Discover the Best Vocal Characteristics for Sales


The loud and crowded American business landscape makes it hard for your voice to be heard. So, when it is your turn to talk, you want to be sure your message is delivered clearly and received as you intended. Therefore, you need to be aware of the quality of your voice and how others perceive it. Interestingly, there are many vocal characteristics, and you may be able to control several of them. Once mastered, you can assure that you are speaking clearly and with purpose.

Vocal characteristics are complex by design

It’s remarkable that, just like fingerprints, the sound of each person’s voice is unique. This is because everyone’s vocal tract is different. Length of vocal chords, size of throat cavity and the rest of a person’s body affects the way speech sounds are formed and uttered. This is according to C. Julian Chen, researcher for Human Languages Technology Department at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. He says that the vocal larynx contains the highest ratio of nerve to muscle fibers in the human body. Hence, we simply do not have complete conscious control over many of our vocal characteristics.

Our voice plays an important role in our identity

Since our voice is uniquely our own, we should understand and respect its power. Recognizing the expressive qualities of our voice is a great place to start. Feelings of anxiety, indecision, sadness, or anger are often betrayed by the sound of our voice. Trying to hide our feelings is nearly impossible as our emotions connect with our vocal coordination. Keeping emotions in check in professional situations is imperative. Therefore, understanding the vocal characteristics that fall within our control is key.

How your voice impacts sales

Beyond personal appearance, salespeople must rely on their facial expressions and their voice during face-​to-​face communications. Likewise, phone calls narrow down our choices to merely energy and enthusiasm. Human voice characteristics such as accent, energy, pace, and emphasis are common descriptions. And keep in mind, that vocal characteristics are subjective and culturally diverse. But voice skills can help you make a persuasive case while enhancing your credibility.

Develop your voice skills

Training your voice to project professionalism, friendliness and confidence adds to the tools that you already possess. Marketing professional Laura Lake, writing for The Balance Small Business, says that paying attention to key factors can help you develop effective vocal characteristics. Here are just a few of these factors:

  • Tone – Here is where you project a feeling, such as confidence or strength. She suggests getting others to provide an honest opinion of your tone so you can work to improve or enhance.
  • Voice inflection – This is emphasis placed on major points. Volume, pitch and pauses can be powerful elements of inflection in delivering your message. Here is where your personality can shine through.
  • Energy – Energy can be contagious, even over the phone. Lake advises to be aware of your breathing and how fast you are talking. Fluency, enunciation and rhythm are also considerations in the flow of energy.

Improve your vocal authority

Since we know that our unique, organic voice may not have the resonance often associated with successful business executives, there are still some things we can do to command greater attention and respect. Julie Hansen, author and sales coach offers some tips toward vocal authority in this article. Here are just two:

  • Eliminate annoying speaking habits – Hansen says to drop the non-​question. This is the uptick at the end of a sentence that makes it seem like a question. Also, get rid of the empty phrases like “you know”, “um”, “so” and “ah”.
  • Learn to breathe from the diaphragm – This prevents the muffled, breathless quality and allows you control over important elements like emphasis, rhythm and energy.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Tim Londergan

Tim Londergan

Tim is a research contributor at SalesFuel and he writes for SalesFuel Today. Previously, he worked as a Sales Development Manager, representing products such as AdMall and AudienceSCAN. Tim holds a B.S. from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.