Why your tone of voice is your best asset.

The power of the written word is often reduced to soundbites, text-speak and slogans. Advertising barks at us in quick fix snippets and politicians weave delicately between difficult questions. Trust is gone.

For that reason, winning someone over takes more than a few well-designed landing pages crammed with compelling text. When faced with difficult decisions, many consumers need a human conversation before gauging the credibility of a brand.

But it goes a lot deeper than just listening to someone echo the benefits they’ve already read online. It relates to the hidden meanings we all secretly communicate within the volume, speed and frequency of our voice. The way we speak is four times more important than the words we actually say.

When you work in sales, it’s vital to understand how certain tones trigger specific feelings. Consider how David Attenborough sounds calm and reassuring, whereas Declan Donnelly could make custard seem exciting.

High-quality sales professionals adjust their tone to suit each customer, so here are a few pointers to ponder before your next call.

Deep and consistent tones are calming

Morgan Freeman’s narration in March of the Penguins is likely to have you nodding off into your Sunday lunch — but in a good way. Low and steady voices are relaxing to listen to and ideal if you’re dealing with a difficult customer.

Deeper voices in males are also more memorable and many associate them with good leadership. Psychologists pin this phenomenon on the perception that large burly men have low tones — even though there’s no direct link (or any correlation between big burly men and good leaders).

A rising intonation is untrustworthy in males

We tend to distrust males that begin low and gradually rise in tone. The same is true for females that start low and get even lower.

Fast speakers gain authority

The speed that you deliver your words can change the direction of a whole conversation. People that speak slowly generally sound kinder, whereas those that speak rapidly carry more gravitas. But don’t get carried away and go at 100mph — you’ll just sound worried and over-caffeinated.

Connect with your words

The finest speakers are storytellers that connect their voice to every turn of phrase. Listeners are drawn in by their conviction and their messages are memorable. Equally, the opposite is true — when you speak in an unconnected way, it comes off as dishonest.

Don’t be a robot

Top public figures have a knack of adjusting their voices through various tones to keep an audience glued. Versatility is the most important attribute of all. To achieve this you firstly need to become more conscious about the way you sound and that involves listening to yourself. If you work in a telemarketing environment, go back through your recordings and pick out your different styles. Try to increase your variety so you become more adaptable with various types of customer.

The most compelling speeches of all time would be instantly forgettable if delivered in monotone. Behind every word you say, there’s an ocean of hidden sentiment.