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Voice coach Priscilla Morris shares some top tips on how to communicate effectively whether it’s for business or pleasure.

We all have a voice and we use it all the time, but how much do you know about yours and the effect it has on others?

There has been quite a lot of scientific research on oral communication over the years, so let’s look at what has been discovered.–We make assumptions quickly. In general, we decide how we feel about someone within a few seconds of meeting them. This is based on how someone looks and how they sound. We are not talking here about the choice of words as words matter very little in the communication equation. There are certain aspects of the sound of the voice, which we notice most:

• Volume

• Clarity

• Musicality

Let’s look at each of these briefly.


You need to be loud enough to be easily heard. This sounds obvious but actually it is difficult to judge your own volume, as you ‘feel’ your voice vibrate in your head and as it’s what you’re used to, it feels right. If you want to know whether you are loud enough, ask someone you know and trust.


Simply put, you should try to speak accurately. Finish off your words and control the pace so that the muscles of speech have a chance to do their job. Accents can make a difference too as our brains have to ‘translate’ sounds we don’t recognize and we need even longer to do this.–If you speak clearly, you subconsciously influence others to think you are well educated and confident, so this can really matter in business situations.


Do you bore your audience or do you sound as if you have an emotional connection to your words?–It is vital to think about how much your voice moves, as this can make the difference between being listened to and being ignored. There are quite a few aspects to this but the major areas to focus on are:

• Pitch

• Pace

• Pauses

• Inflection

• Tone quality

Everything about your voice is adjustable. Start thinking about the way you speak and see if you can make a few subtle changes that will make you more effective.

Finally, if you don’t like your voice on the answerphone (and most of us don’t!) rerecord it with a smile on your face to sound more friendly.

Good luck!

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