September 21, 2006
Persuasion: Five Points To Improve Your Voice Communication
The deadliest skill a leader can possess is the ability to persuade.
Your Business Blogger As Alert Readers know, Your Business Blogger is a cheerleader for lifelong learning. If there is a class that can improve my skills, such as they are, I’m in.
So to improve my ability to communicate, I though I’d sit at the feet of a wise instructor. And ask stupid questions.
(Which are the only kind I ask.)
I needed to pick an instructor who could help me in this continuous learning. I wondered — who has Rush Limbaugh worked with?
That would be Stephen D. Clouse who teaches at the highest levels in the intersection of entertainment and politics.
I joined Stephen as he lectured at the Leadership Institute in Arlington, Virginia. The purpose and passion of Clouse’s work is to train leaders to communicate — to persuade.
To be effective, Clouse says, you must be likeable. Willie Loman, in Death of a Salesman, would step out into the world with a shoeshine and smile. And have a desperate need to be liked.
Which is not unlike the first step in the sales process of establishing rapport.
But Clouse was talking about more than a need to be liked — he emphasized that to succeed at the highest levels and to persuade, you must truly like people.
Enjoy people? Like people?
But there might be help for you. Clouse gave a number of tips to improve your likeability — by improving your vocals.
1) Speak slowly. Clouse reminds us that the great communicators from Larry King to Bill Clinton to Ronald Reagan have a very slow speech delivery.
2) Enunciate each word completely. Many of us will trail off at the end of our sentences. Clouse says, “A microphone is cruel to those who do this because everything is captured and conveyed.”
3) Punch key words. Your listening audience wants to learn, and more important, to be entertained.
4) Extend vowels. Conveys warmth and emotion.
5) Natural voice in an ‘audio check.’ The sound tech will adjust levels to your voice. Be natural.
Which may require practice. The professionals make it look easy.
And professionals use professionals to coach. If you would like to contact Stephen D. Clouse, I’d be honored to make the introduction.
To communicate well will require practice. And practice. For your big show biz break read these 10 Tips. And remember…
Ronald Reagan had six years of voice lessons.
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Thank you (foot)notes:
This is an unpaid endorsement for Clouse.