Put Your Best Voice Forward

You may not be aware of the impact your voice is having on your listeners.  In this challenging economy, it is important to speak with confidence and not sound insecure, angry, worried or depressed.  This is true whether you’re actively looking for a job or speaking with your co-workers, customers and suppliers.

You can learn skills that may help you get and/or keep a job. These are often “hidden” skills having to do with speaking confidently and using gestures appropriately.  Speech-Language Pathologist, Karla Beck of Naturally Speaking, had tips for learning techniques of “how you say it matters.”

Voice Types and the Perceptions They Create

1. Marilyn Monroe is well known for her breathy voice which worked to exude her sensuality. However, a “breathy quality” in someone’s voice can suggest sexuality and/or weakness. Certainly not the image we want to portray when looking for work.

2. A machine gun voice will sound harsh (rat-a-tat-a-tat!) – “shooting” words out to the listener. This person may be perceived as too aggressive and/or too intimidating.  This can have a negative impact and turn off a potential employer, colleague, etc.

3. Sergeant Friday, “Just the facts Ma'am” has a flat voice.  It could be perceived as being bored and not interested.

4. Someone who uses a soft voice could be perceived as a pushover, shy or insecure.  This soft voice may have the impact of being submissive or uninformed. 

Techniques for Creating An Effective Voice

On the Telephone

      By using a telephone headset, you can easily gesture while talking.  Even though your listener can’t see the gestures, your voice automatically becomes more animated – an essential component of being a dynamic speaker.  You’re more likely to smile while using gestures; believe it or not, smiling causes your voice to sound brighter, happier, and less constricted.

In Person

Facial expressions, eye contact, gestures and body language all combine to enhance your voice; this, in turn, enables you to become a more effective and dynamic communicator.

On the Telephone or In Person

Remember, you always want your voice to sound interesting and energetic.  To avoid a “monotone” voice, you can let your listener know the most significant part of your message by verbally “highlighting” important words or phrases.

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