Does Your Voice Match Your Message? - a Holiday recipe for success
Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2019
“If Music be the Food of Love, Sing On” – H. Heveningham adapted from William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
It’s amazing what you can do with butter, flour, sugar and eggs. The combinations seem endless. Yet a different mixture of the same ingredients could be the difference between what gets eaten up or left on the table. Like food, music and speech are comprised of their own set of basic ingredients. Yet how they’re combined can turn someone off or on at the bar, or in a job interview.
Sleep, Sing or Fight?
In music, the composer creates a precise mixture of elements such as dynamics, tempo, key, range, and tone to set a mood and relay a certain message. Alter these and you change the message. Let’s take the tune to ‘Jingle Bells’. If we change the tempo and make it twice as slow, add more of a hushed tone and soften the volume, you could put the baby to sleep. But if we sing it twice as fast, raise the volume really loud, use a harsher tone and flatten out the melody (think The Ramones) you could start a bar-room brawl. Same song, different mix of ingredients = different outcome, because each mixture evokes a particular feeling in the listener.
Do you know what your voice is saying?
Speech works the same way, uses the same basic ingredients and receives the same affects. We might describe the ingredients this way; volume, tone, pitch, melody, and pace. A different mixture creates a different impression. If you’ve ever listened to a radio play you get an idea about which character is anxious and stressed out, who is the villain, is naive, takes themselves too seriously, is the salesman, or who is the friendly and trustworthy neighbor, all based on how the actors crafted their voices to give you that impression. They lead you in that direction. So figuring out what’s right for your message and your audience is a great idea.
Bitter Sadness or Sweet Success?
Managing people’s money? On a scale of 1-10 and depending upon where your baseline is, you may want to slow your pace a bit (4-5) so the client doesn’t feel pressured, and pitch in the upper middle (5-6) so that you don’t sound dispassionate if pitched too low, or desperate and inexperienced if pitched too high. Going for a job as a creative director? More melody and a faster pace (7-8) will probably work for you so that you come across as enthusiastic, confident, full of creative ideas and sharp-minded. Working in the healing arts? A warm tone with a decent amount of melody (6-7) and slightly slower pacing (4-5) could create a calm and trusting environment.
Your voice is your signature in sound. It represents you and gives us a sense of who you are. Taking the time to create the right mix of musical ingredients for your message and audience could very well produce oh-so-sweet results.
Wishing you and yours very Happy Holidays and a New Year filled with love, peace and sweet success.
Tip – Write down all the words that describe the expectations of your audience and what you need to demonstrate. Think about how the various speech elements can help you reach your goal. Tape yourself and play it back. Experiment until what you hear matches what you need to demonstrate – or get a coach to help you!