Today’s hack is simple, and effective. I use it almost every day.
The next time you leave a message on someone’s cell phone, press ‘#’ when you’re done. On 99% of cell phone carriers you will then be given an opportunity to listen to your message, and if needed, delete it to record a new one.
Why should you do this? I’m glad you asked.
If you’re anything like me, you will be utterly shocked at how you sound on the phone. It’s probably nothing like how you sound in your head.
When I’ve listened to my messages in the past, I couldn’t believe that I sounded so depressed, sleepy, aloof, or annoyed (each of which came across at different times, whether I felt that way or not).
People make all sorts of snap judgments when hearing your voice. Your tone, pitch, pace, and inflection conveys all sorts of meaning (far more than the actual words themselves).
Some common problems you can try to eliminate from your speech are:
- Saying ‘um’ and ‘ah’ more often than you should
- Saying ‘like’, ‘sort of’, ‘maybe’, ‘you know’ or other filler words which can make you sound unsure or immature
- Raising the pitch of your voice at the end of a statement (as if you were asking a question), which sounds child-like (try saying “My name is [your name]” and raising the pitch at the end)
- Speaking constantly in the same tone of voice, which can make you sound boring and tired
If you’d like to improve your voice, I highly recommend Dr. Carol Flemming’s audio book, The Sound Of Your Voice.
In it she plays recordings of various job applicants, and you’ll instantly realize how powerful your first impressions are about each person. Some of them you are ready to turn away after hearing them speak for five seconds, and you can tell that they have no idea what they sound like! She goes on to recommend that you record your voice and helps you analyze it for problems.
Personally, I didn’t have time to record my voice each day and review the recordings, but I had another source of voice recordings readily available: my voice mail messages.
Use this hack and I guarantee that…
- You won’t sound anything like you think on the phone
- You’ll start to see opportunities to improve
- People will return your calls faster and more often
- You’ll save yourself embarrassing moments when your first message didn’t come out right
Brian Armstrong is an authority on how to start a business. To learn how to get out of your 9-to-5 job, start working for yourself, and achieve financial freedom, visit his website at StartBreakingFree.com. You can also discover how to start a business in one month for under $100.
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