Put your best voice forward

After your physical appearance, your voice is the first thing people notice about you. And it can either enhance a good first impression or tarnish it. Your voice can be deep and resonant or high-pitched and nasal. Whatever its pitch, your voice should always possess one crucial quality. It should come through crystal clear to whom-ever is listening.

“When you’re speaking, don’t mumble,” advises Rhonda Hansome, a black-theater teacher at New York City Technical College. She also cautions against speaking too fast. “It shows that you’re either unsure” of what you’re saying, “or that you don’t have time for the other person.”

This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t do their speaking voice justice by falling into those two traps. There are other pitfalls to avoid. Talking with gum in your mouth (especially on the phone) and not opening your mouth when speaking are just two more examples of behaviors that can make a good voice sound bad.

So, before you open your mouth to share your voice with the world, be aware of what not to do. In other words, think before you speak. That way, you’ll be less likely to say something in a manner that detracts from your vocal presentation. Speak so your utterances come forth clearly every time, and you’ll leave them hanging on your every word.

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