Feature Interview #2 – Voice and the Executive

This is the second of two interviews with Jason Jelicich from Executive Assistant Network. This time we talked about some speaking and listening approaches that executives can employ to maximise both their influence and their effectiveness in the workplace.

You can read the first interview about Voice Strategies for EAs and PAs here.

Article by Jason Jelicich

Last time we talked about how EAs and PAs can utilise their voices and adopt some deeper listening strategies to improve their communication and foster relationships.

This month Tim Noonan, Inspirational Speaker and Voice Communication expert, shares some speaking and listening approaches that executives can employ to maximize both their influence and their effectiveness in the workplace. He talks with EAN General Manager, Jason Jelicich, about the way voice is changing in business, the relationship between voice and trust and finishes with his top 7 strategies for vocal brilliance when presenting.#### Q: Welcome back Tim, A lot has changed in business over the last 20 or so years, so I thought we might start with what you feel are some of the key challenges for Executives today and what communication suggestions do you have to overcome or minimise these?

The way we communicate and use our voices has changed dramatically, as have the expectations of listeners. So whether you are conducting a performance appraisal, leading a team or launching a new initiative for your organisation, using more of the contemporary approaches below will maximize interest, enthusiasm and engagement.

Once Was Now Is
Format was lecture now is conversation
Status was authority now is collaborator and invitation
Style was tell now is explanation
Tone formal and commanding now is natural and real
Delivery rushed with no breath now is more prosodic and spacious
Dynamic was all loud now is variable
Emphasis was shouty now is expressed in numerous ways

Q: We are currently rolling out a series of conferences around the importance of ‘Trust’ in dealings between an EA and their Executive. Tell us more about the role trust plays in voice and communication.

In his book The Language of Trust, Michael Maslansky opens by saying “We live in a Post Trust Era”

While his book hardly touches on the topic of tone of voice and vocal authenticity, it is actually our shift away from a focus on sound and authentic speaking which (in large part) has led to this worrying state of affairs.

In a ‘Big Thinking’ presentation to the Communications Council, I tell the story of Jacques Lusseyran a 16 year-old French man and how he used voice alone to determine which ones, out of over 1000 people, should be admitted into their French Resistance Movement, and how the one man he had suspicions about betrayed the entire organisation a year later. www.timnoonan.com.au/video

Here are some ideas to think about around the voice and trust, which I expand on in my Executive Communication Coaching and our workshops on Vocal Authenticity and Insightful Listening.

  • Belief in the possibility that human speech and human hearing/listening can read the emotions and assess the trust of another within a specific context;

  • Employing rich heart-felt speech that isn’t missing key emotional and personal information – I call head-only speaking Empty Speech;

  • The congruency of our words, our sound and our body language is key;

  • Listening with the ears more than the eyes.

My company Vocal Branding Australia also applies these trust principles to corporate and personal branding. Brand trust only exists when the sound of a brand, the visuals of the brand and the values of the brand are harmonious and congruent.

Q: That’s fascinating. What about giving us some practical tips that Executives (and EAs) can use when presenting to small or large groups?

The traditional ways we were taught to present information years ago sometimes fall short in the time-poor competitive business world of 2012. Information and ideas are no longer enough to engage many audiences, so we need to raise the level of personal engagement and inject some more of “us” when we present.

If you are delivering a presentation to a meeting, a board or any group, following some or all of the following vocal strategies will transform your words into an engaging and compelling message.

  1. Record Every Speech You Give

  2. Review With Eyes Closed!

  3. Build Trust and Understanding through Sincere Delivery

  4. Speak WITH, not TO, the Audience

  5. Warm Up Your Voice

  6. Smile as you Speak!

  7. Play your Instrument and Express your Passion!

These ideas are explained in full in Tim’s eBook Your Voice is Your Business: 7 Voice Strategies for Vocal Brilliance

Thanks Tim. It’s always a pleasure to explore the intricacies of voice with you and we look forward to working with you more in the future.

About Tim

Tim Noonan is a voice and usability consultant, business communication coach, inspirational conference speaker and the founder of Vocal Branding Australia. Tim has a degree in Cognitive Psychology and Education, with a particular focus on how people process and comprehend auditory information. Some of his clients include Westpac, Telstra, St.George Bank, The NSW Electoral Commission, Weber Shandwick PR, NSW Ministry of Health and the ATO.

Tim can be reached on 0419 779 669.

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