Most people do not enjoy listening to a recording of their own voice, but doing so can be helpful for understanding how your audience hears your message. You may LOOK like a confident professional and your message might have an excellent point, but if you don’t sound confident, whatever you have to say may be ignored or misunderstood. When preparing yourself for an interview, presentation, or even to leave a voicemail, take the time to record yourself and listen to what others might be hearing.
Here are a few tips to help sound more like a confident professional:
Tone of voice
A soft voice may convey doubt or sadness, while speaking loudly with sharper tones may seem aggressive. Sarcasm can be hard to convey and the right kind of professional comedy requires excellent timing. Recording yourself and playing it back can help you better understand the exact emotion your tone of voice conveys.
Voice projection and volume
You want to speak loud and clear enough for your audience to hear you, yet you don’t want to seem like you’re shouting every word. Adjust your voice to match the setting and people around you. A phone call or small room doesn’t need projection, while an auditorium might need you to speak a little louder.
The inflection or modulation of your pitch and speaking pattern can be very useful when emphasizing key points. Voice inflection has the ability to change a sentence’s entire meaning. Failing to use inflection during a speech can result in a monotonous voice and cause boredom or easy distraction. At the other end, using a questioning voice inflection at the end of your sentence can come across as unconfident. Be careful of your own voice inflection because it has the ability to hinder or enhance your message.
Breathing and pace
People often rush through presentations or answering interview questions when they’re nervous or excited, which can make them difficult to understand. People who speak fast often breathe fast and struggle for air, which makes it really easy to identify someone that is nervous. Take a breath between phrasing to appear natural and relaxed.
These four tips can help you prepare for your next meeting, presentation, business call or interview.