How well does your voice sound during a business presentation?
If you’re not satisfied with how you pitch your message, neither are your listeners. In fact, a recent research conducted by Quantified Impressions, a communications analytics company, showed that the sound of a person’s voice strongly influences how they’re seen.
The corporate world accentuates a hustle and bustle of daily conversations, from business meetings to project planning, client negotiations and the like. This is why a strong and confident voice helps portray a professional image. Non-verbal cues such as body language, gesture, and posture only reinforce what you say.
If you’ve been opting for effective and persuasive presentations, start with your voice.
Why Your Vocal Image is Important
People are hard-wired critics. Right after you’ve entered the room, your audience makes snap judgments on your speech credibility. The impression that listeners create based on your speaking voice is often referred to as the vocal image.
Your speaking voice says a lot about you. It’s a signature that creates assumptions about your age, intelligence, background and emotional state. Since it gives your viewers a peek of what you offer, this builds their interest in your presentation.
The Wall Street Journals’ Sue Shellenbarger cites Quantified Communications’ study to emphasize that the sound of a speaker’s voice matters twice as much as the message’s content. Voice is accounted for 23% of listener’s evaluation, while the message’s content only amounted to 11%.
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Tips to Boost Your Vocal Image
There’s nothing more embarrassing than standing in front of a crowd that isn’t paying attention to you. Persuade your audience like a pro by boosting your vocal image with a little know-how and practice. According to presentation trainer David Woodford, there are four crucial points to consider for vocal clarity:
Watch Your Pitch
How you articulate your voice plays a big role in capturing your audience’s interest. A good combination of high and low vocal pitches jazzes up your presentation.
Your pitch goes up when you feel excited but then drops when something serious comes up. Varying your pitch emphasizes your main ideas. Avoid speaking in a monotone voice so as not to bore your listeners.
Manage Your Pacing
Practice speaking at the right speed to maintain your audience’s interest. Speaking too quickly or too slowly makes it harder for them to follow your talk.
Control Your Vocal Power
Keep the attention going by controlling the power of your voice to break the dull discussion. Whether you’re whispering or shouting at the top of your lungs, your vocal volume increases focus and emphasis.
Necessary pauses let your audience hold their thoughts. People tend to be swamped with a lot of information, making them want to escape. Anticipating pauses in your discussion allows points to sink in.
Related Speech Practices
Record Your Voice
Practice with a tape recorder so you can listen to your own voice. This is the ideal way to evaluate how your voice sounds, including factors like your tone, pitch, accent, and word choices.
Ask a Friend or Co-Worker About Your Bad Habits
If you’re unsure about evaluating yourself, try asking a friend about your bad habits. Having someone to critique your voice quality makes it easier to identify your total vocal image’s pros and cons.
Increase Your Fluid Intake
Good water intake keeps your vocal cords healthy. Drink enough water every day to keep yourself from frequently clearing your throat.
If you want to exude confidence and professionalism in your presentation, don’t overlook the subtle power of your vocal image. Learn the different ways you can play with your voice, whether it’s the volume, pitch, speed, or the words you’re using. Always evaluate yourself, or ask others to critique you, by recording yourself and identifying areas you can improve in.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too: practicing won’t do any good if you overdo it and end up with a sore throat. With enough determination, you’ll have a business voice that’ll seal business deals in no time.
“Delivering an effective presentation.” University of Leicester. n.d. Accessed April 7, 2015.
“How to Use Body Language Like a Presentation Expert.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed April 7, 2015.
“Presentation Ideas from Ancient Greece: Explaining Ethos.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed April 7, 2015.
Shellenbarger, Sue. “Is This How You Really Talk?.” The Wall Street Journal. April 22, 2013. Accessed April 7, 2015.
Woodford, David. “Persuasive Presentations – It’s In The Voice!” Business Know-How. n.d. Accessed April 7, 2015.
Featured Image: on Pixabay