We don’t respond to tone of voice with common sense. It taps into our irrational gut responses – and these carry much more decision making power than our heads ever will,” says Jayne Tanered, a Concierge of Flying Solo Forum and a global marketing consultant. More often than we’d like to think, our tone of voice does not convey how we would like to be heard, but rather how we are feeling. Being aware of this dichotomy can be helpful in enabling us to modulate our voices in order to get a positive outcome. Our voices need to be in sync with our emotions, thoughts and higher brain (see my article on Emotional Intelligence ).
Even when you’re not talking your tone of voice is heard
We don’t only talk with our voice. We talk with our eyes, with our facial expressions and of course with our posture. When you meet someone their initial response will be based on what they see. They will not have the time (or inclination) to think about why you reacted the way you did. They will respond according to what they hear and see. And nobody (unless they’re a real good friend or your therapist) will spend time reading your mind. What they see is what they think. An opinion of the other takes 12 seconds to form.
For sure you can’t feel happy all the time. There will be occasions when you feel out of sorts, but you cannot afford to reveal this due to an important meeting for work or any other occasion. The reverse is also true. You may come across a person who looks gloomy and you then have the power to change their feeling (even temporarily) by your kind and friendly tone of voice.
To kick start your kind and enthusiastic tone of voice
- Be mindful of how you are feeling.
- If you’re feeling down allow yourself time to acknowledge it.
- Your voice will betray your emotion, so it’s best to recognise the feeling, name it, deal with it, or decide to deal with it later.
- Stop any further thinking about the feeling and distract yourself.
- Practice your smile and posture in front of the mirror.
- Relax your face and smile even if you do not feel like it – this action will relax your muscles.
- Stand straight – this will give you purpose.
- Practice talking in a kind and enthusiastic tone.
- Practice, practice, practice.
- Remember that the person you are talking to cannot read your mind, so speak with animation, conviction and warmth.
- Look interested even if you are not. By looking interested you will allow the other person to become interested and you then will become interested too.