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How to Use Your Voice

clinical communication habit phone communication sales communication

Are you aware that hearing and experiencing your voice is one of the key senses in creating a first customer experience? Yes, your voice paints a picture. It represents you…but also your business. Do you like what you hear? Let’s take a few minutes to discuss how your voice is part of phone etiquette training.

A key component to utilizing our voices well is to understand their components. A great acronym for this is PICTURE

P – Pitch

Pitch is the high and low of our voice. A child’s voice naturally has a higher pitch. Then as we age and mature, the pitch of the voice begins to lower. And when we need to express authority, we deepen it even more to make a point.

As you are having conversations, is your pitch in the right zone for the impression you wish to make? Is it appropriate to the message you need to get across? 

I – Inflection

Inflection is the melodic part of our speech and voice. We seem to notice it most when it is absent. Think of a robot or the droning professor….. (wha…? oh…did you nod off?)

But the proper use of inflection – or emphasis – can engage the listener or produce a different reaction. 

C – Courtesy / T – Tone / U – Understanding

These 3 attributes are what leave us with the good or bad sensation about a conversation. A head nod (or a quiet “uh-huh” on the phone) helps provide evidence we are listening. A smile in our voice shows kindness and welcoming. And asking an open-ended question demonstrates you are thinking of the needs of the listener.

Don’t forget these things, because as Maya Angelou so famously says,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou 

R – Rate

Slow down! There is a speed limit here! As you communicate, do not sound like the disclaimer of a drug commercial.

You may be saying the same spiel time and again, but it should sound like you are delivering it specially for your listener. 

E – Enunciation

E-nun-ci-a-tion. Speak clearly. Avoid the slur.

Whether over the phone or through a mask, we can compress words or drop consonants. All this makes it harder to understand what you are saying.

Then let’s include in the bucket the avoidance of distractors of filler words of “um”, “ah”, “you know”, “like”, “kind of”. All these add no value and actually lower the perceived value of your knowledge and service. 

SUMMARY – Your Voice Etiquette Training

Your voice is a critical part in painting an overall picture and fostering the customer service of your office. Take time to be aware of your voice. Should you find there are aspects that need work, find a trusted advisor or coach to help you work on them in a safe environment. You’ll be glad you did!