True story: Last week I walked into my dermatologist’s office. I had been there many times and was familiar with some of the staff. But that day was different. An almost disembodied sound came from behind the receptionist’s counter in an extremely high, squeaky voice, “Hi! Can I help you?”
My entire body froze. I literally couldn’t move for a couple seconds. Then my head cocked like a dog’s when they hear an unfamiliar sound they are trying to place. My eyes widened, focusing on the receptionist’s face, not sure if that tiny little, high-pitched squeal actually came out of a person – a person in a professional medical practice with the job of interacting with patients.
Every cell in my body wanted to alert her to a fact that she surely must not be aware of: “You sound like a mouse!”
I didn’t actually say that. But I really, really wanted to. I thought it would be rude, especially with her coworker sitting right next to her.
Part of me also thought it might be helpful for her to know that her voice was shockingly incongruent and misaligned with the business situation of a doctors’ office.
In the end, I was polite, held my tongue and didn’t say a word to either the young lady herself, nor to my dermatologist. I figured it was their brand that was being represented – let them handle it.
What about you? Does your voice align with or betray your brand values?
Why it matters
Our image, which includes our appearance, verbal, and nonverbal communication, sends an immediate message of who we are, to all with whom we communicate. Your appearance, your body language and also your voice are part of your personal brand. They represent you; what you stand for, what you’re known for, who you are and how you do business.
Are all of those elements of your personal brand in alignment with how you wish to be known?
When I told my husband and son about the young lady’s high, squeaky voice, my husband defended her saying, “She can’t help how she sounds.” My grown son chimed in, “Yes she can. Absolutely she can change her voice.” Thank you, Luke. He’s right.
We can all make adjustments to our voice, depending on habits we’ve gotten into. The first step is to understand how you sound. That’s easy to do with a recording device like your phone. Use an app like QuickVoice, or just leave yourself a voicemail.
The second step is to work with a coach to align your voice with your brand values – how you wish to be known.
My consultancy has expanded to include personal brand coaching with verbal and nonverbal communication in addition to the wardrobe work I’ve been doing for years. Voice and body movement were a huge part of my training as a professional actress. I recently returned from a week-long image industry conference in D.C., which added to and renewed my past training in theatre, and gave me new tools for upgrading your personal image visually, verbally and nonverbally.
Would you like to engage, influence, and lead clients, coworkers, customers and colleagues with a polished, put-together professional presence? It’s absolutely possible. I can help.
For a free 30-minute phone consultation with feedback and recommendations, call me at 720-933-9247.
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