Voice Skills

by Judy Apps

How you influence others with your voice

Influencing others with your voice is easier than you might imagine. In fact, for good or ill, negatively or positively, you are almost bound to use you voice to influence others, assuming you use it at all.

It is absolutely true that it’s not so much what you say as how you say it. It’s easy to think we have communicated with another person via the words we have used. But the words can very easily be misunderstood.

Key point

Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, says that if there is any difference between your words and the tone of your voice, 86 per cent of the time people will trust what they hear in your tone over your actual words.

We form opinions about each other more on how we look and how we sound than on what we say. And in any case, the exact shade of meaning in any sentence depends to a considerable extent on the rise and fall in our tone of voice and the consequent emphasis given to particular words.

So, if you are not getting the impact you want when you speak, change the way you say what you say.

Your voice plays a large part in the extent of your influence when you communicate. There is no particular mystery about it, and you can develop the changes to your voice that will allow you to exert influence.

There are just three essential factors:

1. Your voice needs to be pleasant to listen to.

Your voice will be pleasant to listen to if your body is relaxed (see Relaxation), if it resonates from the whole of you (see Resonance), and if there is some variation in the delivery (see the Vocal wheel).

2. You need to be in rapport with your listeners.

Others will follow your vocal lead once you have established an empathetic connection with them. See the topic on Rapport.

3. Your voice needs to express feeling and emotion.

Once you have created rapport, others will tune in to your state of mind and be influenced by your state – whether that be passion, determination, enthusiasm, calm or resolution. You will assert a much stronger influence if you are associated into the particular state of mind you wish to convey. In other words, you need to be able to feel the feeling or emotion in the present time.

We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.

Friedrich Nietzsche