When it comes to your personal presentation, there’s one aspect that often gets overlooked: your voice.
There’s a lot you can change about your vocal patterns to make yourself seem smarter, but few are more impactful than eliminating the following speech habits.
Your “hello” matters more than you think.
Because people judge you within half a second, a great, confident-sounding greeting is important. So smile before you answer the phone. Because here’s the thing: people can hear your mood.
When you’re smiling, a warm, friendly tone happens automatically.
Find your speech-speed-sweet-spot:
If you speak too slowly, people might consider you boring. But if you speak too quickly, you can be annoying. The most effective speech speed is a moderately fast, conversational pace.
Avoid talking at a completely steady pace: mix it up with slow, fast, and medium speeds- When speaking, pacing is one of your most effective tools. Speak more slowly to indicate important or serious information and more quickly for more urgent or exciting points.
People who end their statements with a question are perceived as less knowledgeable, regardless of how smart you are. Project your thoughts with confidence by maintaining an even tone of voice, and finish your statements with periods, not question marks.
Please (please!) kick Vocal Fry (and her cousin Bro-Talk, and much older sister Valley-Girl) to the curb.
Your voice is an important reflection on your professional presence and speaking with an affectation makes one seem less experienced, less credible, and less confident- even if that is not the case. Studies show that unusual speech patterns (like vocal fry) hold women back from promotions, salary raises, and an equal playing field. It’s the vocal equivalent of flip-flops. And honestly, most just find it annoying.
Your voice is a big part of what makes you, you, and what makes you likable and influential. Yet you probably don’t think much about it.
But when it comes to first impressions on intelligence, your voice matters as much as your looks.