Q:I read your column on how people perceive you based on your tone of voice. I have an interview coming up and I’m really nervous. I tend to talk fast when I am nervous, can this impact my ability to get hired?
A: Great awareness on your part and yes, I believe that talking too fast can impact how well your upcoming interview goes.
As mentioned in a previous column, a Stanford university study showed that people hear personality in others voices. So what does a fast talker say about you?
Speaking too quickly can make you appear anxious and it makes it difficult for others to understand you. Further, speaking too quickly gives others the idea you aren’t really interested in what they have to say. This is clearly what you are not going for in any interview.
People who speak slightly slower are perceived by the listener to be thoughtful, intelligent and their message carries more weight. Slowing down gives the listener a moment to “take in” what you are saying and you more time to pick words that are most meaningful to convey your message.
If you find yourself speeding up, try taking a deep breath before you speak. Make eye contact, relax your shoulders, pause, stop every few sentences to ask if they have any questions on what you have shared. Make sure you are really listening to what the other person is saying and even paraphrase the question back to them out loud. You can also slightly drop your tone of voice to the lower end of your range. Research by Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, showed that people judge those with deeper voices as having more authority.
By slowing down and slightly dropping your tone you are sending the message “I am thoughtful, intelligent, strong & confident.” Good luck!