Using Your Voice to Get Results
We understand and judge each other through powerful non-verbal cues. Your posture, hand gestures, and facial expressions are instantaneously “read” by friends, co-workers, prospective employers, and romantic partners.
Although rarely acknowledged, the tone of your voice is also one of those important cues.
Even the pizza delivery boy is sizing up the likelihood of getting a good tip from you.
If Your Voice Speaks Volumes, What Is it Saying?
People use their assessment of your voice’s tone, timbre, and volume to answer important questions.
–Are you pushy or pleasant?
–Easy or difficult to work with?
–Powerful or powerless?
“It’s Like They Just Don’t Hear Me”
I’ve heard this frustration expressed more than once over the years. Sometimes it’s a matter of what you’re saying. Are you getting to the point? Are you using an effective communication strategy for the situation?
Other times, it’s a matter of how your message is delivered.
One of the best books on this topics, Change Your Voice, Change Your Life, makes this important point: “The properly produced voice, then, permits individuals to be perceived for their substance–physical, intellectual, and emotional.”
Simple Techniques for Finding Your Natural Voice (from Change Your Voice, Change Your Life)
1.) Umm-hmmm: As though you were enthusiastically, spontaneously agreeing with someone, say ‘umm-hmmm’ with your lips closed. Imagine some kind person has asked–unexpectedly–if you want a piece of cake. Umm-hmmm! Be sure to use a rising inflection.
2.) If done correctly: You’ll note a light tingly, vibration around your lips and nose. According to Dr. Morton, “This indicates correct tone focus, with oral-nasal resonance.” Eureka!
If you need to try again: If your pitch is too low, “you will feel too much vibration in the lower throat, and very little if any at all in the mask area.”
Keep trying– umm-hmmm-ing your way into your natural pitch.
3.) Another test: “Standing, place your index finger just under your sternum (where your ribs come together). Now press gently with a staccato movement and make sound with your lips closed. The sound you are producing is essentially the one you were born to make–the voice you were born to use. Now say ‘umm-hmmm’ in that same voice.”
To the Beat of Your Own Drummer
These techniques are a start to finding your natural voice, but they’re certainly not the final word on the subject.
Your voice is like your fingerprint–entirely unique. To talk with me about ways to find and use your natural voice, comment below or send me an e-mail.
COMING SOON: a Follow-Up Post on Using Your Voice to Convey Power and Purpose
Quotations in this post are drawn from pages 22-27 of Change Your Voice, Change Your Life: A Quick, Simple Plan for Finding and Using Your Natural, Dynamic Voice by Dr. Morton Cooper.