Everyone is on the hunt for the next great tool or perfect solution that will help them take their company to the next level. In our digital age, it’s easy to be so focused on social media and digital channels that you overlook a one powerful tool that is free, always available, and incredibly effective.
That tool is voice, and the power of conversation.
As a business founder or leader you might have a world-changing idea, but before that idea can take shape in the world, it has to live in the minds of the people who can will help you bring it to life. From investors, partners, employees and, of course, customers, learning how to effectively verbalize your ideas and teaching your team to do the same might be the most important thing that you do.
As social media and chat applications have come to dominate our worlds, the power of voice and the effectiveness of conversation has become even more vital. Real conversations grab attention and cut through the white noise of digital chatter. Speech activates a part of the brain that isn’t engaged while consuming textual and visual information, making it the ideal channel for a capturing attention in a textually and visually noisy world.
However, it isn’t just speech that is so powerful, but speech in the context of conversation.
In fact, researchers recently found some interesting activity in the brains of subjects engaged in conversation. Researchers paired up strangers and separated them by an opaque barrier which allowed the interlocutors to hear but not see one another. Aided with conversation scripts, their brain activity was monitored. During the course of the conversation, the subjects' brains actually synced up, a phenomena scientists call brain entrainment. This entrainment was driven by both the listening and speaking actions of conversation.
This supports the observation we’ve made so many times while building Spoke, that a brief phone call can resolve a conflict so much faster and more productively than hours or even days of back to back emailing or messaging. A conversation is a unique opportunity to literally spend time with someone else in a shared head space.
Perhaps it’s also why we’re so sensitive to verbal cues and instinctively sense when someone is being less than forthright. It also accounts for why the phone is the instrument of choice for sales, and also why customers often need to speak to a customer service representative to resolve a complex issue.
Although other forms of communication like blogs, chats, emails and social media are important, successful leaders learn how to use their voice. Having a conversation is a unique opportunity to really communicate your idea to someone else.
However, we’ve all had conversations that didn’t go so well. Although you probably weren’t connected to an EEG machine, you might have sensed that synchronicity wasn’t actually happening. Using your voice effectively can help set the stage for coordinated communication, and the almost magical collaboration that happens when people actually talk to one another.
A tone that matches the content of your speech will help establish rapport and create an environment where trust can be established. Tone serves the purpose of underlining or emphasizing some words or key ideas, so relax and let your voice carry across a range of inflections.
Striking just the right balance will ensure your listener doesn’t have to strain to listen or feel they are being shouted at. Don't speak louder when you feel like you haven't been heard. Stop yourself and articulate your point in another way. This takes a great deal of practice and self-awareness.
Speaking too quickly can create an impression of mistrust, and while there is no perfect speed the most persuasive speech is slower. However, speaking too slowly can come off as condescending or even cause your listener to get bored and lose interest. Matching speech rate to your interlocutor is the best bet, and may even come about as a natural result of entrainment.
Using language that is easily understood means matching your vocabulary to your listeners training and experience. Don’t use too much jargon, and ask questions to learn how much your listener understands about the topic. Educating your listener is a great way to provide value and context for the topic.
Use pauses, questions and other rhetorical devices to open up a dialogue. Knowing a little bit about your interlocutor before is ideal, but this isn’t always possible. Listening is essential to effective communication, Without active listening, a conversation isn’t even happening.
Telling a story is a great way to break the ice and to share memorable content that transcends cultural and generational divides to speak in human universals. Developing an expertise in storytelling is the best way to be sure that your messages are heard and remembered.
There is a lot of talk right now about empathy, and it may actually be the most important indicator of success in communication. Brain entrainment is empathy on a neurological level. Understanding another persons perspective will make your communication much more impactful, and help spark your idea in the minds of other people.
A business phone system designed to help you talk?
It seems obvious, but some business phone systems don't actually help people talk. They are too hard to set up and too hard to use. At Spoke, we believe that talking is the best way to solve problems fast, so we focus on getting more calls made and answered.
We've built a simple, intuitive interface that employees and customers will love to use. Based off how small and medium sized companies actually use their phones, we've learned that less is more when it comes to business phone systems. We've designed Spoke around the core phone system features small companies need and want. It's built to be deployed across your mobile phone infrastructure and administrated from a simple app. Simple to install and easy to use.
Our smart directory keeps track of all your business calls and supports your company with features like an AI receptionist, easy call transfer, and group calling. You can choose a business phone line or port over the number you're already using. The Spoke app masks employees numbers so you can feel secure when they use their own device.
Spoke was designed for small to medium sized businesses, 3-30 employees, giving you a big enterprise capabilities at a low per user cost. Activate your 21-day free trial -- no credit card required. See what you can accomplish with lower costs and better connectivity. Or contact us for a demo, and let's figure out how we can get you talking.