Do you feel that you’re not getting the respect and the attention that you deserve at work?
You know many of my clients come to me for speaker coaching because they don’t feel heard especially by their boss. They feel like they’re not commanding the respect and the attention that they truly deserve. In fact, they may have years and years of experience in their field, but the way that they speak makes them sound insecure and a little flaky.
So today, I’m going to give you three tips to sounding more like a leader when you’re at work so you can make your voice count.
- Speak in statements, not questions.
- When asking a question, that is the only time you use an upward inflection.
- Using Upspeak too often makes you sound insecure and unsure.
- Avoid allowing your voice to trail off at the end of the sentence.
- When you’re speaking, make sure you ramp up your energy even if you don’t feel like it.
- If you want to sound like a leader, raise the pitch to create excitement.
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FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
The reason that you’re not making an impact when you speak could be simply because of these three very disempowering vocal sounds. Now, if you want to sound like a leader at work, you must learn how to break these habits and yes, they’re just bad habits.
The qualities of a great speaking voice include: pitch, volume and vocal quality. So, these three tips will help you sound confident and improve your voice in those three areas.
1. Avoid Upward Inflection .
This is a simple and common voice pattern that’s often used by people who feel a little shy and insecure and it sounds like this: every time that I speak to you to speak to anyone in fact I’m going to end with an upward inflection: “Hi! My name is Elisa James and I’m a voice coach and today I’d like to teach you three wonderful sounds that you can make to make you sound more confident”
Can you hear that I’m just going up at the end of every sentence which means that the audience is wondering: am I being asked a question or are they finished? I really don’t know what to do with that. They will feel a little unsatisfied because of the way you’re speaking and that makes people switch off. So, make sure you avoid the upward inflection unless it’s for a question. The only time you would ever use an upward inflection is when you’re asking a question: “Hi! How are you?” Up. Up. Up. People are waiting for a response. A direct question requires a direct response. But an upward inflection makes you sound insecure and makes you sound like you’re asking for someone’s opinion which you’re not.
When you’re at work, you need to make sure that you’re making complete sentences with the downward inflection so every sentence ends down. Listen to news reporters and journalists. They’ve learned this. It sounds like they know what they’re talking about because they go down at the end of a sentence. It’s a very simple thing but you might be not doing it.
2. Avoid the Trail Off at the end of the sentence and keep the body activated all the way to the end
This is something I hear again in very insecure or under confident people when they’re speaking. They try to speak up and out for themselves and then they lose steam and then they just run out of air and that ever goes up first.
When you’re speaking like that, you can hear it when you record your voice. You’ll hear strong-ish and then sort of trail off to nothing. Strong voice and then trail off to nothing. You’ll find that it’s very hard to understand somebody who trails off at the end of every sentence. Again, people will switch off. You’re making them work too hard. It’s as simple as that. So, I want you to make sure that you put your engine on and what I mean by that is literally use your stomach muscle like an accelerator pedal and pull it all the way in while you’re speaking.
“When I am speaking my tummy moves in”. It’s not stomach muscle is relaxed. “Now, when I’m speaking my tummy moves in”. If I don’t use my stomach at all, I have to start controlling the airflow with my throat. They’re the only two options that I have. I can control the airflow here by holding my stomach tight and then holding my neck tight or I can move my stomach in and use the power that way. You can hear that it’s a lot more effective if I drive my voice the correct way. So, when you are speaking a sentence, keep it strong all the way to the end. That avoids the trail off.
3. Avoid underpowering
Now, if you’re speaking with too much air flow or too high a pitch, pitch is important and so is volume. Now, when we use too much airflow when we speak, we’re probably not powering the voice with the stomach either – the abs muscles – but we’re also not closing the vocal folds properly. If you’re not give enough energy when you speak, if you don’t stay committed to your words, people won’t listen to you. You don’t sound like you have something important to say or intelligent. So when you’re speaking, make sure you ramp up your energy even if you don’t feel like it.
When we’re at work we need to make an impact. When we’re with our clients we need to make an impact and especially if you’re climbing the corporate ladder, you need to sound like a leader. So, if you want to sound like a leader, raise the pitch a little bit so it doesn’t get caught up in the throat and go all noisy on you and then literally raise the volume and the projection. So, when you’re speaking up with a higher pitch, it’s easier to project. When you’re speaking with a higher pitch, it’s easier to be heard and it literally sounds more interesting and engaging than rather under powering the voice and having it too low or too hairy. So, make sure that you use all of these tips to make you sound like a leader at work.
A Quick Recap:
- Make sure you avoid the upward inflection. Every single sentence needs to go down. When it goes down, people know you are done and you’re not asking for anyone else’s approval.
2. Avoid the trail off. Anytime you set your engine off and make it lazy, the voice will literally trail off into the throat and disappear and your airflow is not being powered anymore by the ab muscle. When the ab muscle stops working, the voice will literally trail off.
- Make sure that you lift your pitch and lift your volume so it makes it easy for the listener to understand you. You don’t need to yell at them at work. You just need to raise your voice. Have you ever heard that? Raise your voice and it means raise the pitch and raise the volume. It just makes it that much easier to understand every word. And these days with such short attention spans, people switch off really super-fast so you’ve got to really work hard to keep the attention of your audience.
So do those three things and you will sound more confident.