How to introduce yourself like a leader | Laura Sicola (Key Point)On October 9, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
If you want to be seen like a leader, you
have to sound like one. You have to demonstrate vocal executive presence. Now part of vocal
executive presence is the ability to read an audience and identify the kind of person
from whom they would be most open to receiving your message. And then figure out what that
kind of person would sound like. Margaret Thatcher is a great example thereof. She was
the first woman in British parliament and she was overtly mocked by a lot of her opponents
because when she was passionate in arguing certain points, her voice would go higher
and become rather shrill. So when she decided to run for prime minister, she worked with
a tutor from the national theater who helped her lower her pitch in order to sound more
authoritative. When we listen to speech, we process it in what are called tone units,
or chunks. And we start first by fixating on the intonation pattern and anchoring what
we listen to to where those highest peaks are. This also reflects why effective speakers
when they are speaking will emphasize the most important words with higher pitch. Now,
tonality, if we use it strategically can have a good influence from the moment we meet somebody.
So, if I want to know that I am introducing myself and helping the listener to really
understand my name, I want to start by letting my voice go up. Go up like this on your first
name as if to say I’m not finished yet. And then at the top, we’ll have a little break.
And then on our last name, we want to go down. Let the pitch fall, as if to say and now I’m
done. Like you’re putting a little vocal period at the end. I want to focus and help my listener
to understand and so I’ll do my best to say to them “Hi, my name is Laura Sicola” and
you’ll be amazed at the difference that strategic tonality can make, even in something this
small. And the problem is that when we find someone who has a voice that we find unpleasant
or somehow that seems to lack the characteristics of the kind of person we’re looking for doesn’t
sound like that kind of person, we can tune them out. Now does that mean that vocal executive
presence is about acting? No, on the contrary, it’s the exact opposite. You have to be authentic.
You have to be yourself. But the key is to recognize which parts of your personality
need to shine through in a particular moment when the white light of your personality passes
through the prism of some situational context, you need to look at all the colors that are
available, all the different parts of your personality, and decide which one you need
to highlight in the moment and how, in order to be most effective and appropriate for that
moment. Thank you.