What if I told you that changing your one of voice could dramatically change your dating? Would you roll your eyes and say, “Okay, now I’ve really heard it all! What are you going to ask me to do next? Paint my face orange and run around my house three times backwards?”
Actually, that would be funny, but no, I am not going to ask you to do that. I am, however, going to suggest that you start paying close attention to the way you sound when you speak to people, especially when are speaking to someone on a date. This is an extremely important and often overlooked aspect of dating. If you aren’t careful, your tone of voice can easily send the wrong message and turn off the very people you want to attract.
Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology-a pioneer in the understanding of the effectiveness of communications since the 1960s-says that there are basically three elements in any face-to-face communication:
• 7% of a message is in the words that are spoken
• 38% of a message is in your tone of voice
• 55% of a message is in your facial expressions
These statistics show that your facial expressions and tone of voice have a disproportionately large impact on the messages you send. If your tone and your expressions do not match with your words, your date won’t believe what you’re saying. For example, even if you were to say, “I would love to go out again on Friday night,” if your voice is flat and your face is unanimated, your date will conclude that you’re not really interested in going out again.
Changing then tone of voice or your facial expressions isn’t easy, but I have noticed that, when you change your voice, your facial expressions change, as well. Most clients don’t like it when I tell them that they need to pay better attention to how they sound to their dates. “That’s weird,” my client, Christine, told me recently. “My voice is my voice. Why would I want to change it?”
I continued, “Often when you are talking to me about men and your experience with online dating, you sound angry and accusatory. Most people are not conscious of how they sound. They don’t understand that if they are feeling angry or disappointed about something, even if they try to pretend that everything is okay, their true feelings will come across in their tone of voice. The anger I hear in your voice might be causing men to pull away from you.” As the conversation unfolded I touched on the subject of anxiety. “Would you agree that you sometimes get anxious?’ I asked.
Suddenly, Christine seemed to understand what I was saying to her. “I do. I feel anxious all the time. I feel pressured at work; I feel pressure from my family to get married. Lots of people have commented on how anxious I can be.”
“This anxiety comes across in your voice and, my guess is that it can set the people around you on edge. Think of it this way: your voice is like music. If you listen to Techno, the beat is driving and it can make you feel jittery. If you listen to meditation music it makes you feel calmer and more relaxed.”
To help Christine better understand, I imitated her tone of voice. “OMG! Is that really how I sound?” she replied. “No wonder no one’s asked out for a second date!”
Christine isn’t the only one who suffers from this problem. In fact, most of us do. My tone of voice used to be condescending, bossy, and lecturing. It was so bad that I once had a boyfriend who started walking backwards out the door saying, “Leave me alone, I can’t listen to you talk anymore!” Thankfully, I can laugh about it now, but it was one of my lowest moments.
But I really started to become aware of the importance of tone during my coaching sessions. The voices of certain clients would draw me closer in, while the tone of other clients would push me back. Think of all the different types of voices you come into contact with: bossy, sweet, arrogant, chipper, condescending, etc. Start to listen and see how they make you feel. If you have a strong reaction to someone’s voice, imagine how this would impact someone they’re dating or in a relationship with.
So you might be thinking, “Lisa, how can I improve the tone of my voice?” The first thing to consider is that you tone of voice is directly related to how you are feeling in any given moment. If you are feeling impatient, your voice will be filled with impatience. If you are feeling excited, your voice will be filled with excitement. If you are feeling bitchy… Well, you get the idea. If you want to sound more compassionate, you need to channel your inner Gandhi. If you want to sound sexier, you need to channel your inner Marilyn Monroe. Whatever you are feeling on the inside will be reflected to your dates through your voice. So, if you want a second date with someone, don’t just say the words, use the tone of your voice to back up what you’re saying.
These days, my voice is one of my greatest strengths. This didn’t happen by accident. I changed my voice by changing myself into a kinder, more loving and accepting person. The other day, a client said, “I know I’m not as soft and loving as you are… ” When she said this, it cracked me up. If she only knew how hard I’ve worked on myself to sound this way.
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