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Your Voice Is Your Instrument

by
Wendy Weiss

On an introductory call, your voice is your instrument. During a face-to-face meeting, you have visual cues and body language available to add layers of meaning. On the telephone, you have only your voice and the words that you use. The way that you use your voice can make or break your conversation.

Imagine that you are telling a bedtime story to a child. You would not drone on in a bored tone about the “Big, Bad Wolf.” No! You would put fear and passion into your voice to have that story come alive for that child. On an introductory call, you are telling your story to your prospect. Think about it in the same manner—what you would like that prospect to hear, feel and see. 

The emphasis on any particular word can totally change the meaning of a sentence. Let’s take the phrase, “She is not a thief.” If you emphasize the “She”—the sentence means that she is not a thief, but someone else is. If you emphasize “not”—the sentence is a defense. If you emphasize “thief”—the sentence implies that she is something else that you have just not named. Think about the emphasis that you wish to make—and use your voice accordingly!

Look at each sentence in your sales pitch and determine what you are trying to convey and what is the best way to do so. Try out different line deliveries, until you are satisfied with the result. Use a tape recorder to listen to how you sound. Do you sound like someone with whom you would like to have a conversation? Listen for warmth and passion in your voice. Do you sound interesting? Convincing? Confident? Is your speech clear, professional and pleasant? Or do you sound angry, tired, tentative or bored? Is your speaking voice nasal, a monotone or singsong? Do you speak too fast or too slow? Do you mumble? Remember as you listen to the tape that you hear yourself differently than do others. By listening to your taped voice, you will hear yourself as others hear you.

Once you have determined what you wish to convey to your prospect, practice your script until it flows easily. You do not want to sound like you are reading a script. Call your friends and pitch them. Perhaps you can work with a colleague who is also making introductory calls. This way, when you have your prospect on the telephone, you will be prepared and voice the message that you wish to voice.


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