How to lift your voice

Hello everybody. I’m Victoria Rennoldson, Communication and Culture Coach, and welcome to Wednesday Words with me. You can choose to watch this by clicking ‘play’ on the video above, which also has subtitles.

Or, because I know that many of you, just like me, like to listen to podcasts when you’re out and about, you can listen to the audio only version, by clicking below:

Finally, you can also read the blog as well, right here below.

Today I’ll be talking about how to lift your voice for communication impact. 16th April is World Voice Day, which celebrates the voice in all its forms: singing, speaking, communicating, presenting. The theme for this year is all about ‘lift your voice’, which really resonated with me, because this is what I do with my clients.

I work with fantastic individuals and teams, people who are incredible experts at what they do, very talented, usually high achieving and ambitious for their career, or their own business. And yet they get frustrated, because they’re not able to ‘lift their voice’ in the way that they want to. They’re not able to communicate exactly what they want to, and that limits them in getting their message out there.

That’s why I developed my individual coaching programme, ‘9 Steps to Communication Confidence’. I work with people to help them enhance their confidence, which expands their impact and influence, and gives them results for their career or in their business growth. And that is incredibly important, because it’s not just communication for communication’s sake, it’s about having the end goal in sight.

So, with today’s focus around ‘lift your voice’ for World Voice Day, I wanted to share some techniques how to use your voice more effectively, in a way which gives you impact, whether in a presentation, formal meeting, or even in a speech.

Technique number one is to focus attention through Pace & Pauses. First of all, why? Why do we want to do this? Well, if we use our voice effectively then we get more engagement. People pay attention to our words and our message. In a world where there is a lot of distraction, particularly in virtual communication, where people are often trying to do several things at the same time, your communication and voice have the ability to cut through and really connect with the other person, so that they listen to what you have to say. And that matters, because you want to engage with people, you want them to hear your message, you want them to take away the key points, and maybe take a next step or action.

How do we introduce Pace & Pauses effectively? I know that when people are nervous, they tend to speed up, and that happens to me as well, I’m human like everybody else! In situations where we need to communicate effectively, we may feel that pressure, and that tends to make us want to rush what we’re saying. It’s particularly true when you say your name, perhaps at the beginning of a presentation or when you’re introducing yourself. Because our name is so familiar to us, we tend to say this very quickly, but then it might be difficult for other people to understand what we are saying.

I encourage you from the very first moments: Pause – breathe – smile – and slow it down, so that your voice can have that impact, and people can understand what you’re trying to say.

If this is for a more formal speech or presentation, the other thing that you can do is actually prepare the pauses. What I do with my clients is physically mark where are they going to pause in the written presentation or speech. And you can do this by creating a line break in the text, so it reminds you: pause here before moving on. Pauses happen naturally at the end of sentences, but also think about where you can pause to create focus and attention.

The second technique, is Emphasis for key words. Now, if you imagine that you’re writing an email, then we have lots of techniques available to us, to emphasise the key points. We might for example, in the text, make it bold, we might underline the key points, we might put italics, we can even change the size of the text, make it bigger or more colourful, for example. And of course, we have lots of other formatting techniques, such as bullet points, paragraphs etc., that make it very clear to the reader of that email, what’s important.

Now, I think we can do this as well with our voice. Again, we just need to learn the techniques to do this, to deliver that emphasis. If you listen to speakers or watch TED Talks, then you’ll notice that people use these techniques. They are great ways again to focus attention, make sure your message lands clearly, and in the way that you want. How do we do it?

There are three key ways to emphasise your points. The first way to do this is to slow the word down, because that’s unexpected, compared to the pace of the rest of your speech, that creates focus.

The second way is that you make the word or group of words, sound louder, and you raise your voice and make it louder in volume.

The final way, is that you make your voice go up at the end, and this technique is about creating anticipation, it creates a sense of ‘hmm, something is coming after this…’, and they’re going to listen very carefully to what is the next point you’re about to share.

I want to also give you a very short example, from a short part of a speech, to demonstrate all of the techniques from today: pace & pauses, and how to emphasise key words.

I’ve prepared this speech, and because this is going to be easier for me to deliver this to you, I’m going to read this, but you listen to how I’m using the techniques, as a way to focus attention, get you listening very carefully, and create more impact with my message:

When we experience communication from others/

that does not match our assumptions & expectations/,

we try to interpret the meaning and intention/

by applying how we would react in the same situation/,

but this can lead us down the wrong path/.

That’s a short example, but I wanted to give you a sense of how it comes to life, and how you could use it, as part of your planning for your communication, for presentations, for speeches, and for more formal meetings.

So there you go, key techniques to lift your voice. What are you going to put into practice?

I highly encourage you to do this, speak up, share your message, and get the engagement going, by really making sure you’re using your voice effectively.

And if you’re ready to take the next step on your journey, to communication confidence through your voice and all the other communication strategies that I work with, then please set up a discovery call with me, to talk about my individual coaching programme: 9 Steps to Communication Confidence.

This structured, 90-day programme, takes you through all the key tools that you need to be able to communicate confidently in your business situations. It helps you understand where you are today, where you need to focus and practice, and how to implement this, so you can fast track your communication strategies that will have the impact in your career and business that you’re looking for.

Thank you so much for joining me today for Wednesday Words where we’ve talked about how to lift your voice.

I do hope that you lift your voice, not just for World Voice Day this Saturday, but for every day. Look forward to seeing you next time on Wednesday Words.

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