A few months ago, I was drilling holes into my bathroom cabinets for handles. I had never held a drill before, let alone use it. But I had all the confidence in the world – how hard could it be?!

I measured and marked the right spots on the cabinet door, placed the drill-head on the spot, and pressed the button. Oh, it drilled alright, to the point where the cabinet was smoking and, and there was no hole.

Why? I had no idea. My uneducated guess was that I had chosen too large of a drill-head for the density of the cabinet material.

I picked a smaller drill-head and gave it a go. I got a hole this time but it was too narrow for my screw.

Ok, got it. What I needed was a bigger drill-head and a lot of pressure on the drill. This time, I drilled hard – my veins popped on my forehead, my arms vibrated with the drill, and my eyes blinked rigorously in the cloud of sawdust. I got a hole alright, but since I was more focused on applying pressure on the drill than its direction, it had gone through the cabinet door at an angle.

Long story short, the more I touched the drill, the more problems I caused.

All in all, one hour later, all I had to show for my work was one crooked hole and a blister at the base of my thumb. To top it off, there was dust and debris everywhere, and I was exhausted.

My approach to drilling was how many people use one of their most important tools in negotiating: their voice. They use it as an amateur would use a drill: create a lot of noise and mess without any outcome that’s of value.

Yet your voice is a crucial tool when it comes to communication and persuasion. Without mastering it, you involuntarily reveal your emotions, attitudes, and motivation.

The words are important, of course. But your voice will expose the unintentional in intentional words. According to Patti Wood, a non-verbal communication expert, it’s over two times harder for us to control our voice than our words, yet our voice has over 2 times more influence on others,

So what’s one to do?

Here’s a quick beginner’s guide into understanding the power of your own voice:

The first step to becoming a better negotiator and communicator is by observing your own voice. Record yourself, or even better, ask a family member to record you when you least expect it. Then listen and take notes.

The second step is to play around with your voice. Try different pitches, tones, and speeds. Record yourself and get the feel for being in control.

The third step is to put it into practice. Observe how your voice influences others around you. Start with your family. When you are experiencing heightened emotion, notice how it manifests in your voice, then try to override the emotion in your voice.

The true test is real life, and remember – awareness is key.

Here’s what I’ll leave you with:

It takes a skill to use any tool, and your voice is not different. Watch how you use it. Learn the many functions of it. Care for it. It can do you a lot of harm if not mastered.

Eva fanari

Photo by David Pisnoy. Thank you:)