I worked at a television affiliate, and our reporter was an easygoing, very sociable guy with a low-key, soft voice. He’d come back from shooting a story, sit down at his desk, and start recording his voice-over, and suddenly he sounded all bold and official. We’d laugh and tell him to use his reporter voice all the time. He’d look at us and say, “What?” He didn’t think his voice was changing at all when he was recording his story.
We have a ‘work voice’ that we speak or write with that is different from our ‘regular’ voice. It is still a human voice. The more you use your human voice at work, the more engaging you’ll find your communications with coworkers and customers.
Whatever it is you want to communicate, use your human voice. It could be your key messages about your product or your services. It might be the news you are sharing in a news release. It might be a presentation to staff or a client or the public.
Here are five ways to make sure your work voice is a human voice.
- Use plain language: be clear and concise, using everyday words that we all use and understand
- Use the first person: I need this from you… We can help you with…
- Read aloud what you’ve written before you send it. Does it sound like a person is talking? If it doesn’t, rewrite it.
- Think of it as a conversation: how would you talk to the other person on the phone or in the flesh? That’s the voice you need to use to engage with them.
- Listen: if you’re listening to the conversation, you’ll reply with a human voice. If you’re just there to deliver a message and not engage, how personal is that?
It sometimes takes practice to find our work voice. Try these tips and see how your communication improves.
Let me know what happens!