Latest "voice and diction" Posts
At a recent business conference, I had the good fortune to meet many speakers whom I’d admired for a long time. There was one woman in particular that I was eager to chat with — I’d read two of her books, followed her blog and was fascinated by her career and accomplishments.
A mutual friend made an introduction in between workshops.
Within seconds, we were chatting about our respective client experiences in the healthcare and life sciences industries. Except, within moments I noticed something odd. I wasn’t chatting at all.
I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.
This woman took eye contact to new heights, with a laser focus that made me uncomfortable. I took an involuntary step back. She took a step forward, and leaned in even closer.
A story from Tarzan: a different kind of success story…
This week I’m going to veer from our new “let’s share a business story” angle and write about how a classic cartoon can impact your business success.
No, I haven’t gone mad. You read that right – sometimes we can find life lessons from the simplest things and everyday events around us. In this case, it’s a Tarzan cartoon that I remember vividly to this day.
In the first scene, Tarzan just learned that Jane is in the jungle and he’s excited to meet her, but very nervous — just like many of us are before an important meeting or presentation.
He wants to make a great first impression – hey, apparently even guys in the jungle know just how important that is!
I came across a great article in the June 2013 issue of T + D Magazine titled, “Ten Career Tanking Phrases to Avoid Using in the Workplace,” which is not available online to non-subscribers.
It reiterated many of the business blunders I’ve shared in this blog, starting with this oldie but NEVER goodie: “I can’t do that.”
Whether you are a customer service/sales rep responding to a customer’s request or complaint, or you hold any other type of job, this uncooperative-sounding phrase is a non-starter guaranteed to immediately aggravate the person you’re speaking to.
Basically, this is the same as saying, “no” but with the word “can’t” thrown in for good measure — making it sound like the situation is completely out of your hands. It comes across as a sneaky way of passing the buck.
Let’s continue discussing word choices and how they can either help or hinder your career. I discussed the ubiquitous “try” in the previous post, along with all the reasons you might want to eliminate it from your business vocabulary.
Along the same lines as the very weak “try” are the equally non-impressive phrases “I think” and “I might.” They are particularly troublesome combined in the same sentence and rob you of all power. Here is an example: “I think we might be able to have that done by your deadline.”
In effect, the phrases “I think” and “I might” are the longer, wordier cousins of “try.” They make you sound uncertain. Uncertain is the opposite of confident. They make you sound wishy-washy. Wishy-washy is the opposite of engaging and authoritative.
In my previous blog post I talked about the importance of one’s voice during business calls.
After all, there is precious little else for the other person to go on during a phone call, especially if he or she doesn’t know you very well or at all. And although we’d all agree that the cell phone is a brilliant, life-altering invention, many don’t yet offer the call quality of a land line.
So, if you’re making or taking business calls on a cell, which is becoming more and more common, your vocal mannerisms are something you really need to pay attention to.
Don’t kid yourself that you can break an old, ingrained habit you may have when speaking during important, make-or-break business conversations or presentations. It would truly be a shame, however, if a particular vocal bad habit is the one thing that was the deal breaker.