3 Easy Exercises to Sound Authoritative in Your Video or Audio

When you’re creating a video or an audio track to market your business, you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about.

Sounding uncertain, unsure or less than an expert can undermine your credibility and your ability to gain new customers.

Here are a few quick tips to help you achieve authority in your voice when creating a video or audio track.

A Voice with Authority has These Qualities:

  • A deep, resonant tone.
  • A voice which lowers at the end of sentences.
  • A confident, articulate flow.
  • Minimum use of fillers like um, uh, so, you know.

A Deep Resonant Tone

More deeply pitched voices hold more authority. If you feel your voice needs to be deeper, here are some tips for achieving a more resonant voice.

The sound of your voice should come from your chest, not your nose. To figure out where your voice is coming from, try this exercise.

 Exercise 1: While you are speaking, place your fingertips on the bones just below the collar bone. These bones should vibrate when you are speaking from your chest.

Likewise, place your fingertips on your nose and speak nasally. You will feel the vibration in your nose. Switch back and forth between these two extremes and you’ll start to get a feel for the difference between the two and learn where to pitch your voice for maximum effect.

Margaret Thatcher – who naturally had quite a squeaky voice – underwent intensive voice training to lower the pitch of her voice to sound more authoritative as she climbed the political ladder to Prime Minister.

As singers, we are taught to sing through our masks (the front of our faces) for higher tones, and through the chest for low tones. In fact, certain high notes require “head voice” and other lower notes require “chest voice”.

Please be careful with lowering the pitch of your voice too much. You can damage your vocal chords by overextending them beyond their natural range and you can sound artificial if you pitch your voice much lower than natural.

A Voice Which Lowers at the End of Sentences

There are two pitfalls to avoid at the end of your sentences. A rising inflection and a trailing off.

Rising Inflection

If your statements rise at the end, everything will sound like a question and as if you are looking for affirmation from others.

The downward inflection sounds firm. It sounds as if you mean business and are confident in what you are saying.

Trailing Off

When your sentences “trail off” at the end, either from lack of breath or because you are unsure of yourself, you will not sound confident.

If you find you’re guilty of either of these habits, try this exercise.

 Exercise 2: Grab a book and an audio recorder. Record yourself reading aloud from the book for 5 minutes, making sure to end every sentence firmly and on a downward inflection. Get a sense of what that feels like.

Listen to your recording and hear how authoritative you sound.

Then, record yourself for 5 minutes again, speaking off the cuff about a topic you know very well. Again, end every sentence firmly and on a downward inflection.

Continue this practice until you find yourself speaking firmly in everyday conversation.

A Confident, Articulate Flow

Confident speakers – whether in person or in a recording – know how to use silence to frame their ideas.

Much like a beautiful photograph or painting, a beautiful frame can make an image pop and draw much more attention to it than if it didn’t have a frame.

It’s the same with spoken images.

When we speak, we often feel like we have to fill every second with sound. And a second or two of silence can feel like an eternity to us. However, cramming every minute with sound eliminates any opportunity for your ideas to be “framed” and doesn’t give your audience time to digest your words.

Minimum Use of Fillers

Are you using too many fillers like um, uh, er, ya know or so? I don’t advise trying to eliminate all fillers. A few fillers sprinkled here and there make you human and approachable.

However, if used too often they become a distraction and listeners start to focus on how many times you say “you know” instead of the ideas you are trying to share.

Here’s a technique to use to cut down on filler words and to help you create a confident, articulate flow.

 Exercise 3: Set a timer for 2 minutes and record yourself speaking in extended sentences on a topic you know well.

As you speak, imagine each word is connected to the next one to the next one and so on. Like links in a chain.

When you feel the urge to say um or uh, pause instead and say it silently to yourself.

Play back the recording and evaluate how well you did. If you successfully completed 2 minutes with a minimum of filler words, repeat the process increasing your recording time to 5 minutes and change the topic.

Repeat this process until you are able to speak for 20 minutes straight on various new topics with a minimum use of filler words.

Conclusion – and the Big BUT!

Now all of this is well and good, however, remember to also be human, be yourself and be natural.

Adapt these techniques to your personal style, your customers’ style and your business. You don’t want to turn into a robot. Consumers are looking for authenticity. A few ums and ahs, a few flubs, a few light hearted laughs and higher pitches will speak well to your authenticity without undermining your authority.

People want to know, like and trust you before they’ll do business with you. Creating authority in your voice will help with the trust part. Just don’t take it so far that you undermine their ability to know and like you as well.

Marketing Q&A for Savvy Entrepreneurs

Implementing These Answers Can Mean the Difference Between Entrepreneurial Success and Stagnation

Beth Southworth, a friend, marketing compatriot and owner at BS Consulting and Development, LLC recently asked me these 5 marketing questions often posed by savvy entrepreneurs. Visit Beth’s blog at http://emtnester.blogspot.com/

What is the single biggest mistake a small business can make in their overall marketing strategy?

The single biggest mistake I see small businesses make in their overall marketing strategy – and I see it EVERYWHERE – is that they are too focused upon themselves.

When I review their websites, their blogs, their brochures, etc, I see where they love to talk about what they do, their newest hires, their new equipment, their company’s growth. Blah blah blah!

Listen hon! No one is interested in that information except you!

The irony is that everyone you’re trying to market to is just as self-involved as YOU are!

Target customers must be able to interact with your company (online, offline, in-person) and think “Ah ha! This company GETS me!“

That’s the bedrock of good marketing strategy.

Do you think it’s best for a business owner to write their own blog content for their website?

A business owner should always BE RESPONSIBLE for what is written for their blog content – and all other content for that matter. This doesn’t mean that they have to be the one to do the writing. Outsourcing blog writing is a very wise strategic use of time as long as the following attributes are in place:

1) You must TRUST your writer. Obviously, this only occurs over time.
2) The writer must understand your industry and your customer.
3) The writer must be able to speak in your voice.
4) The writer must be reliable.

When you find a writer of this caliber, hang onto them like gold.

You as the business owners must provide the raw content. The writer will refine, put it in your voice, speak to the customer, utilize your keywords and make it “online friendly”.

However, always remember that you are ultimately responsible for what is posted and the content that goes out. Never relinquish that responsibility.

What is the main difference between how a company should market themselves offline and online?

The strategic difference is – quite literally – nothing. As stated above, always speak in your customer’s voice and to their issues not your own. That’s true for all the marketing you do.

The important issue about online and offline marketing is to integrate them. Very often I see brochures with no link to a web site or a Facebook page. Or advertisements without a direct call to action and lacking a website URL. Big mistake. Small businesses cannot afford to do “image advertising”. It’s expensive and brings little to zero results.

Also, remember to mention your webpage in your face to face interactions with people as you network and in your presentations and speeches, as well as your voice mail recording and your email signature.

If you could only give one piece of marketing advice to the small- to mid-sized business owner, what would you suggest?

Always remember that you, as the business owner, must only spend your time on activities that make your company money. And the only two things that make your company money are:

1) Selling your product and/or providing your service, and
2) Marketing your product or service.

I cannot overstate the importance of becoming a marketing expert in your particular industry. You must always learn, always study, and always tweak and refine your marketing.

Hire outside marketing strategists to advise you. Hire outside marketing tacticians to do the work for you. Take their advise and recommendations as seriously as you would a doctor’s recommendations. Yet always remember that you alone are responsible for the marketing decisions and educating yourself on how best to market your business.

If a small business owner is “anti- social media”….what is your best argument for WHY they should reconsider (or not!)?

Usually, there are three common reasons that business owners are “anti-social media”:

1 – They believe it is too time consuming.
2 – They approach it like other media (radio, TV, print etc), expecting similar results, and
3 – They usually don’t have a strategy.

If a business owner holds these beliefs and takes this approach, it’s no wonder they are staunchly “anti-social media”. I would be too!

Let’s take these reasons – or objections – in reverse order:

3 – They don’t have a strategy.

Plunging in to social media without a strategy is like making dinner without a recipe! (See “What’s for Dinner? A Social Media Parable.”) It will be a disaster and you will NOT like the results.

So you MUST have a strategy and measurable objectives and outcomes.

2 – They approach it like other media.

Social media is not really media. It‘s social. However, I see too many business owners using social media like they do TV, radio or print ads – and this doesn’t work. Those traditional ways of media are all ONE WAY. With social media, the emphasis is on the social aspect. Social media is more like networking, it’s building relationships and developing a dialogue not a monologue.

1 – Social media is too time-consuming.

Time management in social media is key. Once you have a strategy and measurable objectives, and you understand that social media is about sharing great content rather than selling, you can craft a doable task list for your social media efforts. Try 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week for starters.