Since trust is everything in our line of work, the ability to make people feel more positive towards you is everything. We think of our clothes and the things we say routinely. Then ignore the tone in which we say it.
That is a shame.
According to Professor Albert Mehrabian, tone of voice is about seven times as important as what you say. More specifically, he constructed what is called the 7-38-55-rule.
You may have heard the phrase; it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it? In professor Mehrabians world, things get a little more specific. It is 7% of what you say, 38% the tone of your voice while you say it, and 55% how you look while saying it.
I would expect that the importance of tone of voice correlates with the leap of faith you are asking your listener to take. That is, while your look and confidence may be critical when asking your country or company to follow your vision, it seems less so for someone telling kids not to eat batteries.
The apparent value of a battery-free diet carries in it its justification.
38% more omph
While there is no doubt that most speakers are well aware of the importance of body language, it is less evident for the tone of voice.
If there is a full 38 percent of added oomph to be added by tone-of-voice, it would be foolish to let this slip by you.
The good thing about the tone of voice is that you can practice awareness of this everywhere. Make an effort to maintain control of your voice the next time someone cuts in line or does something dangerous.
Or when you hammer your toes into the leg of the sofa. For me, this can be a shrill moment. If you tell me that you can carry yourself with the grace and dignity of twinkling star reborn in human shape, I don’t believe you.
There are a lot of variables in your voice. Probably more than you are aware of. You can speak slow and fast (although you should never talk with more than 140 words per minute). Talking fast is better for enthusiasm while talking slowly is more serious, but can also come across as disinterested.
We live in 2020, and there is an app for everything. Maybe these technological assistants can give you an outside perspective?
If you are wondering how fast you speak, swing by the AppStore or PlayStore and elicit help from apps such as Speeko (Apple
) or Talky Coach (Apple
) or Orai - AI Communication Coach (Apple
Virtual Speech (Google play
) even went so far as to create a Virtual Reality simulation of public speaking, so you get the feel of being on stage or want to rehearse being at a job interview at McKinsey or similar. You will need a VR headset, though.
(Just a note: I have no affiliation with any of these companies or receive any money for mentioning them.)
We chose to go to the moon?
Here’s an example that I couldn’t help including because I think it is fun.
Questions always end on a higher pitch, but the same thing sounds completely wrong when you are making a statement. Try ending this sentence in a high pitch:
“We choose to go to the Moon! We choose to go to the Moon… We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
It sounds crazy.
Instead, keep important statements simple. Speak slowly and repeat them. Be low pitched when you deliver them and pause to give it time to sink in.
All of this is important not only on stage but also when working on getting there. Remember this when you are on the phone too.
Be cool, be calm, be confident, and keep speaking.
Also, welcome to our new members in the Speakers Loft
family of speakers who believe in cooperation. Our new members are in
London (England, not Ohio)
Salt Lake City