Were you aware that the impact your voice has on the phone accounts for 85 percent of the overall impression you make on the other person?
This is as opposed to approximately 35 percent in face-to-face communication. So, when it comes to professional development and moving up the career ladder, your voice is important!
A friend who is currently doing online dating told me, “I never like to talk to the guy on the phone before I meet him. If I don’t like the sound of his voice, I have nothing else to go on and it’s all over before it starts.” She is saying that her perception of a potential date can be ruined just by the sound of a man’s voice, and the way he speaks on the phone. Whereas, in person, his nice smile or relaxed body language might outweigh his voice.
I think vocal impact is one of those greatly overlooked -- and usually disregarded -- factors that could really give you a competitive advantage in business.
Do you have any idea what you sound like to others? Perhaps you’ve gotten feedback on your vocal delivery over the years, but never paid much attention to it?
Ask yourself these six questions:
- Have you ever been told to speak up? A voice that's too soft makes others strain to hear you. It could also make you sound timid, insecure and unsure of yourself -- not the impression you want to be sending to clients or colleagues.
- Have you ever been told to slow down? Although people in big cities tend to speak faster than those in small towns, barreling along with barely a breath is exhausting to your listener ... and annoying. It can make you sound a bit “over the top.” And it’s hard for listeners to grasp the main point of what you’re trying to say.
- Have you ever been told to get to the point? Rambling can be construed as a sign that you don’t know your material, are not comfortable with what you are saying, are evasive, or just a bore! And again, your main points will frequently be lost in the ramble rubble.
- Has anyone ever said, “Stop interrupting me!” Interrupting can be construed as rudeness. No surprise there!
- Has anyone ever said, “I’m sitting right here. You don’t have to shout.” If so, it's time to tone it down. The impression of being shouted at is always unpleasant.
- Has anyone ever said, “Would you please just listen?” The art of listening is well worth cultivating. Effective listening is one of the foundations to creating strong business relationships, and strong business relationships are one of the foundations of business success.
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, don't worry. They all can be valuable clues that your tone or speed is not enjoyable to listen to -- and it can turn people off. It doesn’t matter who these clues come from -- your spouse, your mom, your kids, or your coworkers -- because you probably speak the same way to everyone.
Business calls are even more problematic, because you can't see the body language or facial expressions that clue you in to the fact that your delivery is going off course.
Stay tuned for a list of tips for vocal mastery in my next post.