Julian Treasure is a Ted Talk master. He is also a consultant advising top brands and companies how to manage their branded sound and their sound spaces.
Whether it is optimising the human voice, or thinking consciously about the music and audio your business uses, Julian is an expert in how to use sound to communicate a powerful message.
Here are the three things I learned from Julian Treasure:
- Hello Sexy!
- Learn To Listen
- Speak Powerfully
1. Hello Sexy!
The phrase ‘hello sexy’ comes from something an air hostess said to Julian on a Virgin Flight. In two words the attendant had captured the Virgin brand entirely.
Most companies have a brand book. But how many have a section on sound and audio? Next to none.
If you get the sound right, it can create instant loyalty and it can communicate much more than a piece of copy, or even an image.
Julian spoke about the Intel jingle – you all know the one! It is not an “earworm” but it stays in your head, and it communicates the essence of the brand without overloaded language or a hard sell.2. Learn To Listen!
Listening is a dying art. Julian believes it is much more important than talking. If no one’s listening what’s the point right?
Julian believes that true listening is when the person’s voice you are listening to is the only sound you are interested in at that moment. Your attention is truly undivided.
We undervalue listening because we think it is a passive activity. But Julian insists that to really listen you have to make conscious decisions about what you choose to focus on, and you place meaning on what you hear.
We could all do with a little retraining on how to listen, but if you need a quick trick, Julian recommends waiting three seconds before you speak.3. Speak Powerfully
Julian says he regrets some of the normal speech patterns that you find in conversation these days.
One common type is the “valley girl”, rising intonation, where everything is a question. Another example is the “vocal fry”, which is the surfer/hipster talk, where everything is said in a lazy, sunny drawl.
Neither of these are good for our voices, and nor are they good for communicating value.
Figures show that we are more likely to vote for politicians with deep, resonant voice that echo from the chest. The lower registers have authority and are more trustworthy.
The point is not try to make everything you say sound like James Earl Jones, but simply to be more conscious of what you say and how you say it.
The rule of thumb is to avoid common cultural memes like the ones mentioned above, and speak with clarity, warmth and authority. It should be a natural process, not forced.Julian’s teaching is not formulaic. There are so many variables in how we communicate with sound. But he has taught me how to speak consciously, and to really be aware of the impact of sound, as much as language and images.
Sound is a big part of London Real, and we think hard about everything from my Ted Talk to the music we use on our videos.
How could you improve your speaking or listening? Are you what Julian calls an “interrupter”, and how can you improve the power of your speaking?