WHY inject warmth into business relationships?
Seeking warmth in professional communications can sound counterintuitive, but exhibiting warmth can actually help you in your career. Even in a professional situation, you want to be able to fully engage the other party; you want them to hear you literally and figuratively. If you're excited or nervous about something, you want to communicate that in order to be vulnerable and authentic. If you can be the warmest person in the room, you will actually be the most engaging person in the room.
HOW do you learn to exhibit warmth?
1. Acknowledging and expressing emotions
Many of my clients have been socialized to not emote outwardly, and so I work with them on actually communicating without words. I instruct them to read a piece of a script with anger or sadness or joy. Despite conjuring an emotion internally, oftentimes the reading comes out flat, indicating that there is a cognitive dissonance between internal feelings and outward expression.
If you're coming off very flat, no matter what you're talking about, you will never be a great communicator and you're not going to be engaging to the other party. Being aware of how well you communicate externally and how well you move your energy externally is very important.
2. Vocal training
Simply employing some simple vocal and speech practices, you can accentuate the inherent warmth in your communication. This can be accomplished by adapting a "melody of gratitude": speaking at a slower pace, avoiding upward inflections at the end of sentences, elongating words, and lowering pitch.
3. Physical preparation
Think of the physical body as an instrument that needs to be tuned, warmed up, and prepared for having the best possible communication outcome. Practicing yoga enables you to literally stretch out and relieve tension in the body so that you can freely communicate. If you have a lot of tension in your body (and especially your face), releasing that tension will actually change the way your sound is coming out of your mouth. It will be stronger and warmer, and your body will just be more comfortable with less tension. Everything will work a little bit more smoothly.
WHAT IF I'm not inherently warm?
I always want my clients to be authentic and just the best version of themselves. Some people are not particularly warm, but we can work on them being aware of who they are, what their brand is, and utilizing their strength and presence. Somebody like Steve Jobs, who was extremely analytical and precise, was not warm at all. That was his style and it worked because he brought a lot of authenticity and passion to the table.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that humans are social beings and that we require some level of personal connection. If people can connect with you because you're warm or show empathy, that will draw people to you and allow them to let down their guard and communicate more openly and effectively with you. This open communication and mutual trust paves the path toward growth, advancement, and success.
Schedule a free 15-minute consultation to learn more about optimizing your voice and improving executive presence.