Do you wonder how you come across on the phone to small business customers and prospects? I’m not talking about phone etiquette, although that’s certainly part of the equation in making a good impression. I’m referring to how your voice sounds to the other party. While video calling is growing (A June 2014 survey by Gartner Inc. found that 50 million or about one third of US adult smartphone users use their smartphones for video calling.), the likelihood is that a first time call to a customer or prospect will be voice only. That means that the impression you create will depend solely on your voice and the words you choose without the benefit of your body language to add insight or emphasis to your message.
The good news is that even if you weren’t gifted with a radio announcer’s voice, there are things you can do to make your voice more effective on calls. For starters, get your vocal cords ready before calling. Just having a conversation with someone in the office can help you warm up your voice. You also can try humming a tune before a call. (You might want to step out of the office before doing this.) In “An Insider’s Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice,” Dr. Bruce Katcher recommends that you try singing the vowels to warm up your voice (also something to do in private before getting on the phone).
To evoke the images you are trying to convey, use descriptive language and words that are meaningful to the other party. The words you choose to talk to millennials may be different from words you use to talk to retirees, for example. Also, repeat key points for emphasis.
Enunciate: Speak clearly and be careful not to swallow the endings of your words. Slow down your speech if necessary if you have a strong regional accent or are speaking with someone who may not share your native tongue.
Change pace and tone: The inflection in your voice can change the whole nature of the conversation from enthusiastic to perfunctory. You don’t want to gush, but you definitely don’t want to come across as uninterested. 3Plus also suggests that an upward inflection can make you sound hesitant or lacking in confidence. Work on a pace and tone to convey the feeling behind your words.
Mind your breathing: Long, slow deep breaths can increase the inflection in your voice. Shallow and quick breathing causes your vocal cords to tighten and raises your voice, making it sound strained. Breathe deeply to relax your vocal cords to bring down your pitch and create a calmer-sounding tone.
Cut out background noise
After perfecting your telephone voice, don’t let background noise diminish the sound. Background noise will impact the intelligibility of your speech. Plantronics noise-cancelling headsets cancel out background noise, whether it’s voice, wind or music, wherever you are working to ensure a professional sound over the phone. One of the newest offerings is the Voyager Focus UC Bluetooth headset. The new headset features on-demand Active Noise Canceling (ANC) so users can focus on calls or work and precision tuned triple-mic with enhanced DSP for superior background noise cancelling.
Learn more about Plantronics solutions to help your small business team hit just the right note on phone calls.