If I had a £1 for every time I get asked if I analyse everyone’s personal impact around me, I’d be a wealthy woman! The answer to this question is simple, “No”. I am sure an architect doesn’t analyse every building s/he sees, they’d go mad. What I do notice though is particularly positive personal impact and noticeably negative.
I don’t have the best hearing but when I can’t understand a lot of what people say, that’s not usually a good sign! At a networking event recently, there were several people who quite honestly might as well have spoken in Japanese when they gave a brief introduction of their business to the room! I was neither able to pick up even just one of their names nor the name of their company.
There are lots of facets to engaging people in this scenario linked to appearance, body language and voice but in this particular scenario, there are 3 key voice and speech elements that make the difference between communicating or not! After all, being given a platform to speak is a great opportunity to have a room full of people listen, so those people need to be engaged, be able to hear and be able to understand!
Those 3 elements are therefore all to do with vocal impact:
1. Volume – if people can’t hear you they will give up trying. Sometimes, if they can hear most albeit not all of what you say they can fill in the gaps but if they can’t hear the majority then there’s no hope! I thought one person at the networking event communicated well in other ways – smile, eye contact, posture but ultimately she was too quiet to hear. If it’s volume alone that is the problem, people may say they can’t hear but if combined with the next 2 issues they won’t, as it wouldn’t be seen as polite!
2. Speed – speaking at break neck speed might help you cram more in but if words run into another then this greatly affects the clarity of what you say. Remember, in many cases what you are saying is new to the people hearing it and they may not be used to your voice, so slow down, perhaps say less if you are on limited time but make sure they can understand what you are saying!
3. Intonation – you might see this as ‘the nice to have’ after the previous 2 which both physically stop people from hearing and understanding. However, if there is no intonation in your voice, people switch off and disengage. This is particularly the case when people are doing a lot of listening to others! Lack of intonation also makes you far less memorable too. Even a voice that slightly annoys you is better than that, as at least there is something to remember!
So as you approach your next meeting, presentation or event, do consider getting yourself heard, understood and engaging others to have vocal impact. These 3 elements are the very basicsto start communicating yourself positively and getting the outcome you want, from whatever you are saying! There’s a lot of ‘noise’ out there, don’t just blend in with it!
Joanna Gaudoin helps professional people with all elements of their image and impact. If you’d like to work on improving your engagement with others – by assessing how you can improve from where you are and what that improvement looks like, then send Joanna a message [email protected] for a no obligation conversation.
To think more broadly about why image and impact matter and what to consider, you can receive her free ‘Boost Your Personal Impact Guide’ by email, just complete this simple form: