People communicate most effectively when they are able to select the right words. This requires a rich vocabulary that can be used responsively and appropriately as the situation demands. The barriers to good verbal communication are:
Negative language: To promise a customer that you will ‘try’ is not good enough. They want a commitment that you ‘will’. In addition, they definitely do not want to hear, ‘I cannot’. If you cannot assist them, who can?
Jargon: When people hear an unfamiliar term, they either ask for clarification or fake understanding. Do not assume the customer knows the specialized terms or mechanical words and phrases. It may be appropriate to use jargon if you are sure that your listener ‘shares the same language’, but with a customer it is inappropriate. Use simple, informal and plain words and grammar.
Chatter: Do not chatter on and on through a routine of explanations. After all, you are not supposing to impress a prospective client with the knowledge, but to communicate effectively in the limited time available. Pauses are more effective than endless chatter.
Non-words: Some people call them ‘word whiskers’ – those unnecessary, unwanted barriers to communication such as ‘Umm’, ‘OK’, ‘Ahh’, ‘Well’, ‘You know’ and other irritating pause filters. Avoid them.
Voice and Personality
- The human voice is one of the most remarkable means of communication.
- It is used to express our thoughts, feelings, ideas, and concepts.
- It is an integral part of the personality.
- It can reveal excitement, enthusiasm, sincerity, anger, frustration, wonder, surprise, pain, and all the different moods we experience.
- The voice is also a versatile musical instrument, which can produce a variety of tones.
- It is within our means to control, appreciate and improve it, or ignore and neglect it.
- Let us learn to train our voices, to control them and to master them.
- Let us use our voices to communicate effectively.
- Your voice is you and should be treasured by you and those with whom you come into contact.
- Your voice should be pleasing and easy to understand.
- Be yourself in speaking and your message has every chance of being convincing.
- Because your voice is so much an expression of what you essentially are, you should give special attention to the following important factors:
- Strengthening muscles for posture, breathing, and articulation
- Correct breathing
- Acquiring normal articulation and pronunciation
- Paying attention to voice qualities, such as pitch, volume, tempo, and tone.
We generally distinguish five steps in speech production:
- The mental phase
- Sound production
The mental step
Producing speech is dependent upon the natural flow of air into and out of the lungs.
We use the outgoing air for producing sound.
Poor breathing control will result in bad sound production and will affect the quality of speech.
The sound production step
The vibration of the vocal folds produces sound waves – the raw material of speech.
These sounds still need to be shaped and formed during the last two steps.
The resonation step
The raw sound that is produced through breathing and phonation is enriched and strengthened in the resonating cavities of throat, mouth and nasal passages.
More volume is produced and the sound enriched and rendered distinctive.
The articulation step
This step has to do with the formation of speech sounds.
The breath stream is further modified by action of the tongue, lips, teeth and palate.
These articulators create identifiable speech sounds by blocking and channeling the breath stream.
Excitement and enthusiasm should be conveyed by the sound of your voice. Are you’re aware of how much or how little energy you transmit to others? Are you wide-awake and alert? Are you really interested in the person calling or speaking to you?
Apart from a relaxed bearing, the following three criteria are essential for a good
AUDIBILITY CLARITY MODULATION
Breathing Articulation Pitch
Resonance Tone color / variation
Accentuation / Emphasis