Your Voice Matters
October 6, 2005
© Radiant Publishing 2005
IN THIS ISSUE
- Greetings From The Author Marlena Reigh
- If You’re In Sales, Play With Me!
- Quote of The Month:Alice Hoffman
- Vocal Exercise: Warm Up Your Day
Whether we admit it or not, we are all in sales. You could be a manager, in production, a scientist, or own your own company and selling your ideas and having others take action is often critical in making progress. This ezine is focused on helping you get comfortable and confident with your speaking voice, which can be key to your success. When you read the “If You’re In Sales, Play With Me” story think about how you connect with listeners. Then start off the day with “Vocal Exercises: Warm Up Your Day.”
I was at a business mixer and as I stood in the buffet line a gentleman ahead of me began a conversation. He was a financial planner and I mentioned to him that my husband and I were looking at long-term care insurance. He eagerly said he had a plan and wanted to set up and appointment with us.
He then asked me my age (Isn’t there a law about asking a woman–not to mention someone you don’t know– her age?) I laughed nervously, but he persisted, saying it was imperative that he know my age so he could give me a ballpark figure. I swallowed hard and told him my age. He then took that information and started verbally calculating. I said, “Joe” (not his real name), “You missed your cue.” He stopped tallying and looked at me quizzically. I said, “You’re suppose to say ‘Oh, no, you can’t be that old. You look like you just graduated from college.'”
He blinked at me and then said, ” I can give you a really good price that will…:. He lost me. Here was an opportunity to connect with me on a personal level in my style of communication, as well as take a serious and sometimes unpleasant subject, and put a light and almost fun spin on our conversation. But it went right over his head.
My thoughts were, “If he isn’t going to play with me, then I don’t want to work with him. He is boring and stiff and obviously more interested in the sale than listening to me . I must look like a great big dollar sign.
Now Joe might have had the greatest plan in the world but as far as I was concerned, he blew it. He didn’t know how to take it one step further, that is, to listen to what I was saying. He chose to go for the sales pitch rather than engage in building a relationship with me.
Which brings me to my point. There are so many people out there selling the same stuff we are at the same prices, that what will differentiate us and give us the leading edge is building that personal relationship. So when you are in a sales mode, just remember, as you pay attention to the sound of your voice, maybe you should give it a rest and listen. Then you can truly give good service to your clients.
“You have to choose the voice you are going to trust. You can’t listen to everyone.” – Alice Hoffman American Writer
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One of the key ingredients to having a successful voice image is to be prepared to use your voice in a powerful way. Years ago I was at a 7:00 am Chamber breakfast meeting and a gentleman sat next to me and asked, “So, Marlena what do you do?” I replied, “I, uh, ooh, eh, I’m a, well, ah” (sigh) “I teach people how to use their voice more effectively”.
I gave him a big smile. I’m thinking, “Here I am a voice person and I just broke the first rule. I did not warm up my voice before getting in front of others.” As I smiled, he laughed and said, “That’s a good one!” Yes, he thought I was putting him on.
Now there are a few lessons here: One is that smiling and keeping one’s composure can often save you in an awkward moment. Second, is that even a seasoned voice professional is in the process of learning. Third, and most important warming up your voice and body is your best insurance for having a voice that gets attention, gains credibility, and gives you confidence.
Think of yourself as an athlete in training. Would you run a marathon without warming up? What if you were a musician?
Would you play your instrument without doing the physical and mental preparation before performing? Using your voice in a powerful way means using the entire body, not just the throat and mouth area.
Here are some quick exercises to warm up your voice and your day.
=> When in the shower, gargle with warm water and add a tone
=> Hum the song “Happy Birthday” three times in different keys
=> Swing your arms back and around as you say, “Gooooo,for it!”
=> Smile and say out loud, “Three great things about todayare, one,(and then name them”. Add enthusiasm and move. You can do these exercises when getting ready for work or in your car.
Warming up your voice will not only have you sounding better but it will also help you be more alert and energized. Others love being around those who are energized. But when in doubt SMILE!
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