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When Less Is More: Lower Energy Level Found to Work Best in Cold Calls
By Susan Berkley

The title of this article might confuse you. However, a salesperson wrote to tell me that he and his colleagues experience better cold calls when they speak in a more "laid back" manner with a lower energy level. Fascinating!

This salesperson relates, "I seemed to notice that the more energetic I was, the more the prospect got scared and put walls up. I guess the message they were getting was, 'Here comes a salesman.' But when I was more low key they were much more receptive. It seems like most people want to increase their energy level and talk faster. I want to do the exact opposite! Any quick tips?"

Sure ! Here are some:

HOW TO TAME A HYPER-ACTIVE SPEAKING STYLE

1. KEEP BODY LANGUAGE TO A MINIMUM

Cut back on gestures. Remain seated. If you normally wear a headset, try restricting physical movement by working without it.

2. MAKE SURE YOU ARE PHYSICALLY RELAXED BEFORE MAKING THE CALL

Image that you just got out of bed. Take a deep breath and center yourself before speaking. Learn some stretching exercises and do them once an hour to keep the kinks out of your body.

3. SURROUND YOUR DESK WITH SOOTHING IMAGES

Beach scenes (no bikini clad women!), mountains, flowing water. Look at the predominant colors in your office decor. Neutrals and blues are soothing, red will pump you up.

4. IF YOU CAN STAND IT, CUT BACK ON THE CAFFEINE

The more caffeine in your bloodstream, the faster you will tend to speak.

5. PAUSE MORE. AFTER EACH THOUGHT, COUNT TO 3 BEFORE YOU CONTINUE

Ask lots of questions and listen for the answer. Most salespeople talk too much. You should be listening 3 times more than you speak. A pause can feel like an eternity internally, but a listener will scarcely notice that you stopped speaking and will appreciate that you gave them a chance to digest your message.

6. TAPE YOURSELF

The biggest challenge in voice improvement is that most of us do not hear ourselves as others hear us. A tape recorder and feedback from a supportive friend can help. Record yourself doing your sales pitch at your normal speed and then at a slower rate. Give the tape to a friend and see if they notice a difference between the two. If you are still too fast, visualize elongating and extending the space between your words. Pause for a beat or two after each thought. If you use a script, make marks to remind you to pause at appropriate places.

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From "The Voice Coach" ezine by Susan Berkley. 
Copyright 2009, reprinted with permission. 

For a free subscription visit http://www.greatvoice.com. Susan Berkley is a professional speaker and international communications expert. She is a top voiceover artist and author of "Speak to Influence: How to Unlock the Hidden Power of Your Voice, " available at bookstores or from The Great Voice Company at 800-333-8108.

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