How To Add Power To Your Personal Brand

A few years ago I was having a one-to-one session with a client. She was a mid-level executive, in her early 30s, who knew her stuff (and knew that she knew her stuff). She dressed well and her body language was self-assured – because she was self-assured.

“So why is it that, my whole working life, I’ve been told, “You need to be more confident?”

It was something that had come up again in the feedback report I’d compiled as part of working on her personal brand.

Although the respondents had lots of positive stuff to say (“always delivers”, “looks out for her team”, “will find an answer”), when it came to the question asking what this woman might do to improve her brand, a number of people had said, “Be more confident”.

She was baffled

On the face of it, there was nothing she was saying or doing that would make you think she lacked confidence. And when she’d previously asked people what was making them think she did, they’d never given her a firm answer. “You just seem a little unsure or nervous.”

But I knew what they were talking about, because I’d sensed it too

At first, I couldn’t put my finger on it either. But then, as she was talking, it dawned on me. “It’s your voice.”

I then tried to mimic it so she could hear what I was hearing. To do so, I raised my usual pitch to a higher level and roughed up the edges of the tone, so the words came over a bit crackly. I also turned the volume down a notch.

The result was a voice that, whilst the words were conveying confidence, the sound was conveying hesitancy.

The reason people hadn’t been able to point this out previously was because, as far as picking up clues to someone’s personal brand goes, this one was invisible. So it was harder to bring to mind than something visual, like say, she slouched in her chair or tilted her head down when talking.

All she had to do was add power to her voice (lower the pitch, strengthen the tone, increase the volume) and it would add power to her personal brand, bringing all the aspects into line to convey the confident persona she actually had.

Do you want to do the same?

I recently watched an excellent video by Vanessa Van Edwards about just this subject, entitled The Science of Vocal Power. In it she offers a way to work out the range of your vocal pitch, then identify where on the scale to aim for when communicating verbally.

I did the little experiment myself, listening to my voicemail message to check where my vocal pitch was sitting. I’m pleased to say it was about spot on, but if it had been more like my client’s, it would have gone a long way to flagging what was wrong.

How does your voice work for you when it comes to conveying your personal brand? Has it helped to give it power? Or made it seem like you lack confidence? There’s a comment box below where I’d love to hear what you think.

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4 responses to “How To Add Power To Your Personal Brand”

  1. Peter O'Leary says:

    Jennifer, again, another interesting point, I have always had a weak voice, it goes higher as I speak, and often goes when I’ve been speaking for a while. Always has done. I put it down to not completing the 25,000 words a day we are supposed to speak, 😉 as I work from home, email mostly and very rarely use the phone. However my music tutor is also a voice coach and we are going to be working on my voice, this came about as I need to sing for some music grades I am taking..

    Re branding, and clothes, I have taken on board your previous blogs, I have given thought to what I wish to portray as I meet people and I have invested in some decent business clothes including multiple shirts / ties of the same style and colour.

    So I’m looking forward to the meetings I have arranged for later this month with new clients, but more importantly for me, I feel more confident about my branding.


  2. Jennifer Holloway says:

    I’m so pleased this and previous blog posts have struck a chord Pete. Wearing clothes that make you feel good – and therefore more confident – will pay dividends.

  3. Jeff Wilson says:

    It’s a great point, I was lucky enough a few years ago to work for Richard Branson who was setting up a large call centre in Norwich for the launch of Virgin Direct. One of the first things I was involved in was working on how customers would think of us as a company when it was purely over the phone not face to face. Not an easy thing to do having Sir Richard was great as the face of the company but trying to talk and make pensions or Peps sound interesting isn’t an easy thing so getting all the right ingredients to keep people engaged was vital.

    We worked on voice, pitch, tone in fact too much to write in this comments space, we worked on words and phrases, sexy words and RIP words, things you should and shouldn’t say. It was a wonderful insight and taught me a lot I worked with a wonderful lady called Sandra Proctor who trained the Police, Ambulance services, RAC, an a lot of Airlines and other call centre based companies.

    I had come from a travel background working overseas so I was used to having to project my voice and being confident after all standing in front of people requires a lot of confidence otherwise things will go wrong quickly. I listen to every call I make to some big companies today and am shocked on 9 out of every 10 calls, The things they say are amazing unfortunately they seem to annoy rather than engage, they seem to be heavily scripted.

    For my own company I speak clearly, and not too fast or slow, listen to what my caller is telling me, make notes if possible, make sure we both know what the person wants by repeating and confirming it, then no matter what type of call it is sales or interest in our product give an clear answer.

    I try to have an action plan for every call. Make the person feel like it was a pleasure speaking with us and want to repeat it again in the future. I am lucky that I have worked for some big sized companies and have dealt with different types of call including complaints which can easy get out of hand if not controlled in the write way. I really personally believe at the end of the day it’s just a conversation sometimes with a faceless person on the other end of the phone. Sometimes you will know the person but it still just a conversation on the phone. Hope I haven’t written to much as I have only just started to follow.

    • Jennifer Holloway says:

      You’re right about a lot of customer service teams not understanding the value of a positive word as opposed to a negative one.

      I just had an IT engineer here from a large firm to try and fix my laptop. He even went so far as to say he didn’t like his job, which didn’t make me think he’d be putting his heart and soul into getting my machine up and running – and he didn’t.

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