The Value of Voice in Networking
by Honey Novick
The business and value of networking lies in being able to create relationships. It's about making connections. Starting either with a smile, eye contact, a handshake or a simple “hello”, we extend a part of ourselves to someone else. Sometimes simple gestures seem most intimidating.
I am a vocalist and vocal coach who wanted to learn more about business. When the opportunity came to attend a networking event, I prepared as if going to perform an important concert.
All the group participants were given one minute to make a presentation. When it was my turn, I was tongue tied, scared, flubbering. Me, I've sung for Prime Ministers and at the Carnegie Recital Hall.
How could I react this way? It wasn't hard to answer. I wasn't prepared.
I attended the networking group many times and observed the other group members. I also listened to what they were saying. Then I formed a plan.
Within 60 seconds, I would state what I do, maybe sing a song, or write a song about my work that I could sing, then state what my needs are and finish with a little hook, like saying I am an “edutainer” an entertainer who teaches and a teacher who entertains.
Over time, I learned invaluable lessons that others could use.
1. Focus: Who is your audience? What interests them? Why should they be interested in what you have to say?
2. Be prepared: How can sharing the context of your skills and experience benefit others?
Here are some tips I use to encourage my vocal students:
Make sure you are balanced on both feet and that your spine is straight and comfortable. Your shoulders must be relaxed and your head should sit right on top of the spine. (Easy physical exercises are helpful). It is also important to note that the soles of your feet play a great role in posture. Most take their soles for granted; developing an awareness of your soles and how they connect to the ground is significant.
3. Have a sense of your space – is it crowded? Or are there a few people in a large space? If you are seated, when you stand, do you let the chair share your space?
4. It might be useful to have a prop, like a bottle of water in your hand. Sipping water constantly helps. Water not only lubricates the throat and flushes phlegm, it allows your vocal folds to exercise and reduces the annoying sound of clearing the throat.
5. Breathing deeply before meeting someone or making a presentation will help relax your body, and allow oxygen to circulate throughout the body as it aids in concentration.
6. As long as your voice is enthusiastic and clear, your point will be made. Like it or not, your voice is with you all the time and speaks for you. If you are nervous, it shows through your voice. If you are angry or confident, that also comes through. When you stand, you are expected to deliver. Even unusual voices are effective.
7.When you finish a sentence, is your “timbre” or vocal pitch, going up or down. It makes a difference to the listener. If you have an important message to share, try to state it twice that way, the message is heard more effectively.
Do people really care how they sound? It might seem to be a silly question, but listening to our selves can rid a lot of anxiety just like rehearsing.
The power of your voice isn't always judged by how beautifully you speak. Rather, how you speak is judged by how beautifully you present your information. The business of vocal power is proved when you turn a stranger into a friend, or into a business prospect.
Honey Novick, www.honeynovick.com, Creative Vocalization Studio, 416-782-7944
Back to Networking articles index page.