We all use “credibility detectors” when listening to someone talk to us. These sensors in the brain are activated by tone of voice and body language, not words. They give us important information about the speaker’s sincerity, integrity, and emotional intelligence. Some people equate this to the “gut-level hunch” we often sense. When kids listen to adults speak, they listen to the “strength” of the message for cues about whether or not the adult means what he or she is saying.
Do you “say it like you mean it”? Women often are not taken seriously for one of three reasons. First, her voice may be too quiet, making her sound unsure and non-authoritative. Second, she is too high-pitched, making her sound like a little girl or a cheerleader. Or third, she puts more inflection at the end of a sentence, making her sound as if she is asking a question. Some men, on the other hand, have a tendency to speak too flatly and without inflection. People hear what is being said but do not listen, not because the topic was tedious, but because of the tiresome delivery. Moreover, men are prone to rough, gravelly voices from fatigue, not drinking enough water, and tension affecting the voice muscles.
Whatever the nature of your business, your voice is one of your most valuable assets. The bright first impression you make with effectual body language and a strong, clear voice could open up doors to your personal and professional future. People rarely think about their voices and their speech, let alone invest the time needed to maximize their voice and speech skills. Others learn who you are, what you are all about, and even how much you care about them by what you say and how you say it. When you master the skills of aligning what you want people to understand with the manner in which you speak, you vastly improve your chance of leaving a memorable impression. And you just might find yourself becoming an optimist.