A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a hotel courtyard with a group of thirty networkers. At the appointed time, the group’s leader called the meeting to order. She suggested that each person in the circle introduce themselves, talk a little about their business plan and goals, then pass the baton on to the next person.
I listened in amazement as each person took a turn. In this group of thirty professional marketers, I could actually make out what only a few people said. Everyone’s delivery was weak, lacked passion and emotion, and was at best average in power. Not one person sounded enthusiastic about themselves or their business. I found it hard to believe—but not that hard to understand. Most people lead very average lives, and communicate the same way: very average.
I began voice coaching eighteen years ago when I saw a need for people to express who they are and what they do in their lives through their voices. Your ability to clearly communicate your story with conviction could spell out success or failure for you in your business.
Increase Your Tonality Abilities
The sum total of our communication is comprised of our body language, the words we say and how we convey them. This “how” is also referred to as tonality. It is how you speak the information: from a powerful place, with clarity and conviction—or not.
When a salesperson is talking to us on the phone, it is not the material she is covering that impresses us. That is accessible through many different avenues. What moves us is the delivery: her passion and genuine enthusiasm for her product or service. We remember salespeople for their above-average presentations, and this is what moves us to action, now or at some point in the future.
We always seek out this exceptional marketer. Given that the product or service is close to its competition in price and features, who would you rather do business with?
Here are some vocal coaching tips you can use right away:
1. Overcome Anxiety and Fear of Public Speaking
Standing up in front of a group of people to make a speech or a sales presentation can freeze up the best of us. There is always an adrenaline rush as we are about to begin. This rush can disable us or enable us. I call the rush “human petrol”: it can propel us to greater heights in our speech or presentation.
Before beginning your speech, find some friendly eyes to look into. There always seems to be someone in the audience who looks more interested and available for us to focus on and to whom we can direct our talk. It is like an unwritten contract between you and that person that you are talking directly to him or her, instead of letting your attention wander around the room while you are speaking. No one else in the room will notice that you are directing your attention to that person, yet everyone will get the benefit of your clear communication.
2. Convey Enthusiasm and Emotion in Your Presentation
I find it hard to listen to a person who is uniformly enthusiastic throughout the entire presentation. However, enthusiasm at appropriate times is interesting and fun. Enthusiasm is contagious, and enthusiastic speakers can create a great connection with their audience.
Everyone is moved by an emotional speaker. The story becomes more than just a story when the presenter is moved. A moving speech or presentation—funny or sad—leaves a lasting impression on the audience.
3. Breath Properly
Many people tell me they easily get tired or out of breath when speaking. Check your own breathing: do you take slow and deep breaths, or is your breathing shallow and short? If your breathing is shallow, you will tire out and not be able to speak for a long time, because your body is not getting enough fresh air. We need this air to feel energized. If we take the time to slow down, breathe deeply, relax and then speak, we can be much more effective in our verbal communication with others.
4. Feel and Express Your Passion
I rarely feel caring and passion communicated to me from a business person who is speaking to me about his product or service. If passion moves us to experience our feelings and we buy more from a person who is able to stoke up our emotions in a business conversation, why don’t more business people speak more passionately?
Selling a drill bit or a refrigerator may not be a heartfelt experience, but the salesperson can still be heartfelt and express passion in the way they sell the item to us. Even in our personal interactions, we tend to hold back our feelings and have average conversations. I encourage you to feel passion and real enthusiasm in your conversations with others.
5. Find Your Deeper Voice
Does your voice come from your throat in a high, scratchy way, or does it emanate from your diaphragm in a deep and powerful way? Many clients tell me their voices become weak, irritated and fatigued after they have been speaking for only an hour or two a day.
If the voice is coming from the throat it will be weaker and less pleasing to listen to. Practice bringing your voice deeper into your chest and it will be more powerful. People who develop a deeper voice can make a better impression on everybody they speak to. Your voice can stay fresh and strong all day long if you speak from your diaphragm. Your lower voice is your unique voice, also called the “inner voice.”
Every human being who can speak has his or her very own special and unique voice. By practicing these simple tips, you can develop your vocal instrument into the most powerful and unique communication tool available.
ROBERT FARLAND has been a vocal coach for eighteen years.
He developed the Find Your Natural Voice workshops
in 1990. He has helped thousands of people to improve
and develop their vocalization skills. Robert facilitates vocal
workshops for groups and he also provides private vocal coaching.