The results you obtain in life are often predicated on how you verbally communicate with others. In other words, people’s responses are often contingent on what you say and how you say it. So how can you improve your vocal communication skills? Read on to find out.
Key Vocal Communication Skill #1: Avoid filler words
Filler words such as “umm”, “huh”, “ya know” all contribute to confusing communication that makes you sound unsure and unassertive. You may be a confident, intelligent person, but using a lot of fillers works against you. Just like other bad habits, it takes work to overcome. The first step is to be aware you use these types of words. Many people are so used to communicating this way they don’t realize what they are doing.
Key Vocal Communication Skill #2: Proper Tone and Speed
Vocal communication has to do with words, but it also has a lot to do with your tone and speed. Your tone should match the context of the conversation. It’s also important to have a tone. Talking in a flat, monotone way will cause your listener to tune you out no matter how eloquent your words are. Tone conveys meaning and draws in the listener.
In addition to tone, speed is crucial. Slow talking individuals are hard to listen to as people can run out of patience listening to them. They are also perceived as less intelligent, boring and even lazy. Fast talkers are hard to follow and have a tendency to hog the conversation.
Key Vocal Communication Skill #3
Inflection is similar to tone, in that it emphasizes meaning and emotion. A downward inflection, where you lower the pitch of your voice at the end of words and sentences, projects confidence and authority. An upward inflection, where the pitch of your voice is raised, projects insecurity, doubt and uncertainty. Inflection of certain words can completely alter that meaning of the same sentence. For example,
- “I did not state I took your backpack.” – This makes it sound as though it is possible you took the backpack.
- “I did not state I took your backpack.” – This makes it sound like you know the backpack was stolen and by whom.
Key Vocal Communication Skill #4
Low talkers and “mumblers” are not only difficult to hear, they can be perceived as lacking confidence. Speaking clearly with proper annunciation and volume shows you are intelligent and confident. Clear and concise words travel a lot further than mumbled, jumbled and hard to hear words.
Key Vocal Communication Skill #5
Words are powerful. Using descriptive words will drive your point home with people For example, you could say, “The football team played well in tonight’s game.” Or you could say, “The team was utterly dominant in tonight’s game.” The second sentence expresses how the team played with much more emotion and makes a bigger impact.
As you can see, there are many ways to improve your vocal communication skills. Which ones are you going to implement? Share your thoughts below.