How to use your voice to make a good impression

BY WILMA DEN HARTIGH

Can talking with authority and confidence make a difference to your bottom line?    
Monique Rissen-Harrisberg, CEO ofThe Voice Clinic and the author of the book Make Yourself Heard: How to Talk, Act and Dress Your Way to Success, says good communication is a powerful sales tool and one of the most important factors that can influence business success.
Rissen-Harrisberg says entrepreneurs should use their voice to leave a good first impression and that your communication style is your trademark.
"Remember, you don’t always have an opportunity to meet someone in person. Sometimes you have to conduct negotiations on the phone, or even make a sale".
Rissen-Harrisberg advises that people stay away from fake accents and an unnatural or forceful voice. "Use your voice pitch, which is how high or low the frequency of your voice is when you speak, to come across as sincere and confident", she says.
"The more serious you are, the more slowly you need to speak"
She adds that people who speak with a rich, resonant voice in the lower frequencies (be it male or female), are generally perceived to be more credible and sincere. 
What can I do right now to improve my voice?
1. Practice breathing consciously. This means to breathe deeply. In this way your voice will come like a balloon from the stomach and will be projected out in a resounding way. 
2. What if I mumble all the time? Open your mouth and project your voice. What often stops the sound is your teeth and lips. Practice opening your mouth by saying the word ‘ouch’.
3. Slow down. Speaking too quickly makes it difficult for other people to grasp what you are saying. Giving your speech meaning comes from using the correct pace. The more serious you are, the more slowly you need to speak (but within reason). This gives the listener time to pick up everything you say and understand that it is important.
4. Pause. While talking you would naturally pause to breathe. But pausing is also a powerful tool that adds colour and variety to speech. It gives listeners time to think about what you have just said and creates a bit of suspense.  
5. Let down your barriers. Vulnerability and authenticity are two of the most captivating characteristics in a public speaker.
6. Don't over prepare. Know what you will be talking about, but over preparation can create separation from your audience. Sometimes the most memorable presentation is one where people can sense that you are present and say what comes to you in the moment.
7. Seek professional help. Voice training can help you develop a more flexible vocal tone using proper breathing techniques and vocal exercises to achieve a more flexible and varied tone.

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