Projecting Confidence and Authority
At one point in my career, I worked as a communication coach for big pharmaceutical companies. In a run-up to a presentation, the voice of the speaker was often the last thing that we worked on, even though it was sometimes the most important.
People spent lots of time and effort on their slides and the content within them, but little to no time was spent on how they came across, much to their own detriment.
Dr. Mehrabian performed a study back in 1967 to try to measure persuasiveness. (Here’s a link that explains his theory.)
In his study, he tried to quantify why someone might like another person when they meet. He came away with these now famous stats:
Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking
“Verbal liking” is basically liking the words that were said, while “vocal liking” and “facial liking” are basically tone of voice and body language.
This study has been misinterpreted as proving that the content doesn’t matter. The content matters. Instead, the research makes a point about the importance of the congruence between words and body language.
To most people, this concept might seem like common sense.
Unless we’re asking for a specific answer, we respond more to how a person is rather than to what he/she says.
The art of social signaling.
Back in 2010, the MIT data professor Alex (Sandy) Pentland did a study around communication and social signaling, which seems to affirm parts of Mehrabian’s research.
In his research, he looked at bio-feedback and big data to demonstrate that we to look for social cues and signals when we work with other people. Social signaling appears to be one of the most important attributes of working together.
I interpret this to mean that the less aware you are of how you are coming across, the harder it is to make connections and be trusted.
A lack of self-awareness might even undermine your authority in critical situations.
Pentland makes the case that one of the ways that we show authority is in our “fluidity of speech that is perceived as expertise.”
(Pentland, American Scientist, 2010).
This concept of fluidity is another way of saying speaking without nervous hesitation or wavering voice (which is different from a stutter).
Often, nervous hesitation or a shaky voice can be solved by learning how better to manage one’s breath and access one’s voice range.
Uncovering your own voice.
Most actors and singers have to work on using their voice to convey a wide range of emotions and sounds.
Uncovering the power of your voice is one easy way to become more confident and authoritative.
Learn how to use the tools that actors and singers use.
Speak with confidence and poise.
This April 12th 2022, I’m offering an all day workshop exclusively for women that will be led by voice teacher Patricia Mulholland in my office space at 100 Commercial Street, Suite 405.
This workshop is limited to only eight participants. You can sign up here or respond to this post if you have any questions.
This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a professional voice teacher and leadership coach.
To sign up for the workshop, please click here.
Trust yourself and invest in yourself.
Everything you need is already within you.