A Five-Step Plan to Upgrade your Phone (Voice)
We work remotely and attend global conference calls. We leave voice messages and host webinars where a voice seems to belong to a PowerPoint slideshow rather than a human body. However, not many people think much about how their voice sounds on the phone, and if they did they’d probably say “I don’t like it.” We spend more thought on getting a new phone than we do attending to the voice others hear when they call. Considering there is no other voice exactly like yours anywhere in the world (even if Aunt Li always says you sound just like your brother) perhaps it’s time to step up your awareness and upgrade your phone voice instead of your phone. Here’s a plan designed to take you from Kermit to Kick-Butt on the phone.
1. Keep your intention in mind throughout the call:
There is always a reason to call someone. You might be calling to say “hello” or to say “goodbye.” You might be selling or you might be mining data. You might be full of ideas to share, or full of news that can’t wait. Whatever the reason, for maximum impact, think it through first. Here are some possible intentions for calls:
- To discuss and resolve an issue.
- To introduce yourself to someone and get to know them better.
- To get your working relationship off to a good start.
- To get a meeting on the calendar.
- To find out why they called you.
Suggestion: Every time you talk to another person, set an intention to make them feel important … because they are!
2. Think happy and healthy
Remember that your voice is the voice of your mind. If you feel bad, we hear it. If you are angry we hear it. If you are from Detroit, we hear it. If you aren’t prepared or don’t know how to do that demo in the webinar, we hear it all. Be ready for every call. Pump yourself up, and remember that when you smile, we hear that too.
3. Get up and move
Too many of us sit in our chairs all hunched over while we talk on the phone. Your body cannot support your voice when you are slumped over, and the lack of energy in your body will reflect as a lack of energy in YOU. Get up, and move around, or sit up tall on the edge of your chair. Breathe and use your breath as you speak.
4. Slow down
Listen to the way you pronounce your words. You may understand what you want to say, but can anyone else? Take the time to articulate clearly, and allow space in-between for a breath here and there. Be comfortable with those pauses. Breathing also helps you increase your intelligibility because it allows the rest of us time to consider what you are saying.
5. Speak up
Don’t talk to the hand! Most people drop their energy, and thus the pitch of their voice, while on the phone. In 2009, 20-30 million people worked remotely at least once a week. I have clients who work with teammates they have never met face to face. Do you work in your pj’s.? It’s great to be casual, but the effect on your phone voice can be a nightmare. Therefore, for the best quality phone voice, always pretend you are speaking to a room full of people, even when it’s just you and your teddy bear.
How about you? Do you have concerns about the way others perceive of you on the phone? Do you have any suggestions that have worked for you to sound better on the phone? We’d love to hear from you!