First thing is first, can you tell when someone is not paying attention?
To put it simply there are two kinds of attention: neck down, and neck up. Neck-up attention is when the listener has to make an effort to pay attention. Neck-down attention is when the listener is riveted to the speaker: he/she can't help but pay attention.
You want neck down attention. Don’t be the victim of your own lifeless voice.
How do I Keep a Neck-Down Audience?
I will get straight to the point and make it super easy to read.
- Breathe. When people are nervous, they often take very quick shallow breaths, which leads their voice to lose its resonance. It comes out thin, weak and flat. Try to slow down the breathing so that the inhale takes at least a slow count to 5 and the exhale takes a slow count to 10.
- Stand Up Straight. Before you utter a word, make sure your back is in a relaxed, vertical position. Your knees are slightly bent and the crown of your head held up.
- Start with the Unexpected. Listeners like presentations that ignite interest with the first sentence. Using a powerful quote is a great example. For instance: "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin
- Make it About Them. Talk about their goals, their aspirations, their anxieties. At its best, a presentation or speech is a personal conversation with many individuals at the same time.
- Pause. If your words come out in a constant and repetitive rhythm, like an old-fashioned type writer, no one knows what to pay attention to. They tune out. Vary your speech by pausing. A pause before an important statement will signal, “listen up. This is the good stuff.” Pausing after an important statement tells them, “that was important.”
- Tell a Story. We emphasize the important points, pause to add suspense, speed up as the climax of the story approaches, and use the full range of our voice to express emotion. If you think of your presentation as a story, and tell it like a story, your voice will respond in kind.
- Keep it Interactive. Humor is inherently persuasive. Simply allow your natural sense of humor to be present in the moment, and when something comes to mind, allow your humor to reveal itself. The give and take between speaker and audience breaks through the reticence and reserve of listeners, encouraging them to engage with the speaker and play a part in the proceedings.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "What you are speaks so loudly that can hear what you're saying." The human mind ascribes moral intention to physical cues having the slightest hint of emotional expression. The problem is the mind does this in a matter of seconds, and you have to speak longer than that.
How do I Apply this Over the Phone?
Use the above steps and apply them but here is more that are more phone oriented.
- Position Your Mouthpiece. Make sure that you position your mouthpiece correctly, and run a few test calls and ask your colleagues or employees how you sound. Do this every day until you get the distance and position right, specific to the device you are using.
- Keep Water Handy. The person on the other end of the telephone call will know if you are thirsty, and it does not sound as cute as you may think. Make sure that you are hydrated so that your customer gets to hear you in your best form.
- Smile When You Speak. Even if you are not in the mood to smile, relax your facial muscles, and smile so that your voice appears cheerful. The sound escapes from your voice box in a different manner than when your facial muscles are contracted.
- Rest Between Calls. When you are physically and emotionally tired, you will not sound cheerful. If you wish to sound great on the phone, you should start getting enough rest in between calls you make and receive.
- Speak Clearly and Correctly. Pay attention to the way you pronounce words, especially the ones you use frequently. No matter which part of the world you are from, pronouncing English words the way they are supposed to makes a huge difference in being comprehensible.
- Don't Hurry. You may be interpreted as impatient and distracted. No one wants to speak to a sales executive or a customer care agent who is impatient. Make sure that you speak slowly, and that your rate of speech isn’t too fast.
- Listen and Repeat. Listen closely and repeat back to the caller their main points or concerns. This is an important rule that every virtual receptionist or call center agent follows. You should also allow the person to complete their sentences, and never interrupt them when they are speaking.
These are very helpful tools to not loose people's attention while you are talking. Take them and practice. Practice with a college, friend, or in the mirror.
Our agents are doing good work in the field and we want to make sure they are able to successfully help others understand Medicare.
Contact one of our Marketing Specialist today for further help, at 800-777-9322.