Tuesday, February 28, 2012

10 Key Elements to use your Voice to Speak Confidently

Studies have shown that people who speak better than others are perceived as being able to attract attention easily, stimulating, exhilarating and intelligent…and oh! Guess what? They make more money as well…name any good speaker you can think of, Shiv Khera, Oprah Whinfrey, etc…
One quote, by a very famous speaker that I always remember is, “If everything in the world is taken away from me, except the gift of speech, I can earn back everything that I have lost”. Such is the power of speaking effectively. Here, I wish to draw your focus towards the gift of voice that each of us possesses. The question is – do we use it to the fullest? Have we ever noticed that people who stammer and stutter while talking, sing beautifully? Have we ever taken a soft-spoken manager for granted? Have we ever felt dominated by a person just because of the way he talks? Well, if you notice, all of this is linked with voice and speaking skills.
If you are aggressive, it will not only appear in your work, but also in the way you communicate with your colleagues, family, friends. A docile person will always be dominated and don’t blame the world for it…I will blame YOU alone. ‘X’ will dominate, if YOU let him do so. All you have to do is, use your voice effectively and that will happen once you gain the confidence towards it. Let’s see how you can attain this level for yourself:
  1. To start off with, practice some simple breathing exercises. We have heard of the breathe in and out exercises. While practicing it, just remember that if you breathe in, in say, 3 seconds, breathe out in 6. Start with 15 minutes a day, thereafter, continue it for at least 30 to 45 minutes daily. You will realize that you will never get breathless while talking.
  2. Look into the eye of the person while talking to him. It shows that you are confident about what you are saying and that you know your content well. If he is trying to dominate you, he will not be able to; just don’t take your eyes away from his eyes.
  3. A confident voice does not have to be loud; it just needs to have the right intention, which puts the listeners into a thinking and responsive mode. All you have to do is attack the emotional quotient of your listener…that’s it!
  4. Get your grammar correct. You will only lose a lost battle even more, if your grammar is out to graze the grass. This clearly means that you should speak as much in the language of your communication as possible, in order to make mistakes and learn out of them. (Remember the energy drink advertisement on TV, where a young gymnast challenges his board, by saying that “Mum says that I can make as many mistakes while practicing, but in the finals, there is no scope for mistakes). Speak with people who you are comfortable correcting you and then reach out for your prey.
  5. Open your mouth while talking. If you speak with your lips close enough, you will only encourage a ‘bored to death’ audience. Use your jaw muscles to talk, so that you don’t encourage murmurs of people enquiring what you ‘thus spake’.
  6. Hold your head high while talking. You don’t have to be ashamed of anything while speaking. On doing this gesture, the throw of your words will be distant and crystal clear.
  7. You don’t have to be loud; just have the right volume and pitch while addressing an audience.
  8. Speak with some rhythm, rather than sounding monotone. If not, be ready for some tomatoes and eggs.
  9. If you carry and MTI (mother-tongue-influence), please work on reduction of the same, else, don’t be surprised to see a laughing face in your audience.
  10. Have the right rate of speech. Neither do we expect to hear an Azharuddin nor do we expect an AB Vajpayee. Speak at a pace in which your audience can understand and comprehend you, else they will lose interest in your spiel.
Just try and follow these simple and ‘tried and tested’ steps towards a more persuasive, expressive and powerful voice. Such voice control will take you places…I guarantee it!


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