How to use your voice to your advantage at work

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use your voice

We don’t talk as much as we used to in business. Email is fast and convenient. Slack is even quicker and more effective. However, as great a online communication really is, sometimes there is no comparison to the human voice.

Phone calls have their downsides. Namely, most of us hate to think that we are interrupting someone by breaking into their day with that shrill telephone ring. Sending an email, or Slacking them is safer, right?

Well, it depends. If you arrange a conference call ahead of time, you’ll not be interrupting the person to whom you want to speak in such a manner as the spontaneous call does. You can use apps like MobileDay to make the whole process of dialing into the conference call much easier.

But why would you bother with voice?

You’ll learn about your own emotions.

Studies, such as a recent one published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), show that the emotions we portray in our voices influence our own moods. This works two fold for us: one, we listen to our own voice to learn about how we are feeling, and; two, we use our voice to communicate our feelings to other people.

Talking maximizes the impact of the conversation.

If you think that emotion is aways a bad thing in the workplace, think again. Emotion is always there, whether you like it or not. We work better when we allow our emotions into our working space to a degree. If you don’t care about a project, the chances are that you’ll not do a good job. If you are nonchalant about an outcome, you won’t fight for it either way.

You voice can tell your colleague, boss, client, or prospect that you care about the conversation.

Voice conversations demand a real-time response.

Sure, there are downsides of this. But text can be ignored. We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve sent someone an email about something and received zilch in terms of a response. Then you’re stuck: you can either send a follow-up email and risk being annoying; or you can wait … and wait.

When you talk to someone if you ask them a question, you’ll usually get a real-time response. That can be priceless in terms of saving time and anxiety.

Additionally, if the answer is not so clear cut, you will be able to work it through much more efficiently when talking to someone than you would if you were going back and forth via email.

Voice conversations build relationships better.

We were talking about the emotion that your voice portrays. Well, hearing the sound of a human voice connects us to one another in a way that text doesn’t. Colleagues who see one another as humans are generally more considerate and value one another more. This is not a tangible factor that you can quantify, but it is there.

Voice conversations quash miscommunications.

We’ve all been in the situation where we’re received a text or email and taken offense. Then later on we discover that the sender didn’t mean it to sound like that and that our offense was unwarranted.

The intonation that allows us to better understand the intention behind what the speaker is saying is an important tool. Some conversations are simply better to be had on the phone.

At best these tiny miscommunications can lead to an awkward feeling between two parties, at worst they can lead to a total overlooking of something important or a big misunderstanding. When you talk to someone, there is a much lesser chance that you will come out of the conversation confused or misled.

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