What Is Your Vocal and Verbal Brand Saying?
The way you speak and sound IS your vocal brand. When people think of you, it's what comes to mind; from virtual meetings and presentations to interviews and first impressions.
The thing is: Even if your verbal brand isn't terribly misrepresenting you, it may not be doing you any favors. And there's a LOT you can do about it.
Your voice and speaking style play a pivotal role in your professional success and the way people think of you socially. It also hugely impacts how you perceive yourself.
If your smart ideas, clever jokes, or interesting stories are being sabotaged by your verbal and vocal style, do something about it. That quip you made in yesterday's meeting should have brought smiles of admiration, not blank stares!
Tone and delivery
Is your voice restricted to your throat, strangled by nerves or suppressed by tension? To have your message heard and received the way you intend, it needs to flow freely from your relaxed mouth, jaw, and throat; your body should be grounded, relaxed, and primed for projecting forward momentum. Your breathing needs to be deliberate and well-supported, allowing you to stay present, calm, and in control... ready to add voice, energy, and impact. You can learn these skills AND ways to carry them over into high-stakes situations.
When you speak with lots of relaxed, forward-flowing air, your voice will sound resonant, warm, credible, and persuasive. And it's not hard to learn how!
Your voice and delivery can oftentimes trump even your words, so you'd be smart to pay some attention to it. My clients are smart go-getters and they do what they have to to get what they want and need in life. If part of that includes developing a more authoritative, compelling, or magnetic voice and image, that is what they will invest in.
We do it together. We'll often record them (it doesn't hurt!), observe, discuss, and incorporate practiced techniques that will produce the results and impression we are looking for.
When they know exactly what they're doing that is or isn't working, and how to change it, they can make permanent improvements!
Questions to ask yourself:
What kind of feeling does your voice leave people with?
Do you sound confident and trustworthy? Calm and knowledgeable? Or are you unsure-sounding and questioning in either your tone or words?
Is your voice richly toned and expressive? Or does your voice lack depth and color and your speech sound monotonous?
Do you get to the point and express your ideas succinctly? Or do you "uh, um..." and circumlocute around the block a few times?
All of these factors play a huge part in a listener's perception of you--and the way you start to perceive yourself.
What words are you choosing?
Is the vocabulary you're using appropriate for clients--or for other professionals with a similar background to you? You need to gauge the knowledge and background of your listeners and adapt your words accordingly. Does your phrasing sometimes sound abrupt? Or... Wishy-washy? "Just, like, well, actually..."? These tendencies do nothing for your verbal brand.
Is your language clear and direct? Use too many words and people don't receive your message as powerfully and will be less likely to follow your call to action.
That's an ineffective verbal brand. You can easily change this losing formula for a winning one by paying attention to the words you use and learning how to be more succinct.
Ways to Nurture Your Verbal Brand
Every time you speak with people in your daily life, be it in a conversation or a presentation, is an opportunity to observe, experiment with, or tweak your verbal brand. Start by incorporating one new learned element... like, opening and relaxing your throat. Just saying, "How are you doing?" in a gorgeous, fully resonant voice makes people feel great. Pair it with a smile, and guess who has a new admirer? ;)
A musician learns from a music teacher, a tennis player learns from a coach... Whether you know it or not, you have a verbal brand; and yes, you definitely have to work at it--because it represents you and it is important to your present and future success, not to mention your overall well-being.
I challenge you to record yourself (preferably with video)--Don't be afraid! Analyze what you hear and what you see, objectively and without "judging;" think about what you've read here. Apply one or two key strategies you learn (these can be mastered, as well). The results will be life-changing.
If you need help making your verbal brand reflect the capable, authoritative and marvelous human being you are, I'm here for you!
*Listen to my podcast interview where I talk about voice with branding expert, Andrea Wojnicki.
Voice, vocal brand, business, professional development, speaking, communication skills