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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Strengthen Your Voice
Words aren’t the only thing that make a good impression with clients, investors and partners. How you sound, the power of your voice, also says a lot.
So how do you refrain from cracking your voice in nervousness or melodically putting people to sleep? Here are some tips from Douglas Anderson of Entrepreneur.com:
That’s right, you need to practice the one thing that comes completely naturally. The best way to go about it is to practice your speech, greeting, sales pitch, etc. in front of the mirror and watch how your shoulders react. Do they rise and fall when you breath in and out? If so, work on that and try and get your body to react to breath through your abdomen/waist, not your upper torso. When your shoulders move while you talk, it portrays nervousness and a lack of confidence.
Sit/Stand Up Straight
How many times did you mother tell you that growing up? Well, it wasn’t to torment you, it was to help you look presentable, and you should thank her. Additionally, sitting or standing up straight when you’re on the phone, even when the other person can’t see you, makes a world of difference in the way you sound. Good posture doesn’t only portray professionalism, but it allows you to breath more freely, making it easier for you to talk with more power and clarity.
Avoid the Nervous Squeak
You know what I’m talking about, that little creek in your voice when you get overly nervous about a conversation. Well, there is actually a way to help prevent that. According to Anderson, if you breath low “gently using your lower abs to push down and relax” and “let your throat be open and free of tension,” it will be easier to control that mouse that hides by your vocal cords.
Tone Variety Keeps Them Awake
Most of us have had that professor in college whose boring, exhausting lectures had very little to do with uninteresting material. The droning sound of a monotone voice will inevitably put an entire crowd to sleep. Anderson lists the “four P’s of vocal variety” – and I’m going to add a fifth:
• Pace – Keep the pace of your voice steady – not too slow and mumbly, or too fast and garbled. Both make you seem like you have no clue what you’re talking about.
• Pitch – Find a middle ground. Low pitches are quieter and harder to hear. And it’s a scientific fact that most men cannot hear high pitched sounds, such as women’s voices (or so I hear).
• Pauses – Not the “ummmm” kind of pauses that show you may have lost your train of thought, but strategically placed pauses add suspense and depth to what you have to say.
• Passion – Put simply, have passion regarding your subject of conversation. The listener will noticed, and typically be impressed.
• Polish (the add on) – Learn how to adjust the tone of your voice to the situation. If a client is being frustrating, control your tone so that you refrain from portraying that to him.
Confidence & Professionalism
Whatever you say, make sure that you are first confident. This means, know your topic well, know what you plan to say ahead of time, and have faith in yourself. Second, be professional, which ultimately goes back to all the above points. Putting all of those together provides both confidence and professionalism. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself.
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