- When you speak do you capture people’s attention ?
- Are you convincing and persuasive?
Whether you’re addressing a convention (as we’ve seen in the last month), a small group, or one other person in an interview, using the “authentic voice” can lead to a “yes” answer to these questions.
Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama project this authentic voice. Hillary Clinton is trying to capture the voice but struggles with the problem of authenticity in her style. What separates the two?
When I work with clients I recommend they “tell the audience the story.” Doesn’t everyone enjoy hearing a story? From early childhood and even as adults, a storyteller captures our attention. There are many elements to “telling a story”, including the structure of the story. But for now, let’s focus on the voice.
A good storyteller uses a natural melody that varies in pitch and rhythm. He or she connects with the listener through a soft vocal quality, not harsh or grating. This “tone” conveys the message, “Come with me as I tell you my story.” A “natural” voice has an authentic feel and brings the listener into a dialogue with the storyteller. Michelle Obama used this technique at the convention when she drew listeners into her reminiscences of her years as First Lady as she watched her daughters grow from little girls into young women.
Throughout this past year none of the Presidential candidates have captured this “authentic” voice. In one way or another, each one has taken a strong, critical approach and employed a voice with features that emphasize power and authority — but not the persuasive connection that the natural, authentic voice creates.
If you want to persuade another person, you need to draw the listener into a dialogue. Consider using the storyteller’s voice to convey an invitation: “come with me on the journey of my story.” The “authentic” voice creates a connection between the speaker and the listener, a necessary beginning to the persuasive process.
Check back soon for more articles on effective speaking, writing, executive function and speech-language pathology.