To start out each new year, we ask the social networks, “Would you tell someone who needs to speak in public and/or business settings, that they’re voice is hard to understand.” Out of the many responses we received, here are three which I feel, reflect a communication trend in America.
“Absolutely… we are losing the art and the skill of face to face interaction. Interpersonal skills may be considered a ‘soft skill’ but it is one that is not often trained. What will give you a good ROI, is investing in the development of the soft skills of communication and prospecting skills (cold calling, networking, alliance building, referral gathering) and using them to bolster the virtual world… the online world will need to be taken ‘offline’ but only if you know how”.
“I truly believe that due to the lack of face to face conversations, as well as, texting instead of making a phone call, are some of the reasons that people are so angry and short with each other. Everyone is in such a hurry for an answer that they don’t even take the time to totally understand the question. Therefore, so much is lost in translation because we are left to making decisions without all of the necessary information”.
“If it’s not broken don’t fix it.” Nothing can take the place of building meaningful relationships and we can’t do that without personal interaction with each other”.
I totally agree with these comments. Most people who tell you that they can’t understand you, can’t tell you why? They may say you have a heavy accent, or you need to slow down, or you are too soft, etc. Please consider their comments as a gift, and here is what you can do to move ahead. The first step is to have a professional speaking voice coach analyze your voice, tell you exactly what the problems are, and offer recommendations for permanent changes. The good news is that it is easy to change a voice pattern and usually, it is only 1 or 2 problems that are holding you back from communicating clearly, confidently and powerfully.
To follow up on your analysis you have many options. If, in a conversation, you still need to translate from your native tongue into English you need to take an English as a Second Language course.
If you speak English and still can’t be understood easily and this includes both American and Foreign speakers, you can take one or more of the following actions steps.
Enroll in a private speaking voice coaching program
Enroll in a private accent reduction coaching program
Practice on your own using Speaking Voice Coaching CD’s or MP3′s,
Read 4 pages a day out loud paying attention to how you deliver your words.
Record yourself reading aloud and listen for improvement in the problems that were identified in your voice analysis.
Join your local Toastmaster’s International group and practice spontaneous speaking and giving speeches.
Being aware that your speaking voice is extremely important to getting what you want both professionally and personally is a huge step forward. Finding out what specifically you need to correct your voice is the next. Finally dedicating yourself to practicing until your speaking voice is confident, clear and powerful is the key.