You hear the sound of your voice on the answering machine or voicemail and you are appalled by what you hear. Do you really sound like that?
“The good news is that you probably sound a lot better than what you hear on a tape. There are two reasons for this, says Monique Harrisberg, doyen of voice training in South Africa and CEO of The Voice Clinic, an international communication training company. “People are use to talking to other people, not to a machine. Without the human interface, we tend to lose our natural rhythms and intonations. We aren’t aware of how much the presence of the other person influences how to speak and that we only discover when we hear a recording,” Harrisberg explains.
Another reason is that the human voice needs a much wider band-pass than electronic devices give it; thus, there is greater complexity and resonance in your voice as it is heard in the air. “Telephonic devices pass only what is absolutely necessary for intelligibility,” she says.
If you are really interested in finding out how you sound when you talk to people, you need to do the following:
- Record yourself when you are actually having genuine conversations with real people- preferably friends. You want to catch your unguarded and natural speaking style, and use a decent recording device that can do justice to the richness of your voice.
- Give yourself a chance to get to know your voice. Most people turn the machine off so fast that they never get to hear that they are a lot better than they think they are. On the other hand, you may just find out that you speak just like your parents or that the pitch of your voice is a lot higher than you hoped it was or that you do not speak as clearly as you would have liked. “In this case, it is imperative that you go for a voice and communication skills analysis so that a trained facilitator can identify your individual voice problems and guide you towards a training program that will help you improve the areas of your voice that trouble you, whether clarity of speech, accent neutralisation, tone and modification or projection, explains Harrisberg.
Research shows that only 7% of a person’s verbal and non-verbal communication comes from the actual intended words that are spoken, 55% from image and language and 38% by the tone of a person’s voice (sincere, happy, angry, etc).
“Too many people don’t come across the way that they intend to and for most of them this revelation comes as a total surprise,” Harrisberg concludes.
Call the Voice Clinic today to arrange a free assessment of your voice or visit our website www.thevoiceclinic.co.za to your book your assessment online.