Helen Moses

‘Make Your Voice Mean Business’ in Video Meetings

As we enter a phase of life most of us never could have anticipated or envisioned, more and more people are having to work from home than ever. 

Job seekers are now having video interviews instead of meeting face to face as part of the effort to minimize the impact of the virus. Even communication with friends and family is going virtual to maintain the much needed human connection with loved ones (albeit through an electronic screen). 

Video can make sure that people who are physically quarantined, are separated by distance, or are just keeping appropriate social space aren’t isolated socially. While not the same as a hug or handshake, being able to see people directly over a computer does offer much-needed connection. For many, this will be their first time using technology for remote communication and meetings. If you aren’t used to it, there is a bit of adjustment to communicating over video, but anyone can adapt. I have been successfully using video conferencing with my voice coaching clients for three years. Even though it’s not the same as meeting in person, it can be equally valuable. 

Here are My 10 Great Tips to Make Sure Your Voice is Heard and Understood Through your Laptop or Phone, and to make sure your video meetings are as effective as possible.

  1. Test out the video conferencing software ahead of time. You may need to download an app or adjust your video camera and microphone settings. You will also need to make sure you have a good wifi or data signal before your call.
  2. When possible, use a headset with a microphone to decrease background noise and make your voice signal stronger for others.
  3. Make sure you have enough light aimed toward you so others can see your face. Facial expressions provide extra cues for understanding what you are saying in video meetings. For the same reason, avoid distracting background settings when possible so that people will pay attention to you and not what’s happening behind you when you speak.
  4. For meetings with more than two people, mute yourself when you are not speaking. The person who schedules the video call will have the ability to control the microphones of all the attendees. If you are that leader, take advantage of this feature. Having non-speakers on mute reduces interruptions, eliminates most background noise, and prevents overlapping talking that can’t be understood and wastes everyone’s time. 
  5. Use the chat or Q&A features to collect questions while someone is speaking (versus having people interrupt with talking). If you are the speaker getting questions, be sure to allow time for this in your scheduled meeting. 
  6. Stand up when possible (standing desks are great) or at least be mindful to sit with good posture when you speak to give your voice added power.
  7. Speak in simple, complete sentences. Try not to go off on a tangent. When possible, finish the sentence you begin. (This is harder than it sounds.) Increase the number and length of pauses to give everyone extra time to process what you have said.
  8. Enunciate clearly/don’t mumble. Move your lips, jaw, and tongue slightly more than usual. The other people on the call may be relying on reading your lips to help them understand you. (We rely on lip cues more often than we realize, often subconsciously.)
  9. Take frequent breaths to give energy to your voice and to make sure it doesn’t trail off in volume at the ends of your sentences.
  10. Look into the webcam when you are speaking. This helps the other call attendees feel like you are making eye contact with them. (Be sure to know where the camera is located so you are looking in the right place.)

Most importantly, let us be patient with each other as we adjust to using video conferencing technology more. Each of us has added stresses in these uncertain times, including worries about contracting the Coronavirus and the effects of social distancing restraints, and we must give each other grace. We can also help each other by sharing helpful advice for coping with our new reality. I especially found this article series by Marcey Rader of the Work Well Play More Institute® valuable, with tips for being productive and staying healthy while working from home. 

If you would like more information about how to use your voice effectively in video conferencing or otherwise, please contact me or sign up for a call using Helen’s Calendar.

Would You Hire Me as Your Customer Service Representative?

Would you hire me to be a customer service representative for your company? I hope so. Would someone hire you? The answer depends on your voice.

One Simple Tip for Speaking with Authority

Sometimes when we are talking we get stuck in our heads instead of being present in the conversation. We analyze if we should provide additional or background information. We wonder if maybe a different example or word choice would be better. We worry about what our audience thinks of us.

Helen’s Story

Early in my career I worked as a speech-language pathologist in a hospital brain injury unit, helping patients and their families cope with the sudden and traumatic loss of their ability to communicate. Witnessing their pain, I imagined what my life would be like if I, or a family member, lost the power to speak. I vowed then and there to never take my voice for granted.

It’s Just Easier Not to Say Anything

I recently had a conversation with a friend who had arranged to take three non-paid days off from work to go on vacation with her family. While on her vacation, she ended up working remotely for several hours each day. She said to me that she thought she should go back and ask for one of those three non-paid days to be a paid day, but that she probably wouldn’t because it was just easier not to say anything. I say that’s a shame.

Let’s Talk about Talking on the Phone

Many entrepreneurs and small business owners share a mobile phone number for personal and business calls. This often makes good sense financially, and prevents one from having to carry around two phones. As a result, however, some business owners frequently answer their phone in a very casual manner, like they would respond if a good buddy called. I’ve heard “yeah”, “hey”, “what’s up”, and “hello” spoken with a very laid-back tone, which gives me the impression that they don’t value me or my time. Being greeted so casually throws me off a bit, as I expect a more formal greeting when I call a business. Sometimes I wonder if I called the correct number, and I am often tempted to hang up. At minimum I find myself having to ask, “Is this Business XYZ?”

Delivering a Memorable Elevator Pitch

Let’s face it. How many pitches given by other people do you actually remember after hearing them for the first time? Do you even remember your pitch from one event to the next?

I find it hard to pay attention to the other people giving pitches in the room when my nerves are building in anticipation of giving mine. It therefore takes a pitch with personality to capture my attention and get me out of my head as I await my turn. Can you relate?

Crafting an Effective 30-Second Elevator Pitch

You sit in the room at this networking event that you hope will bring you more business. One by one people take turns introducing themselves and giving their elevator pitches. You can hardly pay attention to what they say, because as it gets closer to your turn, you start to sweat, butterflies get all in a flurry in your gut, your mouth gets dry, and all you can think about is not screwing up or coming across as a fool. Right before you open your mouth to introduce yourself you stand up and silently pray that your voice doesn’t shake and you don’t stumble through your words. “Please, God, help me get through this.”

“Your Voice May Be Your Fortune” – Inspired by The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy BookI count “The King’s Speech” as one of my all-time favorite movies. In fact I could argue it is my favorite movie of all time (so far, at least). The story relates how speech therapist pioneer Lionel Logue helped King George VI overcome his lifelong stammer. Mark Logue (Lionel’s grandson) and Peter Conradi wrote the companion book, The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy that goes further into detail of Lionel and the king’s relationship than does the movie.

The Song of Moses

Happy Easter!

For a number of years now, maybe as many as 18, I have been the cantor for the “Song of Moses” at the Easter Vigil service at my church.

Last night I sang it again. The song expresses Moses’ gratitude and awe regarding his God who delivered his people from oppression.

Of course, being Helen Moses, I love singing this song. It is a special honor and it is very personal. Each year I try to bring new life to it. This year I felt a new connection when I sang it. As I am working to get to the root of what holds me back in my life, I can relate to Moses and his people.