A study published in Speech Management shows that when meeting someone for the first time, 62% of a person’s effectiveness can be attributed to voice and delivery and only 38% to content. In persuasive speeches, such as a sales pitch, delivery accounts for a remarkable 76% of the presentation’s effectiveness, while only 24% is due to content.
Delivery is the way you talk – your speech mannerisms, the sound of your voice and even how you change your posture as you speak. What you say is important, but the way you say it affects listeners as much as three times more. Your voice is a vital communication tool for your legal nurse consulting business. Effective communication is essential to interviewing successfully with attorney-prospects and for assuring your attorney-clients are fully present when you communicate your opinions on a medical-related case.
As a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant preparing for interviews with attorney-prospects and presentations to attorney-clients, you should analyze your voice to discover where it needs improvement. Do you whisper or mumble? Do people constantly ask you to repeat yourself? Do you find yourself using your parent or cell-phone voice in normal conversation? Do you sound interested or bored? Do you race like a runaway train or buzz along in one endless sentence after another, providing no opportunity for the attorney to speak? Do you needlessly punctuate your speech with ahs, ems, hmms, sighs, “like,” “I mean,” “you know” or other fillers? Or worse, do you always sound like you’re lecturing instead of engaging?
Most of us are not aware of how we sound to others. If we were, we might talk a lot less. I’ve appeared on radio, television and DVDs enough to know all too well how I sound. This process has taught me that the best way to learn your own verbal “ticks” is to record a conversation and then listen to it. Use your digital camera, a video recorder like the “Flip” or, if you don’t have video available, use a simple voice recorder. Try and forget the camera/recorder is on, relax, be yourself and just speak. You can do this on the telephone, in a mock interview with a friend or spouse or simply in a casual conversation.
Now assess whether you sound like one of these:
- The Dying Swan fades out at the ends of sentences – losing all sense of command. Sometimes the dying swan doesn’t even close a sentence and just tapers off in mid-thought. Instead, punch those final words for closure. You’ve spent your nursing career learning how to draw conclusions – do it now in your conversation.
- The Flatliner speaks in a monotonous, boring rumble. Open your throat and your mouth. Imagine placing your voice forward, varying the pitch – from occasional high notes to more frequent low notes. Vary the volume too. When appropriate to what you’re saying, raise your volume. Occasionally, if you’re imparting information that can be done with a conspiratorial smile, use a brief stage whisper – your intended audience will lean forward to listen. That’s when you know you have them.
- The Valley Girl pitches up at the end of sentences, as if questioning. “After the meeting, we went to lunch?” “We ate the best Mexican food?” My legal nurse consulting fee is $150.00 per hour?” An upward inflection indicates hesitancy or a question. Most statements should be made with a downward inflection at the end to suggest certainty and confidence. At the end of a sentence, lower your pitch while still sounding confident.
- The Mumbler sounds like “We’re goan to see-um layer.” This usually results from lazy lips and running words together. Like stage actors, you must practice “biting” the words out. Form your vowels carefully. Own those consonants. Speak with the authority of a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant and slow down if you have to.
- The Whisperer sounds like the shyest person on the planet, but being shy is not an excuse. Having a “soft” voice is not an excuse. Open your mouth, inhale deep into your abdomen and speak up. Pretending you’re on your cell phone in a noisy room is a great way to overcome speaking too softly.
- The Artful Dodger leans back when she’s challenged on a point or unsure of her position. She leans forward when confident but fidgets when verbally cornered. Practice sitting still with a slight forward lean.
- The Conjurer waives her hands in the air while speaking like she’s stirring up the spirits. Keep your hands in your lap unless it’s really, really important to wave them around. Also, keep them away from your face and don’t hide behind them (the attorney can still see you).
Recording yourself makes all the difference in the world. Using a video recorder will let you hear what you really sound and look like when you speak. If you consider the time you’ve spent rehearsing your script for an attorney-prospect interview, you need to spend at least as much time, if not more, energizing the instrument that will deliver those important words – your voice. Chances are you concentrated more on content than delivery and it’s delivery that will prove determinative for your legal nurse consulting business.
Read those percentages at the top of this blog again. Now, focus your attention on your verbal delivery. Record your networking introductions and your answers to common attorney interview questions. Listen to the recordings and honestly assess what you can improve. Re-record it until you sound the way you want to sound – a highly confident, skilled and valuable Certified Legal Nurse Consultant with your nursing experience and education backing you up. You have the confidence – you just need to be confident about it.
Take care of your voice as much as you care for your laptop and iPhone®. With only a little practice this important marketing tool will gain you instant credibility, visibility and profit while you achieve your CLNC® goals. Ignore it and you might never realize how many attorneys you’ve lost through poor communication. Even one is too many, so start tuning up your voice today.
Success Is Inside!
P.S. Comment and share what you will start doing today to tune up your CLNC® voice.