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Are You Aware That Your Soft-Spoken Voice Is a Liability?

In today’s fast-paced business world, speaking in a soft-spoken voice is definitely not to your advantage: you need to be heard the 1st time you say it. While softer levels of volume may be culturally correct in some countries, here in the States, we tend to talk in a volume that is comfortably heard by all in the same room.

Whether you are sitting at the kitchen table or at your desk in the office, whether you are talking to the clerk in the department store or in conversation with someone in your car, using a correct amount of volume is important so that your words are heard the first time you say them. The volume I am referring to is what I call Volume Level 1. It is the amount of sound which most people in the States use throughout their day.

Of course there are exceptions to the above statement. If you work in a loud environment or teach, coach, or train in a large room, then you will certainly need to speak in a volume greater than Level 1. In the majority of cases, however, Volume Level 1 covers most people in most situations.

The issue here is not dealing with a volume greater than Level 1. My concern is whether you are using the ‘normal’ volume level of sound when in conversation for example. If others continually ask you to repeat yourself, then you have volume issues and you should consider learning how to increase your volume correctly and then make it a habit.

The difficulty for the soft-spoken is that their inner ear is most comfortable with their softer volume. Remember, you have spent your entire life speaking at a level that is below average. Trying to increase your volume to even just a ‘normal’ level will take effort and the retraining of your inner ear. (By the way, your inner ear is how you recognize your speaking voice which is not the same sound when you hear yourself on recording equipment.)

Clear communication, whether it is in person, over the phone, or by means of webinars and conferences on the computer, is vital for your success today. If others are unable to hear you – thereby not understanding your message – then they may decide to do business with those who they can hear comfortably the 1st time it is said.

Don’t accept your softer speaking volume. It is a liability. You have a ‘normal’ volume level of sound; you just need to recognize it, use it, and make it a habit.

The Voice Lady, Nancy Daniels, offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It! the only video training on voice improvement. If you would like to discover the correct way to increase your volume without being loud, visit <a target=”_new” href=”http://www.voicedynamic.com/bonussoft.html”>Voice Training

 

Always Give Your Best Effort

Whatever you do in life—whether it’s at your job, searching for a new one, in a sport, or with your family—you should always give your best effort. If you do, you will be able to live with no regrets. Even when you fail, if you have given your best effort then you can be content.

The greatest hockey player in history, Wayne Gretzky, understood this principle. Even though he could have “taken it easy” every once in a while and no one would have complained, Gretzky never did. Instead, he always tried to play to the best of his ability.

In every game, Gretzky knew that there was a fan in the stands seeing him play for the first time and there was another fan seeing him play for the last time. Knowing this, Gretzky chose to not disappoint either one. It was this drive to always perform to the best of his ability that brought him success and earned him the respect and admiration of other players.

Those who succeed in their jobs and who gain a positive reputation are those who always strive to do their best. Whether they have a supervisor in the room looking over their shoulder or not, their performance is the same. These are the people who go beyond doing the bare minimum, just trying to scrape by. Instead, these people consistently give more than required and exceed expectations.

For them, their performance is not determined by the recognition they will achieve. Even when performing menial tasks that will likely go unnoticed; they still give their best effort. As Edward S. Finkelstein, the former CEO of Macy’s, once expressed, “Bigness comes from doing many small things well. Individually, they are not very dramatic transactions. Together, though, they add up.”

Whatever you do, always give your best effort. You will never be sorry that you did, and it may instill habits that will pave the road to your future success. For those who have taken new jobs that isn’t what you wanted but what you needed to do in order to survive and plan to continue searching, remember, while you are there, always do your best.

Use Social Media for Job Search Success in 2012

If you have been reading any of the latest economic reports most describe the economy as “good, but not great.”

Set yourself apart from the global competion.

According to Forbes they suggest we are seeing some slightly positive signs that the economy will improve, unemployment rates will drop, and that certain sectors (like small businesses) are hiring again. Still, competition for the 2012 job market will be fierce as we still see in the U.S. 9% unemployment rate, with many more being under-employed.

So, how do you set yourself apart from the competition and position yourself for a job in 2012?  Social media, in combination with your current job-searching techniques, is the answer.  Social media is here to stay.  If you are not on-line, you will not be found.  It is that simple.

So, where do you begin?

First step is to build and manage your on-line presence.

It is important to see yourself as others will see you.  Often, job seekers think being on-line is just having your resume posted on a job board or several job boards.  It is much bigger than that.  Many employers start with a Google search on you.  So your goal is to maximize your on-line presence so you cast a very positive list wherever you can.

You can control how others see you by starting with some of your popular social media sites like Facebook and even some of the photo-sharing sites.  By changing the privacy settings to private you can help remove will help unfavorable content such as party pictures where you are half-naked and have a drink in one hand.  All thought the pictures maybe harmless fun you never know when it will sway a decision for a potential employer not to even call you in for an interview.

Next improve the sites you can control, usually starting with LinkedIn.  If you haven’t figured out how use one of the most popular professional on-line networking sites, you need to get busy.  LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 120 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.

In addition to the obvious resume-like aspects of your LinkedIn profile, you can ask for recommendations from current and former co-workers.  Make sure what is included here is how you want to present yourself to recruiters and hiring managers.

Then get active.  Just being on LinkedIn is not enough.  You have to start joining LinkedIn groups or communities/blogs/sites that are in your area of expertise.  Focus on those which have relevant conversations on your area of proficiency.  Start answering questions, posting or sharing idea, or promoting great content you see.  Your LinkedIn

profile and other activity leave a digital footprint much of which will be on your LinkedIn profile page.  Employers are in these same communities and will see what you have to offer long before you face them in an interview.

Build  a Strong Network

Pride, shame of being out of work and other concerns get in the way of most people looking for a job in “in high gear.”  You have to get over the loss, get busy using all the tools that you can muster up and hit the ground running.

Use your groups and communities to search for former colleagues and connect with them – whether on LinkedIn or other social site or community.  Find a few names or authors you want to follow (I am on LinkedIn, by the way) whose opinion you liked or you see as a good connection point for you.

Once you have your network, you can start to leverage it.  First, don’t just say “hi, I am looking for a job, do you know anyone hiring?”  You will get a lot of well-intentioned support, but little else.  You need to take control of the gearshifts and do the following:

Tell them your situation; tell them what type of job you are looking for (including titles, locations or descriptive terms). Provide them a list of companies you would like to work for (this gives them a place to start directing you), and give them an indication that you would like to set up some time to discuss this with them. You need to be proactive and you want these people to start connecting you to other people to expand your network.

Research Opportunities

Besides just checking the job boards and LinkedIn (which is a valuable not-to-be-skipped step), start looking for opportunities not disclosed yet.  Follow your 5-6 ideal companies and read their updates on twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.  What are they saying?  Where are they expanding? What new deals have they won? Do those have a need for a fine professional like you?  In generally, employees are looking for the best person that is the easiest to find.  Make it easy for them.  John Decker continues, “If someone can get to a manager with a problem before they start formally looking for candidates, and can do so with a good introduction, they have a much better chance of being hired. Be the only candidate, not one of hundreds.”

Prepare Yourself for the Interview

Great! You have landed that sought-after interview.  You need to research the heck out of the company and the people you will be interviewing with.  Visit their LinkedIn profiles and see what they are reading, their backgrounds, their roles, etc.  Guess what – they are doing the same thing about you.  And, since you have worked on your digital presence, you know what they think of you.  Be prepared to answer questions on the “pro” and “con” of you.  Know how to respond no matter which “position” your interviewer takes.

Leverage Your Negotiations

Just because the economy is bad and you may just “need a job,” it doesn’t mean you need to be at the mercy of your future employer.  Try sites like Glassdoor and (again) LinkedIn to see what these companies are offering for your type of job and what the average in the market is.  Check your network to see if they have some perks you can ask for (extra vacation, additional training, conferences to attend, etc.)  Most often, if you leverage this as “career development” you can find most employers willing to negotiate with you.  Worst case, you know that you got the best deal you can, and now you can make the decisions with the benefit of full insight.

Find the things you know you can do right now.  Some of these may not apply to you so pick your encounters carefully.  But know that finding any job, let alone that “great job” is not easy and the global competition is fierce.  The more you practice “using the latest techniques in your job search,” the better you increase your chances over the next person.