In my previous blog post I talked about the importance of one’s voice during business calls.
After all, there is precious little else for the other person to go on during a phone call, especially if he or she doesn’t know you very well or at all. And although we’d all agree that the cell phone is a brilliant, life-altering invention, many don’t yet offer the call quality of a land line.
So, if you’re making or taking business calls on a cell, which is becoming more and more common, your vocal mannerisms are something you really need to pay attention to.
Don’t kid yourself that you can break an old, ingrained habit you may have when speaking during important, make-or-break business conversations or presentations. It would truly be a shame, however, if a particular vocal bad habit is the one thing that was the deal breaker.
If you already know that you talk too fast, or too softly, or you don’t articulate clearly, then the solution is to practice, practice, practice.
Practice imaginary business conversations, pitches and presentations with the phone at your ear.
Here are five other vocal tips to try:
- Record yourself and listen to how you sound. No one I know likes the sound of their voice in a recording, but you are listening for things like: Talking too fast, too loud, too softly, not fully articulating your words, loads of "ums" and "ahs." Your way of speaking is nothing more than a life-long habit, so practice creating a new one. It can be done.
- Watch yourself in the mirror while on the phone, to make sure you keep a smile on your face. That smile will come through to the person on the other end.
- Pause when answering a question. This will help you collect your thoughts and eliminate the dreaded rambling and babbling-type answers. Also, pause when you have finished your thought or your answer. This allows space for the other person to contribute, and eliminates the dreaded monologues that could have you labeled as a bore.
- Watch your diction. Articulate your words so that the other person does not have to ask you to repeat yourself. This is particularly important on a cell phone. And by the way, if the people you’re speaking to continually ask you to repeat yourself, or even worse, if your cell drops calls in the middle --consider going "old school." Let’s bring back the landline for business conversations.
- Try to eliminate those pesky "ums, ahs, okays," and "you knows." And please, don’t be, like, one of those people who uses the word like, like in every other sentence. Um, like, you know? It might be common, it might be omnipresent, but, in fact, it isn’t proper English.
Your voice -- and the way you use it -- can be one of your main assets, giving you a much-needed competitive advantage.
How many people do you know who would take the time to work on something as ingrained as vocal mannerisms? Good for you!
If this topic intrigues, here are some related blog posts: