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Confident or hesitant: Which voice do you want your employees to use when speaking to clients?
Guest articles > Confident or hesitant: Which voice do you want your employees to use when speaking to clients?
by: Paul Trevino
Every employee has the opportunity to climb the career ladder. As they do so they will increase their responsibility and are likely, eventually, to have the authority to make decisions and move projects on. Throughout your career the way you speak and the way you appear can make a huge difference to how you are perceived; both by colleagues and prospective clients:
Prepare yourself for the unexpected
The most important aspect of coming across well is to give yourself enough time to prepare. Your stance is important, stand in front of a mirror push your shoulders back; focus on breathing in and out without moving your shoulders. You will stand taller, this will make you look and feel more confident. It also allows your lungs to expand fully and this will give your voice more power, this does not mean shouting!
Voice exercises must not be overlooked
To obtain a more powerful voice you can also do some breathing exercises. Wrap a towel around your waist and breathe in; feel your obliques expand, you will feel the towel expand and you will know you are doing it right. Try saying ‘Ah’ before and after you expand your oblique’s; the difference in the strength of your voice is remarkable. This technique will also ensure you keep your throat open and prevent the squeaky voice which is so often a side effect of nerves.
Add some variety into the mix
When you are speaking it is essential to vary the pitch and speed of your words. It doesn’t matter if you are speaking to one person or ten thousand. If you speak too fast your message will not come across, but you do not wish to speak too slowly and make your audience feel that you are talking to an idiot. Your voice should vary in pitch, a monotone is guaranteed to turn your audience off; it may even send you to sleep!
These can be lovely to listen to but they can also interfere with the message you are trying to get across. If your accent is particularly strong then you should visit a voice coach. A few sessions should be enough to reduce or eliminate your accent.
Speaking in a monotone will come across as boring but an aggressive tone can do as much, if not more damage. Sometimes it is good to sound passionate whilst other times you may need to come across as much more laid back. It is best to listen to your voice and learn to vary your tone according to what the situation demands.
Send a message
All the practice and perfecting of your tone and presentation can be lost in a moment if you flounder when faced with an answer phone. If you need to leave a message, be sure to speak slowly and clearly. Start with your name and leave your phone number twice.
In every conversation, negotiation or speech there will be moments of silence. You must learn to accept these. It is usually the person who speaks first who gives the concession. Silence is a useful part of any conversation, it allows you both to reflect and gather your thoughts. Having the confidence to pause will reflect positively on you.
Don’t get too defensive
When challenged the usual response for many people is to become defensive. But the most confident people do not. They are comfortable and confident enough in their own abilities that they are happy to listen to other people’s ideas; there may be a better way of doing something!
If you need to ask something, don’t beat around the bush! Ask what you need to know directly and then give the other person an opportunity to reply. They will respect you more for it. This is part and parcel with knowing which items is your responsibility and speaking about matters you can control with confidence.
Finally, you should always dress appropriately; the image you present will influence how others see you, before you even open your mouth. Make sure your clothes show you are professional and serious about what you do.
By Paul Trevino and LondonSpeakerBureau.com!
Contributor: Paul Trevino
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