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Why Your Voice Matters, Part 1 – What’s Your Speech Awareness IQ? [Episode 2]

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(transcript)  You might be a business owner, an entrepreneur – maybe you are working hard climbing the corporate ladder – when I say Brand Voice – what do you think of? Some experts talk about your brand voice being your overall message. While that is true, it’s not what I mean when I talk about Voicing Your Brand. Your brand is YOU. And your physical voice is so important. Those who hold the power of the word hold the power of the world (or at least a portion of it.) Life is not lived on a keyboard. What you say is important, but how you say it is vital. In order to be successful in the workplace, as a creative or any type of entrepreneur, or your education, you must cultivate the ability to communicate well. The delivery system of your message matters.

Everyone has a vocal quality or speech habit that makes them cringe.

Think back for a minute to the last time you tuned out or turned off a speaker because you couldn’t listen to their voice. Maybe it was a webinar where you were really interested in the topic, a work meeting, a live video by someone who really knows their stuff, or maybe even a preacher with a great message but a voice that grates on you like fingernails on a chalkboard.

For me, it was pretty recently. I turned on a video from an online trainer who is really up on all the latest tech gadgets for live broadcasting – I wanted to hear his information, but less than 3 minutes in to the broadcast, I turned it off and moved on. Why? He paused and said UM, about every 6th word or so. So we’re not talking about finishing your thoughts and pausing by using UM as a filler word while you gather your next thoughts together – this was a habit, and UM was inserted multiple times in each sentence! It frustrated me so much that his valuable message was lost. I was ready to move on and find someone else to learn the same information from. Normally, my pet peeve that I can’t listen to is vocal fry, but in this case I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t listen.

So what’s your speech awareness IQ? I want you to think about this because it’s important to understand that we ALL have some vocal quality that we just cannot listen to, and before we can talk about fixing our own missteps, we need to learn all the ways a message can be left unheard simply because the voice sharing that message needs a bit of work.

I recently asked this question on Facebook:

What is a vocal quality or speech habit that you cannot listen to and makes you tune out?

Here are some of the actual comments I received on that post:

Vocal Fry

Upspeak and vocal fry.

Vocal fry. And it’s everywhere. If someone is saying something and is using vocal fry, it basically discredits everything they’re saying to me. I can’t help it. I just can’t stand it.

Saaaaaame. Thanks, this American Life.

Pacing

Boooooooooring cadence.

Monotonous and sing-songy – both equally awful

Upspeak/ Uptalk

when they lilt up (like you would when asking a question) repeatedly during the sentence. do you know what i mean?

there was a story on NPR about upspeak and vocal fry that I found fascinating

(Here’s a link to that article: NPR on Upspeak and Vocal Fry)

Filler Words

What i REALLY hate is when people use “like” multiple times in every sentence!

The other day I stopped listening to a pretty big influencer who had valuable information to share because every 6th word or so was UM.

Poor grammar, filler words “um” “like”…

Smacking lips and ums

Comment: What is vocal fry?

answer: several posts of YouTube videos Kim Kardashian

Tone

some speakers, esp women, have a way of speaking that makes me think of kindergarten teachers…very high pitched, there’s a quilt lady who talks like this, very grating. And yes, I know that sometimes it’s just a person’s voice, but, ugg.

Speaking in too high a pitch

flatline —— no interest

A low, quiet tone. It is hard to hear, and it seems that the presenter is just not engaged in the effort of communicating to his or her audience. And one more… Vocal Fry. So ostentatious and annoying. Get over it, ladies!

Other Comments

Poor grammar!

Nasality. I just can’t.

Mispronunciation of common words:

ex-cetera, realator, Nuculer

People who take forever to get to the point, and people who keep talking after they’ve made their point.

“I’m all” ….blah blah

“He goes”… blah blah

Ya know

Mumbling

Three things are speech-killers for me:

1) When the speaker doesn’t engage with the audience.

2) When a speaker reads their notes as individual sentences rather than in a conversational tone.

3) When a speaker states a key point, immediately followed by “what I mean by that is…”

“With that said…”

Wet mouth noises.

Hearing someone swallow while talking

It seemed everyone had an opinion, and they were valid.  

What we all need to recognize is that certain speech and vocal habits will make your message harder for people to hear.

I’m going to insert here something really important – You are your brand. You are who you are, and that includes your voice. But just as you can enhance your physical image by changing how you dress or some of your habits, or mannerisms, you can enhance your vocal quality as well – without changing who you are at your core. You want to be heard – or you probably wouldn’t be here, am I right?

Thanks so much for joining me in the studio today – I hope I’ve given you something to think about  – be sure to visit the show notes at tamiromani.com/vyb002 for links I’ve mentioned.

I want to leave you with this one thought – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “O, how wonderful is the human voice! It is indeed the organ of the soul!”

Your voice matters. Your story matters. What you say is important, but how you say it is vital. So let’s work together to unlock your authentic voice so you can be heard. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll see you next time…

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