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Even if you're not an official leader at your company, chances are you'll have to hold a meeting or present an idea to your team at some point in your career. But are you sabotaging your ability to engage your team during meetings or presentations? Embracing your creativity, spontaneity, and flavor can seem inappropriate in the “real world.” For years, you were told that, in order to be a professional, you had to ACT professional. But what does that mean exactly? Most people think “acting professional” means leaving your personality at the door when you walk into the office. But that’s the worst thing you can do if you want to engage your team during meetings or presentations. In fact, if you DON’T share a little personality in your voice, you’ll put them right to sleep. According to Dan Moriarty, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company, voice modulation is a key skill that presenters need to leverage in order to connect with an audience. Voice modulation, the ability to a change the pitch, volume, tone, or inflection of your voice, will allow you to convey important information in a way that engages your audience. Next time you have to hold a meeting or present an idea, think about how your words are coming across to your audience. Are you monotone or are you changing the tone, pitch, volume, and inflection of your voice as you get excited, frustrated, or thoughtful? Being able to do this will allow you to get and hold your team’s attention. Showing this kind of emotion when you speak might seem strange at first, but that’s okay, according to Moriarty. “Have courage to step outside yourself, to feel uncomfortable, to feel awkward,” said Moriarty, “because when you do that, when you’re awkward, when you’re vulnerable, you allow those around you permission to go there with you.” So, if you’re struggling to engage your team during meetings or presentations, allow yourself to show emotion and personality when you speak. You might be surprised at the response!

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