Voice Power

If you have been following the Body Language this week, you have already gotten 2 important tips on facial expressions, 5 categories of reminders on head movements, and key information on how to position and move your lower body for establishing better connections with others. The messages are short (as promised) with techniques that can be quickly applied. However, none of it is valuable until you test it and experience better results for yourself. It is all information that is obvious when it is pointed out to us but we do most of it subconsciously. 

I will always enjoy learning more about body language, but for these messages, I am purposefully absorbing volumes of information and sharing only bite-size pieces. I am doing this because I know you are much smarter than I am and you have access to the same information I do. I am assuming that bringing these bits to your consciousness is adding some value to you and giving you something to use immediately. If nothing more is accomplished this week than for you and I to become more aware of how our body language influences relationships, then my job will be successfully accomplished.

Here is what I ask in return. Share a bit about your world with me. Send me an email. Let me know if this is helpful. Also, let me know what leadership topics/issues are important to you and those you influence. I am honestly curious to know what matters to you right now. Out of the hundreds of emails that I have sent in these past 9 months, there has never been a response that wasn’t met with a personal reply. Beyond that, I am more than willing to press into topics you are facing right now.

Public Service Announcement complete. Let’s get to today’s topic – The Voice

In the realm of body language, there is nothing we are more susceptible to than the voice. Listening to another person at the highest levels possible is a full-body experience. It is the voice that ties all other movements and body positions together or alarms our intuition that something does not quite add up. I mean, finish this sentence,

“It’s not what you say, it is ______ ______ ______ _____ .”

How can a non-seeing person identify a speaker and know so much about those they meet? Every one of us has our own unique voice. I am married to an identical twin. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say to one of them,

“Oh my gosh! You sound just like your sister!”

I say nonsense! Spend a large amount of time around anyone and you will begin to take on each other’s mannerism and expression. But, I have always been able to distinguish my wife’s voice from her sister’s even when I cannot see them. It’s true they sound very similar but there are plenty of distinctions between them that makes it easy to tell which one is talking.

Think about this. What is the most crucial tool of a hypnotist? It’s not the pocket watch that is reaching your subconscious. It is the proper application of voice tones that is reaching the place where our imagination lies. The words matter but not nearly as much as how they are said. Much, much more could be said here but permit me to move on.

My point is that our voice is part of our signature and most importantly, it is another tool in the box that we can learn to use more skillfully to positively influence others.

Here are three clues to use today.

Emotions are conveyed through voice tone (and body language) and content is conveyed through words. 

Without proper voice tone, we cannot control the tenor of the conversation. Think right now, what is the best company you have done business with in terms of customer service? For me, it is Cabela’s. Just for fun, call their customer service 800.234.4444. See how many rings it takes for them to answer and pay attention to the tone of voice of the person on the other end. Tell the person you are looking for blowgun darts, for example. My experience has been that I had a friend on the line who will stop at nothing to help me find what I want. And guess what! They don’t pretend to be an expert with a need to belittle you. They just go on a mutual quest with you to hunt for the item. (see what I did there?)

Smile when you dial. (A hack for phone calls)

People on the other end of the phone can differentiate between a smiling and non-smiling tone. Smiling raises you voice intonation to a level that elicits a sympathetic response. As the song lyrics say,

“When you are smiling, the whole world smiles with you.”

Leverage the Five Dials of Your Voice Dashboard

  1. Tone– the pitch/range
    A sentence that ends in a high tone is a question. Using this at the wrong time can cause doubt. But you can also create doubt when you want someone to question a decision.
    A sentence that ends flat is a statement.
    A sentence that ends on a low note is a command. Use this when you need to be persuasive.
    For a good laugh, watch Jerry Seinfeld’s take on voice tone.
  2. 2. Tempo– speed of your speech
    Be aware that the tempo of your speech properly conveys the content
  3. 3. Timber – the clarity of your voice (“did you eat yet” v. “jeetyet”)
    Pronounce words all the way.
  4. 4. Volume
  5. 5. Mute Button
    One strategically way to use the Mute Button is to pause at key moments to draw more interest. Another is to let the other person be the smartest person in the room and have the last word.

(Source: Kathy McAfee)

I will leave you with this quote from Maya Angelou.

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning”


Rick Burris

PS – I suggest you go back and read the messages from this week and see what you can put in practice today.


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