When you’re creating a video or an audio track to market your business, you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about.
Sounding uncertain, unsure or less than an expert can undermine your credibility and your ability to gain new customers.
Here are a few quick tips to help you achieve authority in your voice when creating a video or audio track.
A Voice with Authority has These Qualities:
- A deep, resonant tone.
- A voice which lowers at the end of sentences.
- A confident, articulate flow.
- Minimum use of fillers like um, uh, so, you know.
A Deep Resonant Tone
More deeply pitched voices hold more authority. If you feel your voice needs to be deeper, here are some tips for achieving a more resonant voice.
The sound of your voice should come from your chest, not your nose. To figure out where your voice is coming from, try this exercise.
Exercise 1: While you are speaking, place your fingertips on the bones just below the collar bone. These bones should vibrate when you are speaking from your chest.
Likewise, place your fingertips on your nose and speak nasally. You will feel the vibration in your nose. Switch back and forth between these two extremes and you’ll start to get a feel for the difference between the two and learn where to pitch your voice for maximum effect.
Margaret Thatcher – who naturally had quite a squeaky voice – underwent intensive voice training to lower the pitch of her voice to sound more authoritative as she climbed the political ladder to Prime Minister.
As singers, we are taught to sing through our masks (the front of our faces) for higher tones, and through the chest for low tones. In fact, certain high notes require “head voice” and other lower notes require “chest voice”.
Please be careful with lowering the pitch of your voice too much. You can damage your vocal chords by overextending them beyond their natural range and you can sound artificial if you pitch your voice much lower than natural.
A Voice Which Lowers at the End of Sentences
There are two pitfalls to avoid at the end of your sentences. A rising inflection and a trailing off.
If your statements rise at the end, everything will sound like a question and as if you are looking for affirmation from others.
The downward inflection sounds firm. It sounds as if you mean business and are confident in what you are saying.
When your sentences “trail off” at the end, either from lack of breath or because you are unsure of yourself, you will not sound confident.
If you find you’re guilty of either of these habits, try this exercise.
Exercise 2: Grab a book and an audio recorder. Record yourself reading aloud from the book for 5 minutes, making sure to end every sentence firmly and on a downward inflection. Get a sense of what that feels like.
Listen to your recording and hear how authoritative you sound.
Then, record yourself for 5 minutes again, speaking off the cuff about a topic you know very well. Again, end every sentence firmly and on a downward inflection.
Continue this practice until you find yourself speaking firmly in everyday conversation.
A Confident, Articulate Flow
Confident speakers – whether in person or in a recording – know how to use silence to frame their ideas.
Much like a beautiful photograph or painting, a beautiful frame can make an image pop and draw much more attention to it than if it didn’t have a frame.
It’s the same with spoken images.
When we speak, we often feel like we have to fill every second with sound. And a second or two of silence can feel like an eternity to us. However, cramming every minute with sound eliminates any opportunity for your ideas to be “framed” and doesn’t give your audience time to digest your words.
Minimum Use of Fillers
Are you using too many fillers like um, uh, er, ya know or so? I don’t advise trying to eliminate all fillers. A few fillers sprinkled here and there make you human and approachable.
However, if used too often they become a distraction and listeners start to focus on how many times you say “you know” instead of the ideas you are trying to share.
Here’s a technique to use to cut down on filler words and to help you create a confident, articulate flow.
Exercise 3: Set a timer for 2 minutes and record yourself speaking in extended sentences on a topic you know well.
As you speak, imagine each word is connected to the next one to the next one and so on. Like links in a chain.
When you feel the urge to say um or uh, pause instead and say it silently to yourself.
Play back the recording and evaluate how well you did. If you successfully completed 2 minutes with a minimum of filler words, repeat the process increasing your recording time to 5 minutes and change the topic.
Repeat this process until you are able to speak for 20 minutes straight on various new topics with a minimum use of filler words.
Conclusion – and the Big BUT!
Now all of this is well and good, however, remember to also be human, be yourself and be natural.
Adapt these techniques to your personal style, your customers’ style and your business. You don’t want to turn into a robot. Consumers are looking for authenticity. A few ums and ahs, a few flubs, a few light hearted laughs and higher pitches will speak well to your authenticity without undermining your authority.
People want to know, like and trust you before they’ll do business with you. Creating authority in your voice will help with the trust part. Just don’t take it so far that you undermine their ability to know and like you as well.