5 Ways For Your Voice to Impact Your Success

5 Ways For Your Voice to Impact Your Success

At one of my recent Impact Surgery consultations, I shared with one attendee why they were not getting clients; and the answer came as quite a shock!

Their role was that of a Mediator and they had a very successful corporate career. It was clear that they would have been very good at their role, in fact it was easy to see how excellent they would be. They had a very calm demeanour, were softly spoken and listened attentively.

So what was their problem?

As they explained the problem, it become blatantly clear to me what the biggest issue was. Now they had gone out on their own and set up their own company, they were struggling to get clients. They felt this was down to their lack of marketing, however it was far more closer to home.

Their problem was actually their voice. While a quietly and softly spoken voice is perfect for the role of conflict resolution, it doesn’t tend to work as well when it comes to sales. The reason is that those who hesitate and take their time to speak in a soft manner come across as less confident, lacking strength and with no certainty. The hesitations don’t make sales.

In the feedback the word that came to mind based on the perception they were giving to the marketplace was “timid”, which in actual fact when you spoke more to them was clearly not the case.

And here is the honest truth which you will have heard me say before… No matter how good you are at what you do, the marketplace only cares about what it sees, what it feels and what it thinks which it decides almost instantaneously. It is this decision that is the difference between your success and your failure.

Here are five first impressions of your voice or paralanguage that you need to be aware of to make a greater impact with your voice:

SPEED

The speed at which you speak needs to be one that can be clearly followed and understood by others. Speaking at a fast pace is perceived by others as being more competent. While slow speakers are perceived as more thoughtful.

However the fast speaker needs to be cautious too as other people’s brains may not work at the same pace and hence they will not fully grasp or interpret what is being said. This will lead to a disconnect from the communication as they are unable to understand it. Also the slow speaker needs to take care as there is a thin line between between being seen as pedantic to being seen as less intelligent.

The optimum speaking rate is between 120 to 150 words per minute. Those at the higher end of this scale will be those likely to be seen as more competent. Those falling below the scale will be judged as less persuasive and sometimes less honest. Plus it is likely that the audience will get bored and switch off from what you have to say.

VOLUME

The volume of your voice is one of the essential factors to how people respond to you. Remember you don’t need to “shout” to be heard, but the audience needs to hear you.

Volume control comes down to breathing, the context, the emotion and what is happening to you at that time; all of this creates different perceptions in an audience.

Those who’s voice is barely a whisper are likely to be seen as secretive, or hiding something. The quite voice could also indicate a lack of confidence or competence, but it does depend on the context, as you would not expect the Dalai Lama to be really loud when delivering his message.

The flip side are the loud voices who want to be heard all the time! As such it is easy to understand how this could be seen as the attention seeker with lower intelligence or they are just plain irritating!

TONE

Your voice tone is sometimes referred to as the colour of the voice. it expresses meanings, feelings, spirit or emotion when we communicate is can be responsible for a third of the message we are communicating.

A flat monotone speaker who fails to vary the tone of their voice and can be perceived as introverted. Some business people have developed the monotone style thinking it makes them more professional, whereas this controlling of their tone does just the opposite.

Those who are able to add good intonation to their voice will take their audiences on an almost musical journey where the important words sing out to emphasise the message.

Your attitude or emotion can’t be hidden by your tone, as your emotional state affects the muscles in your throat and your larynx. The the higher or bigger the emotion, the higher the voice.

ARTICULATION

This has to do with the formation of clear and distinct sounds in your voice.  These are formed by using the tongue, teeth, lips, jaw (hard and soft palate), uvula and glottis.

Those who are most articulate are seen as knowledgable and respectful, which immediately raises the influence of the speaker.

When you are inarticulate it appears that you lack confidence and hence you loose influence immediately. Plus you are making it more difficult for your audience to understand you.

A great tip here is if you are regularly asked to repeat what you have said, then you need to work on your articulation.

PRONUNCIATION

To pronounce something correctly is to abide by the rules on how our words should be spoken. This is done by choosing the right sounds to use, like long or short vowels and knowing which syllables get emphasised.

Saying your words correctly is vital for para-linguistics and is no mean feet in the English language where some words are spelt differently but pronounced the same!

Noting will stop an audience quicker than the mispronunciation of a word, particularly a common word. The immediate impression is that the speaker lacks intelligence and competence, in other words they appear to be thick. The same also goes for mispronouncing less common words.

To have good pronunciation, stick to what you know, or if in doubt Google the word for it’s definition and hit the speaker symbol to hear it pronounced correctly.

Andy T Cumming
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Andy T Cumming

Director at Impact Fast Track
Andy advises organisations and small business owners on how to make a bigger impact in the marketplace. He created the Professional Impact Profile, the leading six in one impact profiling system in the world. The profile highlights the gaps to become bigger, stronger and more impactful.
Andy T Cumming
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