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Tone of Voice: A Hinderance or a Help to Your Success

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It's time to visit a topic that may be uncomfortable for some, but something that must be discussed. Are you losing people with your voice? In a time where face-to-face meetings seem to be rare and more business is conducted via the telephone your voice could be hindering your success. On the telephone we do not have visual cues or body language to strengthen our position and message, all we have is our voice.

Not too long ago I had a young lady come in for an interview for an Account Coordinator position. Our office is in a loft format like many ad agencies today, so it's an open floor design without individual offices. I heard the young lady arrive and speak with someone as she entered the office. I didn't even have to look at her to know that she was not the right person for the job. Why? Unfortunately it wasn't her skill level or education, it was her voice.

As an Account Coordinator working with an agency that does national business a lot of your time is spent on the phone. Professionalism, friendliness and confidence has to be vocalized using the instrument of your voice.

I realize that we are all born with our voices, but they can in fact be trained. If you spend a lot of time on the phone conducting business perhaps it's time to assess your own voice skills. Your voice is in fact a tool. It's a tool that can gain you business or lose you that next business deal.

Five key factors when it comes to having a voice of success include:

  • Your Tone
    What does the tone of your voice sound like? Does it reflect confidence? Strength? Assurance? Perhaps your tone reflects fear? Boredom? Immaturity?

    Be honest with yourself, do you need to work on your tone? Grab a close friend or co-worker - ask their honest opinion. It's important to find someone who will give you just that. Listen to what they have to say and take their criticism as constructive to help you develop a voice that will get you where you want to be in life.

  • Voice Inflection
    When speaking and thinking about the key points you want to emphasis, make sure the inflections of your voice does just that. Inflection alone can change the meaning of a sentence.
  • Delivery
    Practice, practice, practice. The delivery of your message when training your voice is key. Don't be afraid to rehearse a pitch a proposal or even just a phone call. You won't always have to do this, just long enough to where a good delivery is natural and you can do it with confidence.
  • Sound
    What do you sound like? Have you ever really just listened to your own voice? For example, when you record your outgoing voicemail message what do others hear? A smile? Joy? Authority? Don't be afraid to use a tape record as you train your voice. A tape recorder will allow you to hear exactly what others hear.
  • Energy
    Similar to tone, but different. The energy in your voice allows people to feel like they are in the room with you. Does your energy make them want to be in a room with you? Put it in check. One thing that I have to watch is the speed at which I speak. I can rattle things off faster than most people can keep. I always know when I'm doing this because I often get asked to repeat myself. Breathe, think about what you are going to say and fill it with the right energy for the moment.

Most the time voice can be trained by just becoming aware, sometimes it may take a voice coach or someone to help you with the things you struggle the most with. It's not uncommon for people to seek out the help of a voice trainer or coach. If you assess that your voice may be hindering your success, it may just be time for you to take that next step.

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