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June 19, 2014

Improve Your Voice, Improve Your Negotiations

Business

Jeff Cochran

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A UCLA study shows that 93% of communication is non-verbal, and nearly 40% of it has to do with tone of voice. To negotiate well, speakers must practice their vocal tones to project a positive image both in person and over the phone. To achieve the desired pitch and tone, here are a number of methods a person can employ while practicing their speeches:

Sit up straight:

Keeping proper posture expands the diaphragm and loosens the throat muscles, ensuring proper airflow. This allows your voice to resonate more than if you sit slumped or with your head down.

Use your abdominal muscles 

When you inhale, breathe in low so you can feel your abdominal muscles expanding. When you speak and exhale, expand your abdominals so the air doesn’t only come from your throat. This increases the volume and strength of your voice to give a more powerful sound. While you may not be talking like James Earl Jones or Michael Clarke Duncan, you will certainly have a more impressive sound.

Eliminate nasality

People who have a naturally more nasal voice tend to be less impressive in the boardroom or around the negotiating table. If your voice has a nasal quality, it is because the air is escaping through your nose when you speak and not exiting through your mouth.

To practice changing this, feel the difference between the positioning of your tongue and mouth while practicing different sounds. For a more nasally sound, keep your tongue on or close to the roof of your mouth. Lowering the tongue will simultaneously allow more air to escape through your mouth instead of your nose.

Practice your accent

 If you speak with an accent that is naturally more difficult to understand, then try modifying it slightly to connect better with your audience. People respond with more enthusiasm when a speaker sounds familiar, as they feel a subconscious kinship with him or her. Make use of this curious quirk of human nature, and if possible, modify your voice to sound more similar to that of your audience.

Lower your pitch

Persons with naturally low voices are generally perceived as more powerful and more trustworthy than those with higher pitched voices. Sean Connery, Morgan Freeman, and Clint Eastwood all speak in lower registers and are all famous for playing strong characters. Morgan Freeman is particularly noted for playing characters that sound sincere and trustworthy.

By strengthening your voice and sounding more powerful, you will portray the appearance of authority. Cultivating your tone and timbre will allow you to communicate beneath and through the words you use, leaving a much deeper impression on your audience.

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