Take a breath. Really, take a deep breath before you pick up the phone. While you're at it raise your arms, lower your shoulders, sit up straight, smile then make that call, walk into the meeting, take the stage. Speech patterns and bad habits can tune your audience out, even an audience of one, before you get further than your introduction. This will cost you revenue and waste everyone's time.
Take tips from voice and dialect coach, Susan E. Finch. This show should have been a video - it was so much fun and packed with applicable tips to keep you from being annoying. The biggest culprits? Women! Women 17 - 35 and this voice fry issue where they sound like they are swallowing their words. Next, the gutteral hiccup - that punch that only belongs in the Cockney community in London.
How about the fillers: Like, ya know, sooooo, and.... um, uhhhhh? Time to break yourself of those habits. They scream insecurity and require your listener/audience to strain to get to the point you are attempting to make.
When we need to hire someone, we go through the interview process, background checks, checking to see if their past is linked to a bunch of workman's comp cases with former employers.... but once we decide to hire them, do we assume they are articulate? Do they know how to present ideas to their new team? Clients? Speak on behalf of the company? Why don't we teach our staff how to think on their feet and respond articulately? Surely there are Toastmaster's chapters near you. Give them bonus points for going through it or pay for it for them. You'll be glad you did. You'll give them confidence. AND if they really have bad habits, consider a speech coach, like Susan E. Finch. These professionals can quickly identify and help them work through bad habits. May not hurt you, either.
Susan suggested the movie, "In a world" from 2013. GREAT examples you can remember. It's about the voiceover industry.
RECORD yourself to see how you sound. Use video if possible. Introduce yourself to you. Would you buy from you? Would you want to slug you? Would you TRUST you?
Really listen and ask an HONEST colleague to do the same and give feedback. Do it for your department. You'll all benefit from this improvement.
About our guest, Susan E. Finch.
Susan Finch is a voice and speech coach who is passionate about supporting people in becoming clear and connected communicators. As her background is in theater she is able to bring vitality and fun to her clients.
- accent reduction
- vocal production (finding power, ease, volume and range)
- clarity of articulation
- ease in communication (eliminating fear of public speaking)
She coaches people how to communicate with confidence and excellence.