How to Sound Charismatic
We talked about how to be more verbally charismatic, how to be more nonverbally charismatic. Notice my gestures, right? The big open gesture. The last one is talk to talk about how to be vocally charismatic. How does our voice play into our charisma? So this is one of my favorite studies. I talk about it in the "Cues" book, I talk about it in the power of body language course, and I wanna share it with here today. What they did in this study is they had doctors record 10 second voice tone clips. So in these clips, doctors had to say their name, where they worked, and their specialties. So it sounded like this. "Hi, my name is Dr. Edwards. "I specialize in oncology. "And I work at Children's Presbyterian Hospital." Something very simple like that. They took these clips and they warbled the words. So you could hear the pace, the volume, the cadence, the tone, but not the actual words being said. So that sounded like this (speaking gibberish). They took these clips and th...
ey asked participants to rate these people on warmth and competence. Now imagine this for a second. You are given a clip of gobbly gook, and you're asked, "How smart is this person?" "Do you like this person?" Again, they knew that warmth and competence was essential for our charisma, but they wanted to know can that come through in our voice. They found that doctors who had the lowest ratings of warmth and competence had the highest rate of malpractice lawsuits. That means that we don't just sue doctors based on their skills, we sue doctors based on our perception of their skills. And that happens within the first few seconds of hearing them. This happens every single time you say, "Hello." This happens every single time you say, "Good morning team. Good to see you." Those vocal cues is what someone is using to create a vocal first impression of your warmth and your competence. So, before I explain what happened, why certain doctors got rated high in warmth and certain doctors got rated high in competence, I wanna talk about cue number five, which is beware of the accidental question inflection. So the doctors that got rated the lowest in competence used the question inflection. The question inflection's when we go up at the end of our sentences. So everything we say sounds like a question even though it's not. So their intros sounded like this. "Hi, my name is Dr. Edwards. "I specialize in oncology. "And I work at Children's Presbyterian Hospital?" When you do that, you are asking your statements. What research finds is an accidental question inflection, when a question inflection is used on a statement, it switches the listener's brain. Literally they can measure this when looking at someone's brain. That when someone hears an accidental question inflection, our brain goes from listening to scrutinizing. We learned this in our lab. We did a lot of lie detection research in our lab where we had people submit lie to me videos. I talk a lot about my lie detection research in "Cues." One thing we found without question. Without question, get it? Is that liars use the question inflection. So when liars played two truths and a lie with us, they would inevitably end up asking their lie. So it sounded like this. "My hair color is blue. "I have two dogs." "And I'm a vegetarian. Hmm?" That is because when we're using the question inflection, we are unsure of our words. We're wondering, "Do you believe me? "I don't really believe me." So the biggest mistake that you can make is asking your prices, is asking your ideas, is asking your statements, is asking your name. I cannot tell you how many voicemails I hear where someone asks their own name. That is giving away all of your vocal competence. So number one, is make sure you are not accidentally using the question inflection. When you open up a video call, when you hop on a date, when you pick up the phone, make sure you are saying and not accidentally asking. The second thing they found, and this is where we get more advanced, is that someone's confidence affected their vocal power. We know a very confident person uses the lowest end of their natural tone. And this is because of the amount of space in our body. So remember how the last tip, I talked about creating space, having space between your arms and your torso, having space between your ears and your shoulder. The secret reason and the not so secret reason now I wanted you to do that is 'cause I was actually trying to give you space. People who have a lot of competence, people who feel a lot of pride, they take up space, they take in breath, and they can speak on the lowest end of their natural breath. People who are nervous or anxious, they tighten up the space, they shrink in their shoulders, they tilt in their chin, they take short breaths. This affects their vocal power. So what I'm gonna do for you right now is right now I'm speaking in the lowest end of my range. I'm gonna tighten my vocal cords. I'm gonna add some vocal fry so you can hear what nervousness sounds like. So if I get very, very nervous, I tend to go a little bit higher in my range. So I tend to tense up like this but I also tend to lose breath. So if I were to tighten my vocal cords, you can hear that I have a lot more vocal fry. So I might be like, "Okay, well I really wanna teach this class, "but you would really hate listening to me "if I did it in this entire tone of voice." Right? It would drive you crazy if I taught this class like that. And that is because we are always listening for anxiety. Why? We don't wanna catch it. We don't wanna catch someone's low power vocal cues. We don't wanna catch defeat or shame. And so when we listen to the first few seconds of someone's speech, or how they say hello, or their opening line, we're listening for space. We wanna hear someone with as much space as possible. So if you hear yourself go into your highest range, up like this, or use vocal fry, fry is when we have like a bacon sizzling in a pan, I want you to take up space, so roll your shoulders back, open up your arms and speak on the out breath. The moment we take in a breath it relaxes our vocal cords and we force the air out which brings us into our lower range. So doctors who had really low warmth and competence ratings gave their intros like this. "Hi, my name is Vanessa, "and I'm a specialist in oncology, "and I work at Children's Presbyterian Hospital?" The doctors who had the best ratings, and this is by the way for both men and women. It's not the men with the lowest baritone does best. It's that anyone who's using their lowest natural tone does best. They sounded like this. "Hi, my name is Dr. Edwards. "I specialize in oncology. "And I work at Children's Presbyterian Hospital." Right? Lowest end of my range. And that is 'cause we hear the breath. I wanna mention here also a mistake I hear on hello. So I hear a lot of people right before where say hello on a video call or hello on the phone is they've taken a deep breath and they answer at the top of their breath. So they go, "Hello," all the way up here. In fact, when we looked at people's voice analysis on their video calls, typically the highest note they use in the entire call was on the "Hello." So I want you make sure when you are waiting to answer your phone or waiting to hop on video, don't hold your breath. Make sure that you speak on the out breath. So not "Hello," but instead, "Hello." Same person, totally different sound. This brings me to cue number six. Use the lowest end of your natural voice tone. Use it with breath, use it with space. Couple last minute phone power tips for you. So if you're spending a lot of time on the phone, if you're doing a lot of video calls and phone calls, these are for you. First, always breathe out on hello. So practice not answering at the top of your breath. Try to keep your vocal cords nice and relaxed. Lastly, this is a hard one. Record just your end, or if you have an old Zoom call, your end of a conversation and listen for accidental question inflection. Is there a time where you are accidentally asking something? Make sure to get rid of it. This especially happens on prices. I cannot tell you how many sales trainings I've done where someone goes, "So we'd love to have your business. "We'd love to with you. "And the price of our service is $5,000?" If you ask your prices, you are begging people to negotiate with you. You are telling them I don't really believe this price, so you should push back on this price too. So be sure to listen for accidental question inflection, especially on important pieces of news. So prices, timelines, hard news, mistakes. Those are the lines that not only you wanna make sure you don't deliver in your highest range or with a question inflection, but also that you're delivering with power. So on the things that make you the most nervous before your next phone call, I want you to make sure to practice delivering with constant volume, constant tone, and no question inflection. (upbeat music)