- Vocal tone + hand gestures = negotiation success
- Use the 3 Ps: projection, pace and pitch
Recently, we watched a woman try to negotiate with her child as he stood screaming in the street. “Please be quiet Tommy!” she pleaded with her hands open and palms facing up.
You’ll remember from Negotiation Ninja Part 1 that this hand gesture is placatory. In this example, it’s soft and pleading. It certainly doesn’t command respect. So of course, little Tommy screamed louder, sensing his mother’s weak stance.
Another adult walked over. With a strong voice and downturned palms, they said “Tommy, listen to your mother and be quiet now.” Tommy quieted down and his mother was very relieved!
Isn’t that fascinating? Such a simple, small change in your voice and body language can determine whether you win or lose.
It’s the same in business, especially when leading teams. And since we’ve already talked about hand gestures, let’s look a little closer at how to use your voice to be a powerful negotiator.
Find Your Voice of Authority
The right speaking tone can have profound power. So how do you do it? With the 3 Ps:
Often people will raise their voice to be heard and this can sound strained, shrill even, and less impactful. Don’t shout to be heard, instead, breathe into your belly and project your voice on the out-breath, aiming for your voice to be heard at the back of the room. Learning to breathe deeply and in a measured way will assist you to project your voice from your diaphragm (belly) rather than your throat.
What happens when you’re nervous? Do you speak frantically fast like a machine gun, blurting out your speech so you can get it over with? This can muddle your points and dilute your impact; robbing your listeners of the value you can offer them.
To be a confident, effective communicator – and win a pitch or negotiation – you need to slow down. Studies have proved that low, slow voices have the most influence. Not only can your audience understand you, they become invested in your point of view and are more likely to jump on board.
Allowing gaps of silence between your key points can also give your listeners the opportunity to digest and reflect on what you are saying rather than rattling through your presentation too quickly and potentially overloading or confusing them with too much information, too quickly.
Lastly, look at the musicality – or highs and lows – of your voice. Vary your speech and fill it with expression, colour and different musical ‘notes’. You’ll engage your audience, build a better connection and be seen as a credible, authoritative person of influence.
So the next time you’re in a meeting (or even at home), play with your voice. Alter the projection, pace and pitch and witness the difference it makes. It’s just one winning way to add to your negotiation and teamwork skills – and get the results you want in any situation.
In the Mastering Communication Program, Colin James and Erica Bagshaw unveil these and other proven techniques to help you develop a Voice of Authority. Join us at the next two-day workshop dates in Sydney CBD on the 19th and 20th August or in Melbourne CBD, on the 2nd and 3rd September.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.