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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ways To Use Your Voice To Have Advantage

People make judgments about you just by listening to your voice. It isn't only the words you use, but how you say them that can make a difference.

When people see you (face-to-face communication), the impact of your voice is approximately
38% of the overall impression you make—the "picture." Over the phone, it jumps to 85%—since there are no visual cues.

There are certain things you can do to have a more pleasing voice:

1· Have an appropriate expression
Sound enthusiastic, or, when appropriate, alter your tone to fit the conversation (sounding sympathetic when talking about sad news, etc.)

2· Speak at the right temp
Speak slowly enough that people understand you easily, yet not so slowly that you are taking too long to complete a thought.

3· Pause
By pausing, you give people enough time to take in what you are saying. When you finish a thought, think of adding a period (.) by counting to three in your mind. If it would be a colon (:) , count to two, and if it is a comma (,) , count to one. In other words, don't run your words together.

4· Eliminate fillers
Avoid "uh," "um," "OK" and "you know."

5· Speak loud enough to be easily heard
Speaking in a whisper is non-assertive and annoying. If people ask you to speak up or to repeat yourself, this is a clue that you need help in this area.

6· Speak soft enough to avoid shouting and screaming
If people are asking you to "shh" or lower your tone, that's a clue, too.

7• Watch your diction
Completing words makes you sound smarter. Things like saying the "ing" ending can make a difference ("going" not "gonna," "doing," not "doin'"). Avoid also dropping the beginning of words ("them," not "'em").

8• Control your breathing when you get nervous or excited
It helps to lower your pitch, making you sound more credible.

9• Tape-record yourself or listen to your voice-mail messages
Decide what you need to practice so you sound better—in face-to-face encounters and electronically.

10• Keep your hands away from your mouth when speaking
And don't swallow words or let your voice trail off with any thoughts.

11• The power of your voice is the sum of its vocal quality and the words you choose.
You must not take either for granted to ensure that your speaking formula is a winning combination.