Voice Inflection – The Power of the Voice & Telephone Etiquette

Last Updated on November 16, 2020

The voice is an extremely powerful tool. Communication and understanding are conveyed not only through the words that are spoken, but also by any pauses and via the tone, speed, and emphasis used.

Knowledge of the power of the voice is very useful to those who spend a lot of time on the phone, especially for sales phone calls. The appreciation that managing a persons’ non-verbal communications can assist with connecting with the audience such as building relationships with potential customers.

Therefore, training should be provided to all telephone-based customer service staff, to enable them to be confident with observing the non-verbal cues during a conversation, but also providing tools to direct and divert conversations as required.

The differences between voice Inflections

An upward inflection is the use of a higher-pitched tone often utilized when asking questions or emphasizing emotions such as surprise or suspense. An upward inflection should not be used when stating a fact or closing a deal as it would not convey that the customer service representative is confident.

A downward inflection is when lower tones are used, often at the end of a sentence, to provide a sense of certainty. This inflection can be used when stating facts or setting an appointment.

A level inflection is the middle of the two examples; however, the lack of a pitch change can leave the audience disinterested. Therefore, to keep the audience engaged, the use of varying voice inflections can be very useful.

General Tips to improve voice inflection

Communication and presentation skills can be improved via practice. Some general tips to improve voice inflection skills can be found below;

Practicing in front of the mirror – Although commonly a customer service provision or sales calls will take place over the telephone, the knowledge that body language and facial expressions translate into voice inflection is important. By practicing with a visual such as a mirror, sales representatives can become more aware of the changes in the voice when facial expressions change, such as the physical change in the mouth when they are smiling, which softens the sound waves.

Awareness – Simply by being knowledgeable of the power of the voice is a useful skill.
By knowing that the direction or success of a conversation can be changed by the use of speed, pitch, or emphasis can improve the customer service provided or the success rate of sales calls. Also, by committing to training and improving communication skills in this area, results can be improved both at the customer representative level and company level.

The use of breath – Emotions including empathy and frustration can be communicated by managing the frequency of breathing. Being aware of resting breathing frequencies, and the changes that stress or pressure can cause is a useful insight when partaking in conversation or observing communications.
By practicing slow, deep breathing, the call representative can train themselves on methods of remaining calm and in control when reacting to certain circumstances.

The use of speed – The speed of the conversation is really important. Ideally, the pace should be equal between all parties to ensure understanding. Appreciation should also be given should there be any additional constraints such as additional languages or hearing difficulties. The customer service representative should be aware of the speed of their communication, ensuring that they do not rush. A fast pace can represent nervousness which can be off-putting and unprofessional.

Although often a typical sales tactic is to convey a sense of urgency to push through a sale, the speed of the pitch does not need to be fast forward, and therefore as long as the potential customer is not frustrated, a slower, mid-speed pace is key. The objective is to use an appropriate speed to convey confidence and importantly, sharing information professionally.

Volume levels – The most professional volume is a middle level, ensuring that all parties can hear, however importantly not raising any voices. It can be useful to note that standing to deliver a pitch can aid with delivery as the diaphragm is not folded.

Voice Inflection tips for Sales

Taking all of the points above, plus the following specific tips for the sales industry can develop a sales representative to the next level, increasing interaction levels and ultimately sales success.

Positivity regarding the benefits of the product – Sales representatives should be highly trained to be confident when discussing all details of the products on offer, emphasizing the benefits of the products to the potential customers. Representatives should also be skilled in methods to keep conversations following in a positive manner, navigating to a positive conclusion whilst answering questions along the way.

Personal approach – Building a relationship with potential customers is important not only as conversations flow easier when finding common ground, but also sales are often more successful if sales representatives have engaged and built a connection.

Pitch delivery Planning – When planning a sales pitch script, all elements should be considered, not only the spoken word. Rehearsals should be undertaken, ensuring that the natural spoken word as well as the pitch, tone, and speed are explored. Rehearsals should also build confidence for the representative to be able to divert from the script as needed, answering questions, and developing two-way conversation throughout, avoiding a monotone, dull pitch.

Energy – in addition to tone, the energy that can be conveyed through conversation can be infectious if appropriate, and therefore energy can be a useful tool to a sales representative. Positive, upbeat energy can enable a potential customer to feel closer to the sales representative and more likely to remain engaged with the conversation.

Recording presentations – Watching or listening back to a recording of a sales pitch can be a useful learning tool. Sometimes people are unaware of how they sound or personal mannerisms that may conflict with the spoken words, therefore watching themselves back can be very eye-opening.

Voice Inflection Summary

Hopefully, the hints and tips within this article have provided a background into the non-verbal communications that also have a place within a modern telesales world. By practicing and improving voice inflection methods, success can be achieved.

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