I never thought I’d say this, but Meryl Streep really annoyed me. She was so irritating, I had to turn off a movie I was watching that she was starring in. This never happened before. I love Meryl Streep, think she’s one of the all-time great actors. She’s so great at dialects and accents and using her voice to embody her characters. Truly a rare talent. You don’t see a lot of even famous actors with this level of skill. And she may actually be too good at it, because that’s what bugged me — her character’s voice.
This movie I had to escape was “Hope Springs.” It’s about a couple, probably close to 60, who’ve been married for a long time and have gotten bored with each other, the spark has gone out. Tommy Lee Jones played the husband. Streep’s character, the wife, tries to get the excitement back in the marriage.
Traditional housewife, of that generation.
And her voice was so small. She never raised it, even when she was angry or hurt.
Can I tell you this type of voice is common even today and I see it in women who are young, and accomplished.
Great example is when I go to events and people stand up and ask questions. And they speak as if they are in a one-on-one conversation in a private setting instead of a room filled with hundreds of people. Their voice is hushed and high-pitched. They don’t realize how they come across. Weak, dependent, not accomplished. They don’t realize they’re being vetted by everyone in that room. People are making decisions about them and basing those decisions on the way they sound.
When you are in public, especially a professional environment, you have to remember that everything you do, including the way you speak, marks you. You can choose to be marked as powerful, confident, and authoritative. Or, you can choose to be marked as weak and whiney.
I was flying on business, sitting in Row 2 when the common safety announcements began. The voice came from the back of the plane, but what I and my fellow passengers observed from the front was fantastic.
The flight attendant, clearly enjoying her work, put on a show. She acted out the announcements in a way that was completely and utterly entertaining and completely and utterly successful.
I’m sorry to say I rarely listen to them any more. I have flown enough times I know the drill. Yet, this performance made me realize how just a small tweak created an entirely new experience. If it had been possible, I would’ve given her a standing ovation.
The next time you have to speak – about anything – add some pizzazz. Do it a little differently. Have some fun and enjoy the results!
Master Speaking & Communication to Close More Business! LIVE Online Program Begins in January - Join Us! Learn More