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Telling Someone They Need Voice Improvement Is Like Handing Them a Bottle of Scope!
Nancy Daniels, Voice Coach
One of the most frequent questions I hear is how do I tell my spouse, my friend, or a colleague that they need to improve their speaking voice?
This really is a tough issue because if you approach someone advising them that their speaking voice needs some work, they are probably going to be offended.
If we had the ability to hear ourselves the way everyone else does, this would not be an issue. Unfortunately, how you sound to the outside world is not how you sound inside your head which is why you probably dont like hearing your voice on your voicemail, answering machine or some other type of recording equipment. Therein lies the difficulty.
Most people believe that their speaking voice is deeper in pitch than it really is. The majority of the population hear themselves in this manner. Only a small percentage actually hear themselves higher in pitch than what it really is. And, while most people may be dismayed by what they hear on the recording equipment, they tend to promptly forget it again, because it is not the warm sound they distinguish in their mind or inside their head.
Remember What you hear on your answering machine or voicemail is the truth. What you hear in your head is a lie.
So, the question becomes, how do you tell someone that they should seriously consider voice training? I have found that there are a couple of ways to approach that individual without hurting their feelings.
1. If they are soft-spoken, you can tell them that they are hard to hear or hard to understand.
2. If they speak in a monotone, explain to them that voice lessons would teach them how to speak with color, with life, with emotion.
3. If they mumble, tell them that you have difficulty understanding their diction.
4. If they speak too loudly, tell them as gently as possibly that their voice hurts your ears.
5. If they sound too young, explain to them that they sound too young and that their voice gives the wrong impression, especially over the phone.
6. If their voice is excessively nasal, tell them that they do not sound professional.
In all of the above situations, there is a good possibility that once you explain the problem to them as diplomatically as possible they will probably agree. Most people have heard themselves on recording equipment and deep down inside they know the truth. By stating the obvious to them, you have only reinforced what they may have been reluctant to want to acknowledge; and, they will probably thank you for your advice.
International Speaker and Voice Specialist, Nancy Daniels, has been involved in voice training since 1977. A graduate of Gettysburg College with a BA in music, she discovered the techniques for improving the sound of the speaking voice while in graduate school at American University in Washington, D.C.
In addition to her guest speaking engagements, Nancy offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice training and public speaking skills throughout the United States and Canada. For those are unable to work with her directly, there is Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. For more information on voice training, future workshops, and Voicing It!, visit her Voice Dynamic website. http://www.voicedynamic.com
Nancy Daniels Having taught 1,000\'s of people how to find their \'real\' voice for more than 25 years, I can\'t imagine a job more gratifying! To witness the increase in their self-confidence is incredibly rewarding.