As a vocal coach, I am often asked how someone can make their “phone voice” more effective and convincing. In business, most communication still happens over the phone and how you present yourself in this arena is extremely important. It has been proven that regarding human communication, 55% is body language, 38% is tone and only 7% are the exact words you use. If you are only communicatng over the phone, the percentage that tone plays is much, much higher. Here are a few tips you might find helpful to improve the tone of your voice:
1) Annunciate – even in this wonderful age of technology, many times connections can still be poor and it can be a very frustrating experience when the person at the other end of the phone is mumbling and repeated requests have to be made to repeat information. Put your endings on your words. This one thing will help you clarify your communication.
2) Sit up straight in your chair - how you hold your body will affect your breathing and your energy which in turn will affect the energy in your voice. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who sounds like they’re about to fall asleep.
3) Smile - simply smiling will affect the energy and tone of your voice to give it more warmth and make it more appealing.
4) Match – if the person you are speaking with is loud and likes to talk in short, declarative sentences, try to match their energy somewhat. They will feel more connected to what you have to say. If they are slow to speak and soft spoken, slow down your own speech so they don’t feel steam rolled by your pace. Matching is a very important communication tool and while it might seem a little inauthentic to your normal method of talking, it will help you connect better with the person on the other end of the phone.
5) Pause – allowing brief pauses in a conversation will convey to the other person that you are taking the conversation seriously and giving careful consideration before you answer. They will appreciate you taking the time to do so. Be careful not to overuse this as you might come off as uncertain or unprepared.
6) Vary your pitch and speed if you have a lot of information to convey. This will keep your voice interesting and the person on the other end of the phone engaged. Remember, the human brain is constantly looking for patterns and reasons to “tune out”. Speaking on a very narrow range of tones or at one constant pace will make the other person lose interest quickly in what you have to say.
7) Be yourself – after all is said and done, there really is no such thing as a “phone voice”. It’s just you being you at your best. Relax and stay true to yourself. Professional people who are prepared ARE relaxed and confident and people like to do business with people who exude this aura of competence.
Practice these seven tips and you will be communicating better than ever over the phone!