We all have people with whom we have to work to get things done. Our ability to communicate with clients, customers, subordinates, peers, and superiors can enhance our effectiveness or sabotage us. Many times, our verbal skills make the difference. Here are 10 ways to increase your verbal efficacy at work:
1. Develop your voice – A high whiney voice is not perceived to be one of authority. In fact, a high soft voice can make you sound like prey to an aggressive co-worker who is out to make his/her career at the expense of anyone else. Begin doing exercises to lower the pitch of your voice. Here is one to start: Sing — but do it an octave lower on all your favorite songs. Practice this and, after a period of time, your voice will begin to lower.
2. Slow down – People will perceive you as nervous and unsure of yourself if you talk fast. However, be careful not to slow down to the point where people begin to finish your sentences just to help you finish.
3. Animate your voice – Avoid a monotone. Use dynamics. Your pitch should raise and lower. Your volume should be soft and loud. Listen to your local TV news anchor; take notes.
4. Enunciate your words – Speak clearly. Don’t mumble. If people are always saying, “huh,” to you, you are mumbling.
5. Use appropriate volume – Use a volume that is appropriate for the setting. Speak more softly when you are alone and close. Speak louder when you are speaking to larger groups or across larger spaces.
6. Pronounce your words correctly – People will judge your competency through your vocabulary. If you aren’t sure how to say a word, don’t use it.
7. Use the right words – If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, don’t use it. Start a program of learning a new word a day. Use it sometime in your conversations during the day.
8. Make eye contact – I know a person who is very competent in her job. However, when she speaks to individuals or groups, she... [continues]
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