blog article on how to best use your voice in an interview

Do you know what your voice sounds like in an interview? Are you are missing out on roles because you are alienating your prospective buyer?

One of the small but important issues that many people ignore when it comes to managing their performance at interviews, is the sound of their voice.

An often-quoted statistic is that roughly 40% of the impression we make on a stranger comes from our voice. In an interview performance, this means that our actual words can be ignored if the listener is alienated by the message that our voice is sending.

Yet, when I work with clients on interview skills coaching and ask them whether they consider their voice to be an asset or a liability, they usually cannot answer.

Do you know what your voice sounds like in an interview? Are you are missing out on roles because you are alienating your prospective buyer?

Review these three simple tips to ensure that your voice sells a persuasive marketing message.

Tip#1. Introduce light and shade into your delivery

In English, we use loudness and softness to tell the listener which information is important and which snippets are not important.

The most common error is people who only have the “loud” switch. You may think that you are sounding full of enthusiasm and energy, but if there is no change in your volume, your delivery can sound like a verbal assault on the listener.

At the other end of the spectrum are people who answer questions in an interview with a very pleasant sounding voice, which is nevertheless a monotone. Just watch that your audience doesn’t drift off.

Light and shade is one of the easiest voice problems to correct. It helps if you think of your interview as a performance. Your role is to charm the buyer into putting you at the top of their list. If you think of using your voice as an instrument, it is more likely that your delivery will be nuanced.

Tip #2. Avoid questioning your own assertions

In English, we raise our voices at the end of a sentence to tell the listener that we are asking a question. That’s called rising intonation. Unfortunately, many of us have developed the habit of raising our voice this way at the end of every sentence regardless of whether we are asking a question or not.

Having worked with so many people in interview role plays, I’ve found that most people will show at least some signs of it. Perhaps it’s the stress of being the sole focus of attention when talking about their work behaviour. So, I don’t get worried about the occasional use.

The issue becomes critical when you talk this way in too often. Just look at the following examples:

“I’ve always had strong leadership qualities???”

”People have always enjoyed working with me???”

“I have the ability to influence people, to get them to come on board with my new ideas???”

If you answer this way, you sound as though you are questioning your own abilities. All of a sudden, your convincing, interesting work story proving a critical skill loses its punch.

If, in addition, you have a weak, hesitant delivery style, you raise further doubts in the mind of the listener (your “buyer”). You may find that you miss out on the role because it has gone to someone who just sounded more confident, more sure, more capable.

This is a habit that can be eliminated with some attention and with time. The first step is to ascertain whether you suffer from rising intonation or not in an interview. You’ll just need to find someone who is likely to notice and ask them.

The second step is to break yourself of the habit. At first, you’ll hear yourself using Rising Intonation without quite stopping it in time. Eventually, if you keep monitoring your voice, you will catch yourself just in time and will be able to stop. Success will not be far away – when you have eliminated it completely from your speech.

Tip #3. Assess whether the pitch and tone of your voice is appealing

Once again, find someone who is skilled in this area and ask for feedback. Your best source is either an interview coach or a voice coach. They are trained to notice and to evaluate the effect of your voice, and you can generally trust them to tell you the truth.

If this expert highlights an issue, I’d head straight for a voice coach or a speech pathologist. They will know the exercises to give you to make these significant changes.

The sooner you start, the better for your interview performance

There are a three critical areas to consider here. Some of them take more time and effort than others, so the sooner you evaluate your own performance and get started on making any necessary changes, the better your success will be at that critical job interview.

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