What you say matters, but how you say it is at least as important.
An important aspect of your marketing is how you present yourself to others. You may think about how things look to customers—your appearance, your marketing materials, your office or retail location, etc. How you sound, however, is at least as important as how you look.
To find out how you sound to others, record yourself speaking in different circumstances such as with colleagues, in a sales presentation, on the phone and giving a speech. Listen to the sound of your voice as well as the word choices you make and other characteristics of your speech.
Do you speak too quickly or too slowly? People listen at a certain rate. If you speak faster or slower than they are listening, they may not retain your message. Keep regional differences in mind—what seems too fast in the South may not be in New York City.
When you are nervous, stressed or excited, your voice may go up in pitch and become shrill. If you notice yourself doing this, take a deep breath and relax.
Fillers are, like, you know, annoying. When you hear yourself using uh, um, like, you know, and other similar fillers, it is usually a stall because your mouth got ahead of your brain. Slow down and concentrate on what you are saying.
Speak powerfully? You sound uncertain and lack credibility if your voice goes “up” at the end of statements. To see what I mean, ask a question out loud. Do you hear how your voice goes “up” at the end, in anticipation of an answer? Now, say, “I am an excellent speaker.” Did that also sound like a question? If so, work on making your speech stronger.
Strong speech does not mean vulgar speech. If you frequently pepper your speech with profanity, clean it up. No one will be offended if you don’t swear, but many will be if you do.
Don’t use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice. You won’t impress anyone by using words they don’t understand. This is especially true when you use the word incorrectly or the word does not exist. And avoid jargon, unless you are certain that everyone hearing you will know exactly what it means.
Do you interrupt others? Calm down and let them speak. Really listen to them, don’t just wait for them to take a breath so you can jump in.
Modulate your volume. If you speak too quietly, it will be difficult for others to hear you. If you speak too loudly, it can be jarring.
Look at people when you speak to them. It is polite, and makes it easier for them to hear you. This is especially important for those who have a hearing loss, but will help everyone to better understand you.
Watch for verbal cues to see if your message is getting through. Does anyone look confused? Are they fidgeting or looking past you? Those could be signs that they aren’t getting it or they aren’t interested.
Your message is important, deliver it with importance.