Your voice makes an impression. It matters in face-to-face interactions. It’s doubly important when on the telephone because the receiver can’t see your expressions, gestures, or other body language. To convey emotions and intentions, you’ll need to use your voice. Luckily you are well-equipped, with many vocal tools.
- Volume: Too loud comes across as harsh or aggressive. Too soft can be hard to hear and create the impression that you are timid.
- Rate: Too fast is hard to follow, especially when language barriers exist. It can also create the impression that you are trying to pull a fast one. Too slow can be boring. You might also create the impression that you aren’t very bright.
- Pitch: Creates emotion and interest. It gives your voice a melodic quality that can, if used well, make you easier to listen to.
- Timbre: The sound that distinguishes one voice from another. While it’s difficult to change, you might have to work on it if your natural timbre creates misunderstandings. For example, your voice sounds sinister or whiny.
- Emphasis: This is bringing attention to specific words or syllables to make your point more clear.
- Enunciation: This is the clarity with which you speak. It helps the listener distinguish one sound from another so that they can hear the specific words. This is far more important in telephone conversation than in face-to-face interactions.
- Silence/Pauses: The space between the words can add meaning. Use them intentionally to create a powerful impact.
It’s often the case that how you say it matters much more than what you say. When you are on the telephone, pay greater attention to your vocals. Use your tools to create the impression you intend.
Image credit: Nana B Agyei via Flickr (cc)