Strengthen your greatest asset: your voice

August 1, 2000
Martino Hroncich

Pharmaceutical Representative

The quality of our voice can say more about us then the words we speak.

The quality of our voice can say more about us then the words we speak. When we speak, the quality of our voice leads listeners to conclusions about our intelligence, education, confidence level and truthfulness. The sound of our voice evokes emotions, feelings, and reactions from the people we are talking to. Some of these feelings may or may not be conscious, but these feelings towards a speaker form the basis for whether or not people like you, trust you, or tune out to your presentation and decide not to have you back in their office.

What does this mean to you as a sales representative? It means the quality and sound of your voice is a direct variable to how well you build a rapport with your physician and office staff and how effective you are at changing your doctors' prescribing habits.

The first step in improving your voice is to listen objectively. The voice you hear when you speak is not your true voice. Your voice is enhanced by the resonance of your skull bone. Hence, the true sound of your voice is very different from what you hear.

To get a good idea of what your true voice sounds like, speak into a tape recorder for a few minutes. If possible, record a role-play of a sales call with one of your colleagues in order to get a true sample of how you sound when detailing your physicians. Play back your recorded sample and ask yourself the following questions:


•Â Is my voice nasal?


•Â Do I speak too slowly?


•Â Do I speak too fast?


•Â Does my voice sound to low?


•Â Does my voice sound too high?


•Â Do I use fillers in between my words like "umm," "ahh" or "uhh"?


•Â Do I speak in a monotone?

Recording your presentation is an excellent way to observe your style of delivery. Ask yourself if you would enjoy listening to you as a sales representative. If the answer is no, identify the vocal elements you have problems with, and focus on making changes to correct them.

Additional exercises

Breathing. This is an exercise you an practice while in your car. Take a deep breath expanding your waistline while your chest remains still. Hold for a count of three then breathe out through your mouth for a count of six. Next, inhale again, but this time when you exhale, say the word "one" while stretching out the vowels.

Voice matching. Choose a speaker that has a vocal range similar to yours. This can be a news reporter or professional narrator. Tape a few minutes of your chosen speaker. Then play back the speaker in one to two segments while repeating each sentence with the taped speaker in an attempt to match their pitch, volume, rate, quality, animation, and pause. These exercises, practiced a few times each week, should help strengthen the quality of your voice. PR

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