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Women turning to voice coaches for help

June 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
More and more women say they're turning to voice coaches to help them get ahead at work. Molly Hooper has plenty of faith in her ability as a reporter. But recently, she felt her voice was working against her.

"It was imperative I was able to get a question out and do it in an authoritative way so leaders would respond," said Hooper.

So on this day, she comes for her third session with voice trainer Susan Miller.

"The voice is an instrument and we need to learn how to use it," said Susan Miller, Ph.D.

Some of her tips include: speak in active declarative sentences, not tentative thoughts, and speak slowly and confidently.

"If you speak too quickly, your message really isn't understood," said Dr. Miller.

She also recommends to keep your voice at a lower pitch and steady in volume.

"Women also tend to inflect the sentences upward at the end," explains Dr. Miller.

If your voice is steady, you won't sound tentative and unsure of yourself.

Pause between thoughts rather than inserting fillers. And finally, don't over-explain.

"People get bored. They feel you're not direct enough," said Dr. Miller.

Hooper says she used to speak too high and fast, which made her sound unsure.

"I think I give a better impression that I know what I'm talking about and I think I'm very successful at it," said Hooper.

So while she's always been confident in herself, now she sounds that way to others, too.

Voice training isn't cheap. A three hour session with Dr. Miller costs $750, and usually requires two follow ups.

But for a more affordable way to perfect your speaking skills, look for a Toastmasters club in your area.

 

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