Do you want to know how you sound to others? Record yourself speaking in various circumstances to learn how you can talk more efficiently. Listen for what you say and how you are delivering your message.
When you are excited, stressed, or nervous, your voice may go up in pitch and become loud. If you see yourself doing this, take a deep breath, and ease.
Do you speak too slowly or too quickly? People listen at a specific rate. If you talk slower or faster than they are listening, they will not hold your message as well. Keep local differences in mind–what seems too fast in New Mexico may not be in New Jersey.
Fillers are, like, you know, irritating. When you hear yourself using um, uh, you know, like and other similar fillers, it is a stall because your lips got ahead of your brain. Try to slow down and focus on what you are saying.
Make compelling statements? You will sound vague and lack credibility if your voice goes “up” at the top of sentences. To see what I mean, ask anything out loud. Do you hear how your voice goes “up” at the end of the question, in the hope of an answer? Now, say, “I am an accomplished speaker.” Did that also sound like a question? If so, focus on making your speech stronger.
Persuasive speech does not mean vulgar speech. If you regularly pepper your speech with a curse, clean it up. No one will be hurt if you don’t swear, but many will be if you do.
Do you obstruct and interrupt others? Calm yourself down and let others speak. Listen to them; don’t just wait for them to take a breath so you can quickly jump in.
Temper your volume. If you talk too quietly, it will be tough for others to hear you. If you chat too loudly, it can be unsettling.
Look at people when you talk to them. It is polite and makes it more comfortable for them to hear your voice. This is particularly important for those who have a hearing loss but will help everyone to understand you better.
Watch for oral cues to see if your communication is getting through. Does the person agree through a quick nod, or do they look puzzled? Are they looking past you or fidgeting? Those could be indications that they aren’t getting it or they aren’t involved.
Remember that much of your message is delivered non-verbally. Your facial expressions, posture, gestures, even the way you dress yourself all affect how your message is interpreted and received.
Speaking Skills for Leaders
Leadership language serves a particular purpose that is separate from the vocabulary used in a non-leadership position. Your message is responsible for presenting meaning about the future and the present, demonstrating resolve in the face of adversity, explaining complex tradeoffs, connecting matters others don’t usually see, calling on the company to uphold standards and commitments, and infusing inspiration and purpose. This does not happen with non-professional, bland, or obscure language. As a leader, focus on being concrete, evocative, and specific.
Many leaders don’t know what to say because they don’t know what they exactly want. Before speaking, it is always better to ask yourself, “What’s going on today, and what do I really want?”
“But” is conflicting conjunction and should not be utilized after a positive phrase if you intend to be positive. Avoid using ‘but’ in your statements.
Don’t be superlative in your communication. When too much is described as “awesome,” “amazing,” “epic,” “incredible,” or “unbelievable,” very little actually is. As a leader, reduce the use of these adjectives while you speak, or else it will be hard for others to take you seriously.