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Creating a More Powerful Voice
By Debbie Christofferson, CISSP, CISM

Just because you're talking doesn't mean anyone is listening.

Guest Expert Pam Hillyer shares her secrets as a communications and voice expert, to power up your voice:

Debbie: Who needs help with their voice?

Pam: Your presentation style is everything in today's business environment!! Warren Buffett speaks of this to worldwide audiences. How you present yourself directly relates to your success. Your voice makes the greatest difference.Most of us were never taught the direct impact our voice has on relationships and other people's perceptions of us.

Debbie: What does our voice say about us?

Pam: It tells who you are, how you relate to the world, and how confident you are.

Examples of what we hear in your voice:

  • Monotone: Disinterest, detached, non-caring
  • Small: Sweet, not a power house, not someone who can lead or take charge
  • Poor articulation: Immature, indifferent, not ready to meet with clients or work on teams
  • Fast: Lack focus, poor listener, may be closed-minded
  • Shaky: Low self esteem, not ready for a higher position
  • Clear, articulate: Confident, "believe" in what they offer a business, reliable, listen
  • Strong: Presence, strong capable, can handle self in any situation
If you are unaware of how others hear you, you cannot connect when you're speaking.

Debbie: How can our voice help or hinder us?

Pam: There's no middle ground. Most of us shoot from the hip, depending on our mood. When it works, we're happy. When it doesn't, we beat ourselves up. We have no idea what causes either.

Professionals that work in TV and radio are expected to give a positive result every time. They learn to use their bodies in tandem with the mind, and to align their "character" with their voices. This connects them to the audience. You can learn to do it too-every single time.

Debbie: How is does your voice impact an interview?

Pam: Your voice impacts every situation. Your mindset shows in the sound of your voice. If you feel fear, desperation or intimidation, your body reacts with shallow breathing, holding the breath, constricting the throat, and faster heart beats. Your mouth and body become tense and closed.

A small voice squeaks out. Your answers are hard to hear, words get jumbled, and your mind races. No air reaches your brain, and your answers fall short.

When you are confident and assured, it shows. Your body is open, breathing is consistent and relaxed, your throat is open, your mouth opens, and words come out in a composed pleasant manner.

Debbie: What can you do differently, starting NOW?

Pam: Breathing builds the foundation:

  • Learn to breathe from the diaphragm, and practice daily. When driving, breathe in for 10 counts, hold for 15, and breathe out for 10. Repeat 10 times.
  • Post sticky note reminders to breathe during phone time. Shallow breathing inhibits the voice. Is it different when you talk to your mother or friend, vs. your manager or a big client?
  • Your teeth, tongue and lips define how words come out. Watch how other people's lips move they speak. Open up your mouth and use your lips and tongue to articulate all of the sounds of the words. Stop taking shortcuts in your speech, and pronounce words correctly!
  • Posture feeds your voice and message. It directly reflects your thoughts and how your body responds. Your posture sends out a silent message. How you sit or stand tells how you see, relate and interact with the world. With poor posture, your body has trouble taking in air. Stand and sit up straight when talking, even on the phone. People will know the difference.
  • Breathing consistently every time takes practice. Once you master it, your voice will never betray you.

    You will sound great, and exude confidence, credibility and authority. That's exactly where you want to be!

    Conclusion

    "The most effective communicator will be the one who can proactively steer discussions. If your voice isn't being heard, that will never be you."

    Resources:

    For a free seminar with Pam on audio CD, email me your shipping name and address. Send career questions via, email to "Ask Debbie" at DebbieChristofferson@cox.net.

    Visit VocalIntelligence.com for more on Pam. She answers questions and offers first consultations absolutely free.


    Coming Next: Overcoming failure.

    Debbie shares 20 years of Fortune 500 management experience across the US, Europe and Asia. She consults, speaks and writes on security, technology and career growth strategies.


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