Whether you work from home or you have a corner office with a great view, you need to make sure you always sound professional. After conducting a phone conversation with a professional colleague recently, I was reminded that nothing is as irritating and unprofessional than listening to a seemingly professional woman use the words um and like after every fourth word during a conversation. Instead of sounding professional and educated, it makes you sound like a clueless teenage girl with a crush. Your confidence is diminished and your professional credibility is gone. Here are three ways to sound more professional when speaking to others.
Use a Strong Voice
Speak up. Don’t whisper or use speak too low. Use a strong voice that comes across as authoritative and professional. In fact, you can accomplish this by using a deeper register and by keeping your head up and eye contact in place. It helps to make sure your voice remains strong and confident.
Watch Your Words
Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid using words such as like and um, but you really need to eliminate them from your vocabulary. Try speaking a little more slowly to help you formulate your thoughts and avoid filler words and confused words such as, “um.” A presentation or phone conversation filled with those words sounds unprofessional, as if you aren’t sure what you’re talking about.
People can hear you smiling as much as they can see you smiling. When you’re on the phone with someone, they might not be able to see you but they can tell whether or not you’re scowling or smiling. When smiling, your words automatically come out stronger and more professional. If you aren’t sure you can accomplish this, try practicing on your husband, friends, mom, kids, or whomever. Do it with each phone conversation you have, whether it has to be professional or not, and you’ll be amazed how quickly it becomes a habit.
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