What does singing have to do with speaking? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Recently, I attended Roger Love’s “Voice of Success” seminar. If you don’t know Roger Love, he’s the #1 Vocal Coach to the stars. He’s worked with everyone from John Mayer to Stevie Wonder and Gwen Stefani…there’s far too many to list. He’s the go-to expert for celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Jeff Bridges when these actors need to find their voices for singing roles. Indeed, it was quite humbling to sit in those seats and learn from the best.
Heading out to L.A., I was pretty curious about the link between voice techniques and my work; specifically I was interested in learning how the best communicators leverage elements of music, emotion and words to control people’s perceptions and motivate listeners to action. As I discovered at the seminar, it is this technique of controlling pitch, pace, tone, volume, and melody of our voices that drives the outcomes of our communications; NOT polished powerpoint presentations.
So many of us in the business world have been taught to be ‘professional’, to avoid the appearance of being too personal or emotional when we’re presenting and to instead, focus on creating slick and smooth presentations. Unfortunately, this thinking has created a lot of boring, monotone speakers with a lot of data and little impact. We all end up sounding the exact same. Think about it: When was the last time you heard someone speak and it truly moved you? We’ve become more concerned with fitting into ‘professional’ speaking norms and we have, in effect lost our own voices.
What does your voice say about you? When you listen to your voice on a recording or on your voice mail, do you like what you hear? Conversely, what impression do you form about someone based on how they sound over the phone? I know I’m not the only one who has been completely surprised by meeting someone whose appearance didn’t match their voice on the phone at all.
I had so many key takeaways to share with my clients and followers. First and foremost is that we have a choice in how our voice sounds. It’s true. Most, if not all of us think that our voice is just what we’re born with and that’s that. And even for someone like me who is a communication practitioner, I was surprised to learn just how much control we have over our voice – and therefore, how people perceive us.
If you ever have taken any communication class, you learned that non-verbals carry much more weight in our communications than actual words spoken. This is true. And what’s also true is that it’s the voice – and those elements of pitch, pace, volume and melody that DRIVE the non-verbal meaning for others. It’s our voice that allows us to connect with others. Connection builds relationships, and relationships drive results.
It was fascinating to learn that most people – professional speakers or not – only use one or two different sounds in our voices when we communicate even though we all have an entire range of melody to choose from. The idea is that different melodies, just like in songs create different emotions for the listener. There’s no reason to be monotone anymore!
There are voice techniques that we can learn to build stronger relationships, to deliver more impactful presentations and for leaving messages on voice mail that lead to better outcomes. I learned that when the pitch of our voices goes up – or what Roger refers to as an ascending melody – that it makes people happy. Happiness is a very good thing when we want people to like us, trust us and do business with us.
There’s so much to learn in order to become a master communicator and influencer to enhance relationships, become better leaders and achieve our desired results. How can we control our voice better and ultimately change this incredible tool in order to achieve what we want out of life? Learn the techniques and practice, practice, practice. I’m new to the journey myself but very excited about where I can go.
Roger’s best-selling book, “Set Your Voice Free” is the newest addition to my library and there’s also voice techniques to practice. And, for my next presentation coming up, it’s going to me, my story and my voice. No “book on a podium” (another Roger Love-ism) and no PowerPoint. According to the master, I’m the power, and I’ll make the point.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can change your voice to master your own communications, I would encourage you to check out Roger’s website and his resources at www.rogerlove.com and www.theperfectvoice.com.
I will report back on my progress in the coming months!