Would you tell a colleague that their voice is hard to understand?

Voice Power Studios asked the following question to the social networks, “Would you tell someone who is required to speak in public in a business environment that they have a voice that is hard to understand.” Out of the many responses we received, I would like to share two which, I feel, reflect a communication trend that has been developing for some time.

  1. “I truly believe that due to the lack of face to face conversations, as well as, texting instead of making a phone call are one of the reasons that people are so angry and short with each other. Everyone is in such a hurry for an answer that they don't even take the time to totally understand the question. Therefore, so much is lost in translation because we are left to making decisions without all of the necessary information.

    "If it's not broken don't fix it." Nothing can take the place of building meaningful relationships and we can't do that without personal interaction with each other”.


  2. “Absolutely....we are losing the art and the skill of face to face interactions utilizing verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Interpersonal skills may be considered a 'soft skill' but it is one that is not often trained. What will give you a good ROI, is investing in the development of the soft skills of communication and prospecting skills (cold calling, networking, alliance building, referral gathering) and using them to bolster the virtual world....the online world will need to be taken 'offline' but only if you know how”.

I totally agree with the above comments and many of the other responses that basically said yes, absolutely I would tell someone they had a speaking problem, because I would want to be told if I had a speaking problem that was holding me back in my professional or personal life. They also said that this type of feedback needs to be done in a constructive and positive way.

 

A week ago, Mary called from Singapore to say that her boss had told her that she needed to speak louder and more assertively on international company teleconference calls. He continued to say that he had had many complaints about people not being able to hear her and that she needed to do something about it. She told me that his remarks were very matter of fact and seemed to be based on his assumption that if she wanted to make the effort to speak louder she could. She said, “I felt a bit humiliated, however I got the courage to speak louder and then ended up with a sore hoarse throat”.

 

In the old days, Mary might have decided to go to an ear, nose and throat doctor who, most likely, would confirm that nothing was physically wrong with her vocal chords except that she had strained them by talking louder and he/she may or may not have recommend speech therapy. Most doctors don’t consider learning to use your speaking voice properly as a medical issue.

 

During that conversation, I found out that Mary had chronic sinusitis and I recommended that she use a nasal douche to clean her sinuses daily to prevent congestion and a possible sinus infection. I also mentioned that constant nasal congestion can cause one to limit their breathing and therefore fall into a pattern of speaking softly on a higher pitch: both of which Mary was doing. With the proper breath support Mary’s voice would drop into a lower and more comfortable pitch range, making her sore hoarse throat a thing of the past. She was glad to hear that with practice doing this is comparatively easy.

 

Finally I suggested to Mary, that having been raised as a woman in an Asian culture, she had been encouraged to speak softly on a higher pitch in professional situations. She agreed and said, “Speaking this way is more feminine, proper and respectful of others”. Because her speech pattern was holding her back in her current job position, she decided to change her speaking pattern to sound more confident, self-assured, credible, knowledgeable, expressive and louder.

 

The best way to offer constructive speaking voice feedback to someone is to say what you perceive the problem to be in a caring and sincere way. Then provide a possible solution by suggesting the person look on line for a speaking voice coach. 

 

If you would like to learn more and discover how you can improve your speaking voice. I offer you a 20-minute Voice Power Studios Accent Reduction & Speaking Skills Consultation, or call 877-783-2455?