The Winter conversations for 2017 have been with female lawyers within Australia’s multinational firms. I find it fascinating that the same vocal problems keep presenting themselves across all industries. Some of which, I am going to share with you over my next few blogs.
The first problem that does affects a large number of people, is that their voice doesn’t match their professional profile. In meetings, I always get an initial response of, that sounds interesting but I don’t see how it applies to me. When I explain why the voice may not be matching their professional profile, nearly always, they can think of someone like that. For example – a person’s voice might be really high pitched, they talk too quickly, use an apologetic or depressed tone with empty content and when you put it all together it makes it difficult to take them seriously. They can be highly educated and know more about their field than anyone but if their voice doesn’t reflect their professional ability, the listener can get stuck thinking about the terrible voice and miss the important content within the conversation.
The voice tells a story as soon as you open your mouth: Where you grew up, what sort of education you had, what sort of family values you had etc. So, while your pitch might be telling one story, your voice tells another and if there is a gap between the two, you may leave your listener wondering which is true. This can create an unwanted and unnecessary OPT OUT option for the listener.
The second problem is: There are an extraordinary amount of people delivering their vocal content with what we call “vocal fry”. In the simple terms, this is a lazy way of speaking. Think of someone slumping down in a chair, this is what the vocal chords are doing. Doing this means they don’t have enough air pressure behind them, which when you are talking about sympathetic vibrations; the vibration that you use to send that message; you haven’t attached everything that you can to that sound. It will come across half-hearted and not serious. This way of speaking doesn’t belong in the corporate world but unfortunately, it has become a societal issue, affecting their position within an extremely competitive market.
Many times, it is the front-line staff, the receptionist or the EA’s that have this problem and since they are the first step in client interaction, it leaves room for misinterpretation or losing the deal/sale because it is not giving the right impression.
The good news is that there is a solution. A vocal boot camp is needed to retrain the vocal chords. Just like any other muscles, you go to the gym train your leg muscles by doing squats, your vocal chords also need to be worked out.
In September, I am going to be running a free vocal boot camp. If you or someone you know might be interested click here and register to be first in line when it is released.