A communal groan. Deer in the headlights stares. A few people looking to bolt out the nearest door. As an executive speaking coach, I’m accustomed to these reactions each and every time I tell participants in an executive communication training course that we will be recording their voices.
These are senior level executives and leaders on a succession track, and they uniformly balk at what we have found to be one of the most powerful tools for improving public speaking and communication skill. “I hate hearing the sound of my own voice,” they cry out in unison. Using playground lingo, I respond with some version of, “too bad, so sad!” Everyone else has to listen to your voice, don’t you think it makes sense to know what they hear?
If you are having flashbacks to the last time you had to record your outgoing voicemail message, don’t leave yet. We use audio recordings both to identify vocal disfluencies, and also to rehearse talks. (We’ll discuss rehearsing talks another day.) While most of us will never come close to James Earl Jones voice quality, we must recognize those disfluencies that can distract the audience and detract from our message. We all have them, whether it is UM or UH, SO or LIKE, or…. you get the idea. These habits become far more pronounced when we are nervous— which often happens with public speaking. Finding time to identify and train ourselves out of them in a low-pressure— even private— moment is critical. And, recordings are the key to success.
I can stand in front of a class at executive communication training events and tell each participant exactly what they should work on. But, only when they hear it and identify it for themselves, can they internalize the learning and make improvement. Once you hear it, you will notice it. Once you raise your awareness, you can fix it.
Record yourself in the car. Use your phone to record yourself during your portion of a staff meeting. Record yourself explaining a new concept to your kids. I promise, once you press that scary red button the first time, it will be easier the second time around.
You will be a better speaker for it, and your audience will thank you.
(Check out the new Articulation resources page for specifics on how to find the voice recorder that is already on your phone.)
Articulation’s team of executive communication coaches coach and train for executive communication that transforms behavior for influence, persuasion and impact, where and when our clients need it most. Learn more about our service offerings.