The Voice

Once upon a time, a long time ago (but not in a galaxy far, far away), a Manager reached out to me to coach one of her staff on customer service skills. Now, it has always been my customary approach to come up with my own assessment before I jump into any predetermined course of action. I had a casual chat with this person to determine if customer service knowledge was really the issue.

As it turned out, it was not. The person’s main issue was shyness and the inability to connect with others. In other words, she was afraid to use her voice. I had several coaching sessions with this individual to build her confidence. On my last session, my final advice to her was that everyone has a voice and that voice deserves to be heard.

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The human voice and our ability to vocalize is unique. Our voice impacts others in many ways. It can inspire, hypnotize, invoke fear, motivate, cause anger, and even put someone to sleep. Some people’s vocal prowess is so good that it is immediately identifiable with character performances. Below are some of my favourites:

  • James Earl Jones – Darth Vader
  • Peter Cullen – Optimus Prime
  • Anthony Hopkins – Hannibal Lecter
  • Sean Connery – James Bond

Some possess a voice quality that is so calming that they are the #1 choice to narrate documentaries and do voice-over work. In case you’ve haven’t guessed it, I’m talking about Morgan Freeman. I mean c’mon man! He was chosen to voice God in Bruce Almighty; need I say more?

As a leader, using the right tonality is as important (if not more) as using the right words. A deep sounding voice is usually associated with wisdom; something a good leader should always possess. Using an inappropriate tone can immediately elicit a negative reaction from your audience. This means in tough conversations, you might end up losing even before the battle begins. If you have a high-pitched, nasally or raspy sounding voice, there are plenty of exercises you can find online to improve the quality of your voice. Take care of it as it is an important leadership asset!  

Strong communicators know the value of intonation, just as Trainer Indy mentioned – key to being a good leader is to be aware of the words you use AND how to comes across. Like the article? Check out his course on Leadership Communication.

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