Say it with power

A study conducted in 2011 at the University of Michigan looked into how various speech characteristics influence people’s decisions to participate in telephone surveys. Researchers found that what mattered was tone, pause, and pace. Low, relaxed, measured voices made the most impact on listeners. Pauses were found to matter most of all. The most influential speakers paused regularly and naturally. Here are some tips that will allow you to project more confidence, power, and authority through your voice:

Speak in a low tone. Low vocal tone exudes confidence and authority. Margaret Thatcher, at the beginning of her career, spoke with a very high pitch. People said she sounded shrill. She was then extensively coached to lower her voice tone and sound more credible and authoritative. And the rest is history.

Avoid question inflection, or upspeak, especially when you state your desired salary, give your client a quote, or introduce yoursef. This makes it sound like you doubt what you are saying. Make sure that your voice stays strong until the end of each sentence. Say it, don’t ask!

Vary the pitch and volume of your voice depending on what you are saying. If you use the same pitch and volume, you will sound boring, disinterested and disengaged.

Lose filler words, all those „ums” and „urs” and „sos”. They show your insecurity by giving away the fact that you are not comfortable with a pause. Embrace the pause. Don’t fill it.

Speak loudly enough for people to hear you.

Don’t rush it. Speak at a moderate pace – not too fast and not too slow – with a lot of energy.

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