how to develop your professional voice

Even the world’s loudest talkers will find developing their professional voice to be a challenge. The ability to present thoughts in a clear and understandable way is sometimes aptly termed as having the gift of the gab. This gift is certainly indispensable when we need to articulate our thoughts to our colleagues clearly enough for them to understand and envision, or persuade and convince, while at the same time emerge likeable and gain respect in the process.

While this may seem like a tall order, especially to those who are just starting out, nothing is impossible. Here are some useful hacks and strategies to help you become more articulate professionally:

A little bit of practice never hurt anyone

Listen to yourself. If you’re not sure how you’re going to sound, practise on your own. This will be the ideal opportunity for you to hear yourself – it is here where you need to be your own worst critic.

Are your sentences too long?  Are you able to pass on your message? Are there too many ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ when you verbalise your thoughts? Listen to yourself for a second and third time. You can only get better. Think Warren Buffett – he became a billionaire, but only after conquering his fear of public speaking.

Adopt a communication style

The hamburger model is an easy way of communicating your thoughts coherently. The top layer will be your introduction, the bottom bread layer your conclusion. In between, the filling. Just keep that simple and clear, so that those listening will understand what you are trying to communicate.

Sometimes you may have a lot to say. Thoughts are complicated, and stringing them coherently can become wordy, and that’s ok too. Just avoid using long winded sentences that will make both you and your audience forget what you were trying to say in the first place.

Remember who you are trying to persuade

Essentially, this requires that you ask yourself who your audience will be. Stop listening to your voice subjectively and evaluate yourself objectively. Become your audience, those who you are seeking to persuade. How do you think they are going to feel when confronted with such a message? Is your attempt at being persuasive threatening to them? What will they get out of what you are trying to communicate?

Developing your voice needs to go beyond speech for the sake of speaking. It needs to move others to listen, to act and to reach an agreement.  And even when they don’t agree, it still needs to engage and instil enough emotion to spark a debate or counter-argument.

Remember that a professional voice is not a lone voice in the desert. It needs to go beyond enjoying the sound of your voice. As Barack Obama famously said; “Your voice can change the world.” Whilst this may sound too ambitious for those seeking to feel comfortable speaking in their professional spheres, knowing that your voice can ignite change is just one more reason to stand up and speak.

At Ceek, we aim to place you in an environment where you are able to grow. If you’re a job-seeker, let us help find the right place for you, and if you’re an employer, reach out today to find your next star candidate.

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