There are so many factors that play into creating your first impression when you meet new people. One of those factors that is not addressed enough is your voice. Conclusions can be drawn simply by the way you speak. Whether those assumptions are correct or not, it doesn’t matter. You need to listen to your voice and analyze how you sound. If you have trouble being honest with yourself, ask someone you can trust to provide you with honest feedback.
The rate or speed of your words is very important. If you talk too fast you may be perceived as nervous, impulsive, disorganized, immature, or even flighty. On the other hand, if you talk too slow you may be perceived as lacking intelligence, unable to keep up with a fast-paced environment, older or lacking overall confidence.
The best place to be is in the middle of too fast and too slow. You need to speak clearly, distinctly, slowly and thoughtfully. Try to pronounce each syllable, the syllables that are meant to be stated. If you keep your speaking at a medium pace, you are able to get your thoughts across more clearly and easily. If you want to check your speech, you can record yourself speaking or you can speak in front of a mirror. Both techniques are helpful and will provide results!
Your pitch is also extremely important. If your pitch is normal, this won’t apply to you. However, if you have a very high pitch it can be more annoying than anything else. A high pitch is associated with women but occurs with men as well. Part of lowering your pitch to a professional level is relaxing your speech. It is a difficult thing to accomplish. First, you must learn to control any nervousness, which is difficult to do in an interviewing situation. If you speak too low, you may be hard to understand. It may also be perceived as not being honest. It is also important in business to have a voice that projects professionalism.
The too soft voice is often perceived as a lack of self-confidence, fearful and self-conscious. The too loud voice is again annoying and can sometimes be an indication of feeling of superiority. There needs to be a happy medium when you are in any professional situation.
Verbal crutches are habitual phrases you use; they are extra words you throw in to give yourself time to think. The two most often abused crutches are “uh” and “ah.” Often people are not at all aware they use these words. Once you record yourself talking you may find numerous crutches.
Another crucial part of listening to your speech is looking for any type of slang words. These are very common with adults who are not aware of the terms they use. Some of these slang terms are “you know, like, no way, cuz, yeah, for real and for sure.” These sound funny in this text, but these simple words can mean the difference between being perceived as professional or immature!
Be aware of your voice and realize the necessity to listen to your voice and analyze it. Practice and speak confidently, it will open more career opportunities for you!
Rick Christensen: Director, Career Transition Practice
Rick has been a career consultant for almost 30 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.
Rick’s passion is coaching individuals through career transitions, developing career management strategies and in identifying and sharpening competencies to open doors to new opportunities. His efforts have assisted thousands of individuals achieve their full potential.
Contact Rick at: Rick@CareerDevelopmentPartners.com