When I call somebody for the first time – let’s say for a possible job – the way I speak tells everything. Within the first ten seconds – no exaggeration – my speech, my tone of voice, and my choice of words reveal a thousand things about who I am – without my knowing it.
The way I speak symbolizes how I typically – chronically – relate to people, to the job market, and to the world:
• Do I speak clearly?
• Is my tone of voice filled with energy? – Or not?
• Do I use the correct words when I call?
• And finally … am I calling with tons of background noise?
This is not rocket science. The answer to these questions inevitably shapes the outcome of the call … and down the line … the outcome of a job interview. When I don’t speak clearly I am asking the person on the other end of the line to do all the work: (“I want a job; I want their help – but I am going to make the other person stress and strain to understand me.”)
I often tell people that this is not a question of what school you went to or how rich your parents were. It’s not even a question of what language you were born with. It’s not. All of us can speak more clearly and use a tone of voice that is warm, welcoming, and energetic. Remember: In the first ten seconds …