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How do you want to sound? Certainly, each and every one of us wants others to enjoy hearing our voice and to listen to us with interest. Therefore, we probably want to sound like someone who knows what they are talking about and are sure of their cause. Who can share their mood and touch others with it. Who knows that what they talk about is interesting. Who can radiate closeness and warmth if it is about a connection they care for.

When we adapt to our counterpart and to the situation with the sound of our voice and the way we speak, we convey persuasiveness, radiate self-confidence and show leadership competence.

Because: Our voice remains in the ear! It is still the most personal thing we show about ourselves, especially in the era of podcasts and video conferences.

Good performance needs precision in speech and presence in impact.

A research conducted at the Yale University proved that we can assess the social status of our counterpart after exchanging the first seven words. Subconsciously, we ascribe qualifications to a person without actually knowing them and assess whether they fulfil the status expected of them.

Anyone in a leading and guiding role should be aware of their manner of speaking and be able to control their impact.

In no other area do self-image and the image of others diverge as much as in vocal expression and individual speech patterns, according to linguist Prof. Hartwig Eckert.

We only become aware of the influence language has on how we interact with one other when someone speaks "differently" from what we are familiar with. This can be another social class; but also, those who have come to a foreign country or even just to a different environment bring distinct experiences with them than someone who has always lived in the same place. This almost always creates a special awareness of language. Adjusting to another language is commonly experienced as a challenge!

This goes hand in hand with the examination of one's own personality: who I am, where I come from, whether the change I would like to achieve is related only to language or it is connected to my entire personality. Whether one has made a leap forward is interrelated with language.

Examples of people like the British-German writer Sharon Dodua Otoo can show that language does not have to be a hurdle in order to achieve professional and social success.

How to make a leadership role audible

An important research finding: lower voices are perceived as more confident and competent by both men and women. Too high a pitch tends to be a hindrance for leadership positions - this is based on results of a research by communication researcher Prof. Walter Sendlmeier.

The human voice forces its way into our inner being; this is where we hear it. If you want to hear it properly, you have to let it vibrate in your head and chest, resonate in your throat as if it were your own for a moment,“, said Jacques Lusseyron, resistance fighter and later professor of literature, who was blinded as a child.

And yet it is probably easier than you think to use language to create the effect you want. If we have a sense for the voices of others, we can also develop this for our own voice.

No one is entirely without the ability to gather impressions from spoken language and to be guided by them in the intuitive acquisition of knowledge about personality,
says behavioural scientist and linguist Edward Sapir.

As a phonetician, I have learned to listen carefully. I observe and distinguish sound from demeanour and effect, and help you to show your profile. What you should consciously ask yourself is the following:

  • Is my voice revealing more than I want right now?

  • Do the sound of my voice and the way I speak suit the situation - do I want to motivate, assert something, speak at eye level, or show empathy?

  • Does the sound of my voice fit my role and can I identify with it?

  • Does my voice match my stature?

  • Are my phrasing and expression understandable and in tune with the listeners?

It is essential for everyone who is in the public eye and speaks to others either as an expert, advisor, consultant, or from a leadership position to know how one`s own voice, manner of speaking and rhetoric affect others. Moreover, it is necessary to know how to adapt the voice to the situation and to use it according to one`s own professional role and speech intention.