3 Tips That'll Make Your Voice Sound More Powerful
April 1, 2019
How much of what is said at work is really heard?
Think about it. Many of us sit through many presentations throughout a week. How much of that information do we actually retain?
Turn it around the other way. When you are speaking, do you want your words to be forgotten by the end of the day? Or, do you want your words to stick?
I’m assuming the latter. A big part of that obviously is what you say. But, an underrated part is also how you say it.
Three tips for making your voice sound more powerful are:
1. Speak as fluidly as possible.
This is key.
A fluid speaker is one who pauses only for effect or when there's a natural break, like a comma or a period. This keeps people locked onto their words.
Conversely, less powerful speakers tend to pause arbitrarily. Either for air – a sign they are rambling – or because they need a second to figure out how to end their sentence.
How do you speak more fluidly? It comes down to knowing what you are going to say before you say it.
This is easier for presentations, as you can practice your words ahead of time. But, even for on-the-spot speaking, think through what you are going to say before you say it — even briefly — and you’ll speak much more fluently.
2. Silence your fillers.
Fillers are sounds like “um” and “err” and “sorta” and the like. Each filler you add subtracts an equivalent amount of power from your message.
How do you get rid of these?
First off, again, the clearer you are on what you are going to say, the less fillers you’ll insert. For presentations, practice what you’ll say ahead of time, and you are much less likely to add in “ums” and “errs.”
Second, if you can, record yourself speaking and notice when you tend to add in these fillers. Often, they appear in-between sentences or in-between the subject and the verb of a sentence.
Once you are cognitive of when you tend to use these fillers, cognitively be silent in these moments. Rather than making a random noise like “um,” just breathe in and say nothing for a second, and then continue with your point.
“This skill takes a lot of practice," Kolovou said. "But it's possible to silence the fillers, which will only make you sound more powerful."
3. Use pauses strategically.
Lastly, one of the best ways to make your voice sound more powerful is to not use it. Strategically pausing is one of the best ways to get your message across.
Watch any successful politician – they all use this trick in their speeches. The more important the point they make, the longer they’ll pause after they state it.
‘Public speakers who command the attention of a room are ones who pause at the end of a sentence and let the meaning of their words be absorbed,” Kolovou said. “Pausing allows your audience to think and it demonstrates you are comfortable with silence.”
Additionally, pausing after each sentence will slow you down, and people who talk slower are generally seen as more powerful, confident speakers than those who talk faster.
Bottom line, how you say what you say will help your message to stick. By following the these three tips, your voice will sound more powerful, and your words will be more memorable.
Videos in this series cover how to:
- Persuade people
- Communicate assertively
- Make small talk
- Succeed in a video conference
- Give feedback effectively