What do you sound like?

Did you know that as many as eight out of ten people are worried about the sound of their voice? Could you be one of them? If so read on and learn a few tricks that you can apply to improve your verbal communication.

Selling real estate, either by conducting an auction or by negotiation with buyers, sellers or tenants, is obviously a communication exercise.

You need to open your mouth and talk. But could you be turning your prospects off by the sound of your voice? We, at The Voice Business, have compiled a list of the 10 things that really bug people when listening to voices. Here’s the list. Have a read through and see if your voice might be on it.

1. Being too loud
2. Being too soft.
3. Sounding nasal and whingy
4. Being monotone and uninteresting
5. Fading Out
6. Speaking too fast
7. Clearing your throat constantly
8. Having a strong accent
9. Mispronunciation
10. Mumbling

If you are like most people, you will do at least one of the above vocal turnoffs from time to time. Fortunately there are ways to fix every one of them. But why would you bother? We’ll let’s see how using your voice well could help you make that extra sale.

Voice Setting
You can use the pitch and the tone of your voice to colour what you say. For example, when you show a prospective buyer into a bedroom you can slow down your rate of talking and talk smoothly and gently. This helps to set the mood and suggest the “calm” and “relaxing” vibe you would want in a bedroom sanctuary. Now on the other hand, if you want to get the buyer excited about a kitchen, the hub of family activities, you will want to sound more upbeat and happy .To achieve this you will need to speak a little bit faster and raise the pitch of your voice very slightly. People are profoundly influenced by the rhythms of the voices they listen to and will be easier to influence if you put them in the right “vibe”. No one wants to buy from a person who sounds monotonous or drones on and on. This way of speaking suggests boredom and lack of caring for either the buyer or the property itself. Make sure this is not you!

Remember…variety is the spice of life…add ups and down to your voice and you’ll have buyers hanging off your every word.

Listening to your buyer’s voice is important too. You can get a lot of information about how they like a place by the sounds they make about it. One of the less obvious ways you can pick up on what they are feeling and move them to a more positive place is by using the technique of vocal “pace and lead”. This is a rapport building strategy of firstly matching your buyer’s tone of voice and rate of talking then psychologically leading them to a brighter place by lightening your tone of voice.

As a multicultural society we will come across people with accents. If you are speaking English with an accent make sure you can be clearly understood. We have an exercise below that might help you sharpen up your diction and lead to better understanding of what you say.

Accent Reduction Exercise
In most accent reduction situations, and definitely if you think you mumble or mispronounce things….you need to open your mouth more. Try this. Whip out your iPhone or anything you can record on. Press record, and repeat this phrase. “I had a hippopotamus and kept him in a shed”. Good. Hold on to that recording. It’s your ‘before’ shot. Now find a pen and hold one end of it in your dominant hand. Put the other end in your mouth (about 1 cm in) and hold it firmly between your teeth. Now repeat the “hippo” phrase six times with the pen in your mouth. Done. Now get your iPhone again and record a second version of the “hippo” phrase, minus pen but maintaining the sensation of moving your lips as you speak. Now end the recording. Play back both versions and viola! You should notice a distinct improvement in the clarity with which you speak.

However the most important thing you need to do to have a good voice and maintain its strength is to breathe. Learning how to breathe properly is the key. Yes, we know you can breathe….but are you doing it deeply enough? Put your hand on your abdomen and test. Take a deep breath and feel your tummy expand as you breathe in. Now pull your tummy in as you breathe out. If this feels backwards for you, you need a little bit of retraining.

Have fun and stay in good voice.

Juliet Jordan is the Chief Voice Coach for The Voice Business, an international training company specialising in Voice Coaching, Presentation Skills and Public Speaking Courses. Clients include politicians, showbiz personalities, newsreaders, sales people, telemarketing personnel, and any professional who needs to speak with confidence. Visit http://www.voicebusiness.com for information on Real Estate specific courses.

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