How you say what you say… says it all! I remember a great team I was lucky enough to be on a few years back and how we learned this the hard way. On the team there were four of us who traveled the state of Indiana giving presentations. The purpose of the presentations was to convince insurance agents and field leadership from our company to adopt an automated sales and business management system.
Here’s what we found out the hard way: one of us on the team, we’ll call her Cindy (name changed to protect those involved), had a pattern of speech that caused the audience to challenge her more than the rest of us. Truth of the matter was, Cindy was as proficient, if not more, than the rest of us on the team. Her pattern of speech was when she ended her sentences her voice inflection would go up just slightly. When that happens, the statement of fact sounds to your audience like a question or that you’re not really sure of what you’re saying. I have a couple of clients right now that have that same pattern and it’s causing them to not be seen as credible as they really are in their skills.
There are just three ways you can inflect on the end of your sentences. 1.) You can have an even emphasis, no real inflection. This causes the listener to hear a statement. 2.) You can have a rising inflection like I talked about above and the listener hears a question. 3.) You can have falling inflection which causes the listener to hear a command. Go ahead, try it in your head… if you haven’t already.
Use your voice congruently with your words and message intent. There’s a famous quote attributed to Artur Schnabel, (April 17, 1882 – August 15, 1951) who was an Austrian classical pianist. The great composer and teacher known for his intellectual seriousness as a musician is reported to have said about his masterful playing… “The notes I handle no better that many pianists. But the pauses between the notes… that is where the art resides.” The same is true of when you’re talking or speaking, whether to influence or inform. The pauses and the inflection make the message!