Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.
How to Communicate Effectively
What was the last memorable moment from your childhood? What is your favorite movie? What were your favorite moments with a friend or spouse? It was all probably the most emotional moments. These moments are key and it is what drives friendships, connections, and memories.
The first time we did anything we remember it. Why? Because your emotions were stirring. It’s the first time you have ever done it. You’re stepping into the unknown. Your heart is beating. You’re nervous. You don’t know what’s going to happen. These are all high levels of emotions. As we keep doing that thing, we get less nervous because we grow more familiar with it. It becomes less memorable, less emotional and eventually we do it without even thinking twice.
Why You Need to Work on Voice Tonality
Voice tonality is key to not only building relationships but it is the key to communication in general. Having good voice tonality put emotions into your sentences. How you say something matters so much more than what you are saying. If you are giving somebody a compliment but you say it in an extremely flat-toned voice all you will get is a flat-toned “Thanks” back. People do this all the time. How about questions like “How’s it going” or “How was your day”. These questions are often delivered in a monotone voice because it is asked so much that it has become the norm on how people start small talk.
Many communication ‘gurus’ may advise against asking such general, mundane, questions and instead ask a more focused, specific question such as “Got any plans today?” I would say it has nothing to do with the question but the way you say it instead. If you say it with enthusiasm and a smile on your face as if you actually care about the other person’s response, then you will get a much better response.
A lot of people say things just to be polite. When you say something just to be polite or you’re saying something just to make conversation all these intentions come out in your vocal tonality and your body language. This non-verbal communication is picked up by the other person subconsciously and the other person will feel as if your intention is not there. When you ask a question with no enthusiasm the other person will feel that you don’t truly care about the response. You’re true intentions always come out. Remember that. So my first tip would be to actually care about the other person’s response. Stop saying things just to say it. Say it with the intent to have a conversation. A lot of people think they are saying things with intent but they really are not.
What You Can Do About Voice Tonality
Voice Tonality is not talked nearly enough in the self-development industry. Yet it is the cornerstone of all communication. The best way to improve on your tonality is to watch and emulate people that have good voice tonality. Two great examples are actors and motivational videos.
I love motivational videos but if you look at the actual words being said, a lot of them say the same thing. They all say something along the lines of don’t give up on your dreams, embrace failure and then they often proceed these statements with someone who made it despite the struggle.
You’re not actually learning anything new but people still love motivational videos because it pumps you up, it inspires you. But it doesn’t inspire you with words, it inspires you with emotion. It inspires you with it’s tonality. The motivational video would take on a whole different meaning if the whole thing was said in a monotone voice. You can also look at actors. These people also are masters at voice tonality because the way you say things completely changes the meaning of the words.
So here’s what I want you to do. Take a tape recorder and watch a scene of your favorite actor or throw on your favorite motivational video. You might be able to find the transcript to these videos online. As you’re watching it, keep pausing it and try to emulate what the actor is doing. Look at how the person speaks and even the body language of the person. Start to pay attention as to why these people are so good at drawing you in. Begin to pay attention to the small little details of what this person says.
Here are some things to watch out for. These are all things that successful speakers do that you need to emulate
- Talking with your hands. This makes you seem less stiff, more free flowing and less nervous.
- Putting pauses in sentences. You can emphasize a point more clearly if you put a pause before a word.
- Emphasizing certain words. Similar to pausing. If you emphasize the beginning of a word then that word becomes much more important, especially when combined with the pause.
- Changing the pace of how you speak. Slowing down your speech also puts emphasis on certain things and allows you to speak more clearly. But if you just slow down everything, you will just be talking slowly. Try to speed up and slow down at certain unimportant and important parts of your speech.
- Changing pitch. Make your voice go up and down. This will help you draw attention. If you want to build rapport with the other person your voice pitch should be going up. If you want to make a command or statement your voice pitch should end on a down note.
- Moving your whole body. Similar to talking with your hands this will make you seem more free flowing. You can emphasize certain things by learning towards the person slightly.
- Change your facial expressions.Look at the actors’ facial expressions. What is your serious face? Your joking face? How does it compare with the actor?
- Speaking Loudly. This one is HUGE and is probably the most important one on this list. If you are not doing this one, none of the other ones even matter. If you are speaking softly you will never get your point across.
As you can see this list is quite extensive and it is by no means a finished list. I guarantee that you are not doing most of these. If you want to become a successful speaker or communicator I highly suggest you start practicing. Get a tape recorder, practice in front of a mirror and start to listen to how you say things, how your body moves and how you come across. If you cringe at your own voice (Most people do) then you can only imagine how other people feel. I promise you if you get this down it will change your interactions with other people completely. People will start to want to be around you. You will become more of a leader and you will even become more confident.
To get you started on this here is a short list of people you can emulate that I think have a lot of these qualities.
- Gary Vaynerchuk
- Leonardo Dicaprio
- Mateusz M
These things really do matter. Try to practice saying something in different ways, hitting different emotions such as compassion, sadness, anger, inspiration and so on. You may not be able to find a video to emulate all of these emotions so you may have to practice and judge for yourself. As you practice and also apply it to your interactions you will begin to notice the different reactions you get from people. This is really the biggest most important step to becoming an effective communicator. I hope this was useful and I hope you get to practicing!