Improve The Quality of Your Voice

Mar 29, 2013 by

Communication Tip of the Month

If you want to be taken seriously in the corporate world, you need to speak clearly and distinctly.  Frequently, we become lax in our speaking patterns and sound unprepared and unprofessional.  Here are a few tips that will help you Speak Up and Be Heard!

  • Learn to breathe.  Abdominal breathing, or belly breathing, allows you to fill your lungs with sufficient air to produce a strong, clear voice and gives you more stamina and energy.  This is the natural way to breathe, but most of us take short, shallow breaths – producing a thin and breathless speech pattern and vocal quality.
    • Try this — Stand tall, place your hands on your abdomen and watch how your belly goes up and down as you breathe properly.  As you inhale, push your belly out and take a long, deep breath, filling your lungs with air.  Deflate your belly as you exhale.  As you regularly practice belly breathing it will become natural and produce a more resonant and pleasing voice.
  • How do you Sound?  Right or wrong, people make judgments about you and your professionalism when they hear your voice.  The tonal quality of your voice has an emotional impact on your listener.  People hear your tone of voice and make determinations about your confidence, mood, energy and level of interest.  For example – a loud, fast-paced voice conveys an aggressive vocal image.  A high-pitched voice makes you sound nervous and tense.  While a voice too deep or low projects a dull or monotone impression.  The tone of your voice influences how people respond to you and your message! 
  • Turn the volume up or down! Do people complain that they can’t hear you?  Perhaps you are speaking too softly and muffling your words.  Are you talking into your chest?  To correct this, stand in your living room and pretend you are talking to someone in the next room.  Talk through the wall to the next room and practice projecting your voice.  No yelling – just a strong and resonant voice.  If your voice is too loud, practice speaking in a normal volume.  Use a tape recorder to practice adjusting the volume of your voice.  Ask friends for feedback. 
  • Take your time.  The average rate of speech in the United States is between 125 to 150 words per minute.  If you speak too slowly or too quickly – the listener will lose interest and stop paying attention. To improve the pace of your speech, practice reading aloud.  Tape-record these sessions and measure your rate of speech.
  • Drop the sloppy-speak.  Pay attention to your word endings.  Many people drop the endings of their words, especially when speaking informally.  This happens frequently with words ending in “ing” – for example, goin, doin, seein vs. going, doing, seeing.  Or, they run words together and their pronunciation becomes lax – dunno, wanna, see ya.  This is “sloppy-speak” and it projects a lazy and unpolished image.
  • Think before you speak.  Gather your thoughts and choose your words wisely.  Forget the slang and colloquialisms you use with friends in relaxed conversation.  When you want to Be Heard professionally, don’t use verbal crutches to express your views.

 

Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.”

~ David Farber

 

 

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