In our last article, we talked about the words we use and how powerful they are.
This time, we’re going to take it to the next level.
So there’s a famous study that was done a while ago by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, that showed that only 7% of our communication is conveyed through words, 38% is from our vocal tonality, and the rest (55%) is through ‘nonverbal elements,’ such as your posture, gestures, and facial expressions.
Based on what I wrote in my last article, “The Words We Use,” I believe that our words represent a lot more than only 7%, but that’s not what this article is going to be about. No, in this article, we’re going to get into that other stuff – specifically, the Magic of Tonality – HOW we say what we say.
Call me crazy for trying to write about something you HEAR. Obviously, this would be a lot easier for me to demonstrate in a video, or on an audio recording. But we don’t have that luxury here, so I’ll just have to flex my writin’ skills!
Have you ever watched a movie in another language that you didn’t understand? With no subtitles? If you watched the actors closely, you almost didn’t need a translation of what they were saying. You can tell by the tone of their voices who’s angry with whom, who’s jealous of someone, who wants to kill the other guy, or who wants to jump someone’s bones!
There’s a funny scene in the famous 80’s movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” where a history teacher (played by Ben Stein) is trying to teach a class of uninspired High School students about economic policy. Not the most exciting, sexy subject to teach, but he made it exceptionally boring by the way he used his voice! He had a flat, monotone style that had very little to no inflection whatsoever. The result: Everyone was asleep or looking at him cross-eyed, because they were so bored! Don’t be that guy.
The right speaker can take something boring and turn it into something exciting, while the wrong speaker will do the exact opposite. And when you take something that’s routinely boring AND you add a boring person… you get your High School History teacher! (no offense to real History teachers–they’re the best!)
What makes a speech interesting? What makes it hard for you to tear yourself away from a good performance by an actor, or a powerful motivational speech by someone? Is it just the subject matter? Or simply the words they use? Probably not.
No, chances are that when you’re riveted to someone speaking – about anything – you’re probably interested because of the emotion, tonality, and vocal inflection of their VOICE!
Check Your TONE, Tone! (Tony)
What the heck is vocal tonality? Well, it’s obviously the tone of your voice.
But it’s really a lot more than that. Just by injecting the right emotion into your voice, you can drastically change the entire context and meaning of what you’re saying. You can have a commanding tone. Your tone can be fearful. Or angry. Happy. Or sad.
One of my favorite tonalities to use is one of curiosity. It’s so FUN to use a ‘curious’ tone when talking with someone – especially in a sales situation, because it really engages the listener and activates some really cool psychology. Try it!
Here’s a little pro tip, combined with a mini script that gets great results in real estate investing. The next time you’re talking with a seller about the possibility of doing a terms deal, say this next line with a curious tone when you want to introduce your objective: “What if there was a way that we could…” (then state what you want to do)
Look In The Mirror To Check Your Inflection
The next technique is vocal inflection. That’s where we change the pitch or tone of our voice in order to emphasize certain words to stress their importance. It’s easy to do when writing – just italicize a word. Or put it in ALL capitals. Or make the word you want to stand out in bold.
But when we’re talking, it’s important to occasionally emphasize a certain word in your sentence in order to not only get your main point across, but also to vary the tone of what you’re saying so that it’s more engaging to the listener.
For example, say this sentence out loud: “Bob thinks he’s a genius.” See how we emphasize the word ‘thinks?’ Now say the same sentence, but emphasize the word ‘genius.’ And one more time, but now emphasize ‘Bob,’ or ‘he’s.’
Now ask it as a question! See? Totally different meaning every time!
How SLOW Do You Go?
Next, let’s talk about CADENCE. This is the speed at which you talk. Do you talk at the SAME speed all the time? Or do you occasionally speed it up & slow it down?
A good example of when someone might slow down what they’re saying is when giving instructions to someone else. We slow down because we want to make sure that we…are…completely… understood. We usually slow down for emphasis on important ideas, and speed up on most other things.
Most of us never ever even think about these subtle little conversational nuances, let alone use them in our everyday conversations. And most people just take how they talk and communicate for granted every day. But once you understand these little secrets, you’ll quickly start to see why some people are pleasant and effective communicators, while the rest…? Not so much.
Loud & Proud? Or Quiet As a Mouse?
Finally, let’s talk about VOLUME. Sometimes, you have to scream and shout to stand out, no doubt! Other times, the best thing you can do is barely whisper your ideas. Which is more powerful? It depends! There’s a time and place for each of those.
But I’ll give you something to consider. If you really want to draw someone in and get their interest, try lowering your voice so that they can barely hear you. Then tell them something important and interesting. I can almost guarantee that you’ll have their full attention – especially if you sprinkle in the right emotion & tone in there! #Powerful
Before we go any further, I should point out something important: These ‘powers’ can be used for good or for evil. Should you become interested in learning more, then eventually commit yourself to mastering this craft, you’ll be able to understand how people use their voice to influence other people by speaking directly to their subconscious mind. This is the part of our brain that determines how we feel, think, and act about things – without even realizing it!
But for now, just be aware. Start by listening for how the actors talk when you watch a movie. Or listen to a news reporter (they’re especially evil these days!) if you have to. Just stay away from CNN!
HOW you use your voice will have a LOT to do with how successful you’ll be. So if you really want to have success, and part of that relies on speaking with anyone, you’re going to need to master these skills the best you can. And one of the best ways to do that is to model the most successful communicators. Especially salespeople. Sell or be sold. That’s your choice.
Now That You Know…
And now that you know how the game is played, you finally have the power to choose which side you’ll be on – The boring old way most people talk, or the fun, new way that gets results. Choose wisely, my friend.
So there you have it! When you use the right words and combine them with great vocal tonality and inflection, and then infuse the right emotion, you’ll have the raw tools needed for some incredibly dynamic and powerful communication. Using these techniques properly, you’ll be able to influence just about anybody you talk to – often without them even knowing what you’re doing. Yes, this can be used for dealing with anyone from sellers, buyers, and bankers to brothers, mothers, your kids, etc.
The bottom line is that you’ll be able to get BETTER results – easier and faster than you ever thought possible. This means more money with less work & effort.
The icing on the cake is that this is super FUN, too!!
Please use these new ‘super powers’ responsibly. For good. Because if you don’t, you’ll have to listen to Ben Stein teach you all about ‘voodoo economics,’ and that’s just not sexy at all. Bueller? Bueller?
Until Next Time,
Oh, and if you haven’t already done so, please Read Part One of This Article, “The Words We Use“
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