How Do You Sound To Others?

This article was contributed by Renee Walkup | SalesPEAK, Inc.

There I was, driving home from a speaking engagement and waiting for the traffic report when a voice came over the radio. that made me shudder. Remember the Seinfeld episode where Kramer has seizures whenever he heard Mary Hart's voice come on the TV? That's what I was experiencing. And I have had that sick feeling  every time I've heard her voice in the past. I quickly switched my radio off and waited the appropriate time before turning it back on.

Now, why is it that a voice makes me cringe? Are there voices that make you want to cover your ears? Well, that is a question that makes us think about how we are speaking. On the telephone, experts estimate that 93% of your tone and inflection reflect the communication. In person, we assume that number is 38%. Our voices are critical to sales success. They are an integral portion of our first impressions with prospects, customers, employees, and higher ups.

Begin to think of your voice as your instrument. An instrument that must be finely tuned, developed, and practiced in order to successfully play the sound that appeals to the customer. Here are seven tips of how to better "tune" up your instrument so that every call is a success:

1. Speak clearly. Avoid dropping the endings off of your words such as "gettin', goin', shoppin', sleepin', etc." Finish the "g's" and you will sound much clearer and professional.

2. Instead of using filler words, such as "uh", "um", or "you know",  simply pause in between words or sentences. Gather your thought during the pause and your customer won't be distracted by your inability to quickly find the right word. The pause sends the message that you are thoughtful, which is an advantage.

3.  Keep your head up when you talk. If your head is down, looking at a screen, your hands, or the floor, you aren't providing your voice with the best position to project and sound engaging. With your head up, you are stretching out your vocal cords, allowing them to vibrate naturally. This is particularly important if you tend to sound monotone.

4. Smile into your words. When you smile, your vocal cords lift up and you sound friendlier, warmer, and more engaging. Try re-recording your outbound voice mail message by standing up, smiling into the phone, and then listen. You'll know when it sounds right.

5. Maintain vocal variety when you speak. Use inflection to emphasize certain words or phrases, you may want to get louder, softer, inflect an emotion on particular words. Try this exercise: Say the following words out loud and speak them as you would want your customer to experience the emotion:  "Delicious", "Great", "Reward", "Smooth", "Fine", "Amazing", "Profit". Hear the difference?

6. Record yourself and listen to how you sound by reading a story or a white paper out loud. After you have taped yourself, listen to what your voice sounds like. You could record your phone calls for a morning, too. See what you think after those are done.

7.  BREATHE. If you are breathing correctly, from your diaphragm, you will find you don't run out of breath at the end of sentences. In the meantime, you are expanding your lungs (great for when you go skiing this winter). When you breathe out, your tummy goes in, when you breathe in, your tummy goes out. See if you are doing this correctly, and start practicing when you can concentrate to improve your breathing, breath, and your voice.

Remember, your voice is your instrument. Keep it in tune!

Article Author:  Renee Walkup | Sales Growth Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Author of
"Selling to Anyone Over the Phone" |  |   678-587-9911

  • Author: Matt Maxwell
  • Date: May 02, 2012
  • Category: Legal "Stuff"