Five bad speech habits and how to correct them

Professionelles Telefonieren ist echte Chefentlastung, denn es verschafft Ihnen nicht nur eine gute Beziehung und mehr Ansehen bei Vorgesetzten und Kollegen sondern auch zufriedene Kunden. Zur Professionalität gehören auch gepflegte Sprechgewohnheiten. So vermeiden Sie schlechte und gewöhnen sich gute Sprachgewohnheiten an.

One of the most powerful weapons you have as a secretary or PA is a professional telephone voice. Often, we have bad habits that we are not aware of, not in what we say but in the way we use our voice, in the way we breath or clear our throats, for example. Here are five of the worst speech habits secretaries and PAs have when they use the telephone, and tips for how to avoid them.

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Bad habit no. 1 – Breathing in through your teeth

Breathing in loudly or through your teeth can be very annoying. You may not realise you are doing it, but the person on the other end of the line certainly will, as the sound is increased through the microphone in the telephone receiver. Break the habit by breathing in through your nose.

Bad habit no. 2 – A monotonous voice

A monotonous voice sends people to sleep. Break the habit by  gesticulating with your hands when you speak. Your voice will become much more varied and the person you are telephoning with will hear the difference.

Bad habit no. 3 – Not taking a breath

Talking without taking a breath is a sure sign of insecurity. It also makes it extremely difficult for anyone to follow what you are saying. Break the habit by pausing consciously mid-sentence and at the end of sentences. You'll sound much more self-confident and, in addition, the pauses add emphasis to what you are saying.

Bad habit no. 4 – Clearing your throat

Nervous throat-clearing, just like nervous coughing, is an even stronger sign of insecurity than not pausing to catch your breath. Break the habit by clearing your throat once before you start telephoning and then just not doing it again. You'll soon realise that you can manage perfectly well without this annoying habit.

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Bad habit no. 5 – A high-pitched voice

Using a high-pitched voice can sound less authoritative, and in business, rather unfairly, you can sometimes be taken less seriously than if your voice is lower-pitched. You may have a naturally highpitched voice, but note that you might speak in a higher than normal pitch when you are nervous. Break the habit by controlling your breathing in order to calm your nerves and, if you have a naturally high-pitched voice, practice speaking with a deeper tone. Record yourself and you'll hear the difference. Also, make sure you speak loud enough, as a quiet, highpitched voice will make you sound as though you lack confidence.