Whether you are a speaker or a leader, whenever you speak, the first positive impression results from the confidence you project, be it the way you carry yourself in front of a group or the way you sound, i.e. your voice.
In fact, your voice is even more important than your physical appearance. You can dress in style, put on makeup to look the best, and get in shape, but if your voice fails you, you are negating the positive impression you just worked so hard to create. It is also your voice that determines whether you can hold people’s attention, keep them engaged, motivate and inspire them.
A confident voice conveys your self-assurance, credibility and conviction. People tend to trust and follow you. Most people believe only through changing your mind first to believe in yourself could you possibly change your voice. What a big loss they’ve made to themselves! They’ve overlooked the wondrous power of the human voice and the truth that by becoming more aware of how you use your voice and taking advantage of the power of it, you could progress even faster.
To have a confident voice, start with the following most applicable and powerful tools.
1. Speak on the Exhale
Many people’s voice sounds weak due to insufficient air support, which also causes them easily running out of air. The simplest way to overcoming this is to breathe in first every time before you speak, and then speak as you breathe out. This will ensure you to sound consistently strong. To benefit more and have an even stronger voice, breathe deeply, i.e. to breathe with the support of your diaphragm. You’ll not only sound confident but calm.
(Read more on diaphragmatic breathing here: Every Breath You Take)
2. No trailing off
When you hear someone speak, if this person’s voice is going smaller and smaller as he/she finishes one sentence, what will you think of him/her? You probably think this person is losing energy, becomes bored, or doubting what he/she says. Trailing off at the end of a sentence projects a negative impression. You can project a confident voice just by finishing your sentences strong with a consistent volume. All you need to do is being more aware.
3. Mind Your Inflection
At the end of your sentences, does your pitch usually go up or down whether you are making a statement or asking a question?
Pitch going up at the end of a sentence is called upward inflection; going down is called downward inflection. Upward inflection can project friendliness and invite the other person into your conversation; it can also show your nervousness or being unsure and unconfident, especially when you speak in public. Downward inflection sounds authoritative and sure; if it’s used too much, it puts a distance between you and your listener.
Effective speakers and leaders use both styles, often consciously. Start being aware how you use inflections at the end of your sentences. Use both inflections strategically.
You can have a consistently confident voice and the key is awareness. Be more aware of how you use your voice and make it work for you. As time goes by, you will find just by consciously making efforts on your voice, you will not only sound confident, but feel more confident and look more confident. It will become your trait from inside out.