More than just your food can fry; your voice can fry too. Vocal fry occurs when the voice gets groggy and raspy at the end of a statement. This newer fad can express a lack of confidence, disinterest, or uncertainty in your message. However, it is also becoming more and more apparent in popular culture. Check out this Windows Phone commercial with singer Gwen Stefani to hear an example of vocal fry http://goo.gl/UnFI7
Have no fear; just like your diet, you can also change your speaking habits. While it is true that a downward inflection at the end of a statement is desirable for making your statement sound more factual; the gravelly sound when you lose breath support diminishes the effectiveness of your speech. Maintaining your volume and breath control through the last word of your utterances increases your chances of sounding professional as you climb your career ladder. Pair this strategy with confidence and you’ll be able to hear a difference.
To see if you’re a victim of vocal fry, call your own voice-mail and leave yourself a message. Say something that you might say to a coworker or boss several times throughout the day (vocal fry is often most prevalent when one is tired). Use this test and see whether you could use some improvement. Good luck!
Most of us have been there, the moment of panic during a very important phone call. Whether, it’s the stress of a phone interview or a big conference call-phone fright can happen to the best of us. As voice the on the other line asks you questions you may find that it’s difficult to get the words out, or even put them together. You know that you are smart and capable, but you feel like your fear is making the other end of the line doubt you. Why can’t we just text, IM, or email this in? How have we become so afraid of the phone? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I do have some tips to help with your phone fright:
- Remember fears and anxiety happen-Whoever you may be talking to, or preparing to talk to, has felt the same way before. Everyone gets nervous for one reason or another, it’s human nature; even the biggest celebrities feel anxiety or pressure from different situations. For all you know the person you’re preparing to speak with may feel the stress you are. It may even help to imagine the other person feeling stressed too! Just remember that what you’re feeling is completely normal.
- Take a few minutes to relax- The minutes leading up to the call can be the most stressful, so do what calms you. Try mediating, breathing exercises, listening to calming music, or even a game that will distract you from the anxiety-like a word search or cross word puzzle. You know yourself best, and you know what works for you.
- Make a few notes before the call-When we get nervous we tend to forget to bring up important points, and we remember them the second the call ends. This is incredibly frustrating. To avoid this self-annoyance write down the major points you want to make beforehand. This way you can look at the card, and work these points into your conversation. Also, removing the fear of missing something may reduce your phone fright.
- Ask a friend to rehearse with you- We practice for presentations, games, performances, and you can also practice for the big call. Find a friend who has some knowledge of the call-maybe a friend in HR if it’s an interview or someone on your project if it’s a big conference call. They can create questions, and simulate the call. This will help you be prepared to answer questions that you may not anticipate coming your way.
I hope these tips help you take back the phone! Because unfortunately you can’t SMS your way out of everything!
Let’s begin with a little quiz. Read the following abbreviated slang, and do your best to come up with the associated word or phrase:
Are you stumped? Personally, I suppose I understand the first five are short for ridiculous, gorgeous, obvious, precious, and crazy. But amazeballs? I am not even going to try to explain that one.
It’s true that abbreviated words are becoming mainstays in pop culture. Slang that was once relegated to the crowded hallways of high schools can now be heard by newscasters. To be honest, you are probably more likely to hear breaking news describes as “ridic” when the story involves Tom Cruise and is airing on the E! network. But due to the fact that we are hearing and registering abbreviations on an increasingly regular basis, the chances are that we will begin pick up these somewhat cray slang words. Therefore, as clear and confident public speakers, we need to be careful.
It is the nature of abbreviation to make speech succinct and flow more smoothly. I am by no means suggesting that you should eradicate all abbreviation from your presentations. Can you imagine if you had to start every speech with the phrase “Let us begin” instead of the much more congenial “Let’s?” However, words like the ones listed above really don’t save much time when spoken. You will only be gaining a fraction of a second if you describe your company’s new website design as “gorge” instead of “gorgeous”. But this is beside the point- what I really want to emphasize in this discussion is the diminished level of professionalism tied to slang. Not only will your audience be distracted when contemplating the meaning of these modern day abbreviations (as you might have done during the above quiz), but they will surely judge your presentation in a more negative light.
So the answer to the predicament of popular abbreviations is obvi: Leave the slang to personal text messages. But even this suggestion comes with a warning. If you are the parent of a teenager, be prepared for the wrath of embarrassment!