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  • Marc Baloch

The Jazz of Voice in Leadership

Updated: Oct 25, 2023


Imagine yourself in a New York jazz club on a cool autumn night. The room is filled with anticipation, the spotlight is on the stage, and the bass player plucks the first note. It's not the song that captivates you, but the tone of the music. Deep, soothing, and confident, it sets the mood and draws you in. That's the magic of a good jazz night.

Now, what if I told you that your voice could have the same effect in the boardroom or at the dinner table? Your voice, much like a jazz performance, can either soothe or agitate, inspire or discourage, clarify or confuse. It's not just about what you're saying, but how you're saying it.

The Chris Voss Method

In his book, "Never Split the Difference," Chris Voss, an internationally recognized negotiation expert and former FBI hostage negotiator, emphasizes the power of tactical empathy and the tone of voice. He often refers to a New York jazz night voice – a calm, slow, and soothing voice, which he used to de-escalate high-stakes situations.

As managers and parents, we may not be negotiating hostage situations, but we often find ourselves in high-stakes conversations where emotions run high and outcomes matter. That's where the New York jazz night voice can play a pivotal role. It helps to calm the situation, reel in emotions, and facilitate effective communication.

With two teenage daughters at home, I keep reminding myself of the need to use this to not only calm my kids down but also help me to achieve this. I also studied him on Masterclass when he trained this exact situation of a teenage daughter wanting to stay overnight and wanting to get permission from the father.

But It's Not Just About Tone

Sure, the tone of our voice matters, but it's only a part of the story. After all, non-verbal communication accounts for a whopping 93% of all communication. So what else is there? Clarity, my friends. The clarity of your voice is just as important as your tone.

You see, voice training is not just about sounding nice. It's about being understood. It's about making sure your message is not lost in the noise or the nuances of your voice. Voice training aids in articulation, modulation, and phrasing – all the elements that make your message clear and compelling.

Listening to your sound recordings can be a good start. It may feel weird at first, but it's an effective way to understand how you sound to others. You might discover some vocal habits that you were not aware of, or you might realize that your voice does not convey the confidence or warmth you thought it did.

The Bottom Line

Leadership, whether in the corporate world or at home, is not just about making decisions and setting the course. It's about inspiring trust, building relationships, and guiding through uncertainty. It's about communicating effectively and empathetically. And your voice plays a crucial role in all of this.

So, let's embrace the New York jazz night voice, train for clarity, and listen to our sound. Let's leverage the power of our voice to create harmony in our teams, with our clients, and in our homes. After all, we're not just leaders, we're conductors of a grand orchestra. Let's make sure our symphony is worth listening to.

Remember, in the grand concert of leadership, your voice is your most powerful instrument. Play it well.

Stay tuned and stay vocal,

Marc Baloch

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