to your voice. Smile as much as possible when you are speaking.

The need for assertive, confident communication can occur at any time, in virtually any place. So how do you make this all come together? Here are some practice suggestions.

  • Start simply and gain some experience in safe environments, such as at the grocery store, or with family or friends
  • Set aside time when you can read out loud without being disturbed; listen to yourself
  • Challenge yourself to speak with someone new every day
  • Set a realistic time frame to make the shift; don’t expect to change your speaking style overnight.

Reducing Anxiety

Often, anxiety inhibits your ability to act and sound confident when speaking. Knowing how to perform a quick relaxation exercise can help diffuse anxiety and allow you to speak more confidently.

Using “I” Messages

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An “I” message is a statement specifically worded to express your feelings about a particular situation. “I” messages begin with “I”, and are an excellent way to share your feelings about particular behaviors — without accusing the other person. There are four types of “I” messages, each with varying parts.

Case Study

Tim understood that leading a business which has hundreds of employees is never an easy job. It requires a wide variety of skills and knowledge in order to keep everything running smoothly. At the same time, being a leader also means being a good influencing and inspiration to your employees and co-workers. Tim began to have issues and problems with a number of his employees. 

He came to the realization that some people were not paying attention to him. He decided to be more aware how he communicated with his employees. He started improving his communication skills and his tone of voice. This small change in his approach quickly improved the attitude of his employees.