In our last post, we established that your ‘vocal brand’ is how people hear your identity in the world. The sounds that emanate from your body have an impact on how you are perceived in the world: be that at coffee with a friend, presenting in a team meeting or responding to questions in an interview. Every time you speak, you are enforcing your identity and brand in the minds of your listeners.
This can be daunting! Learning how to use your voice and command it to align with your brand is a big task. How do you achieve this? First, you need to identify YOUR vocal brand - really understand how you want your voice reflected in the world. So, how do you do this?
Step 1: Listen
One of the first steps to take in identifying your vocal brand comes from taking time to intentionally listen to the voices around you. Whose voices are you drawn to? Whose voices do you have a hard time listening to? Are there colleagues who tend to speak with a whispered quality, where hearing each word is difficult? Do you have a mentor who feels magnetic, and keeps you constantly engaged?
Don’t just listen in the workplace; look at the media and see if there are any iconic vocal brands you are drawn to or can identify. A fabulous example of this is Dennis Dexter Haysbert from the AllState commercials. You don’t need to see his image to know his sound. It’s iconic. Marilyn Monroe is another example of someone with a strong vocal brand.
What are the voices you like? What are the voices you dislike?
Step 2: Understand
You have figured out which voices and vocal brands you like/dislike, now it’s time to understand why. Write down what you like about certain voices. What does listening to them make you feel? Calm? Invigorated? Inspired? Bored? Disinterested?
Categorize which voices trigger certain responses in you. Once you have done this, look for the common themes.
Step 3: Identify
This next step may take a bit more time depending on how much personal branding work you have already done. The key to this step is understanding your own brand - how do YOU want to be perceived in the workplace? Are you approachable, powerful? Are you a democratic leader?
Take some time to identify how you want to be seen in your career.
Step 4: Explore
The final step to identifying your vocal brand is figuring out how your sound is currently being experienced by those around you. This step requires finding a few trusted friends, colleagues or advisors who can share some of the perceived sounds and timbres they hear when you speak. How does your voice make them feel? Are those responses in alignment with the brand you identified in step 3?
Finding the right trusted individuals is key, as you will want to be open to the feedback given, and treat it not as critique or judgment but observation. You can also record yourself and listen back with a critical ear to see how your sound compares to the attributes you liked and disliked from steps 1 and 2.
As you begin to compile feedback from these trusted mentors, colleagues and friends, take note of words or phrases that are shared and any themes that emerge. If a majority of those polled mention your volume being soft, light and airy, or loud, easy to hear, but forceful, you’ll likely see your vocal brand begin to emerge.
As this comes to fruition, see if it matches the brand you are looking to align with. If it doesn’t, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Stay tuned for part 3 in our vocal branding series where we talk about how to start making changes and develop your vocal brand!
Ready to start exploring your vocal brand? Read on here!