Picture a cool crisp autumn morning in the wide open farming lands in the Great Southern region of Western Australia at Wagin, home of the annual Wagin Woolarama and Giant Ram.
Imagine a white metal caravan with brown carpet on the inside walls fitted out as a outside broadcast van on a dusty, damp road by the edge of a large green football oval. The smell of freshly cooked donuts wafts past as the crowds start to fill the arena.
A middle aged lady, who has that look of a lifetime spent outdoors approaches the van.
"I'm looking for Tom Murrell, " she asks.
"I'm Tom, " is the reply.
"No, I'm looking for Tom Murrell, the ABC manager in charge of all the radio stations, " she asks more firmly and abruptly.
"That's me. "
"No it can't be! I imagined someone with grey hair in a grey suit!"
At the ripe of old age of 28 years, I was appointed a senior executive with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), in charge of one of the world's largest radio networks covering an area of some 2.5 million square kilometres.
Admittedly, I was the ABC's youngest ever person to be appointed to this position and probably looked even younger than my age.
I tell this story not to impress you, but to impress upon you the personal power of your voice and how it helps shape and create an image of who you are in other people's minds.
You see this lady had only heard me on radio, as a broadcaster, and because of the anonymity of radio she had never seen me but had formed a mental picture of what I looked like.
The benefit of having a good voice is you have more authority, credibility and power. With this comes more influence. This is especially important when using a microphone or speaking over the telephone.
According to experts your voice is at its most naked over the phone or on radio. Speech experts say its like putting your lips to someone's ear and gives new meaning to the term lend me your ears!
When you're on the phone, giving a speech with a microphone or on radio all the nuances of your voice are amplified.
Most people dislike the sound of their own voices because when they hear it being played back it sounds different to what we hear inside our heads.
The power of a good clear voice is often highlighted in the cut and thrust of politics.
One of the most successful Australian politicians who understood this was Bob Carr who, after 17 years in New South Wales politics, retired last month as that State's longest serving Premier.
The son of a train driver was self-made and grew-up on a diet of “books, knowledge and learning". Part of the Labor leader's success was the training he received on how to use his voice as a radio current affairs broadcaster early in his career at the ABC.
If you want a powerful voice in any situation, here's what you can learn from the vocal skills of Bob Carr.
An authoritative voice comes from self-confidence. This is a learned behaviour. No matter what your natural voice sounds like, you can learn to develop authority in your voice.
A clear voice is easily understood and people are more likely to act on your ideas and instructions if your voice is clear. Good radio broadcasters and powerful communicators such as Bill Clinton work on their clarity through vocal exercises, involving diction, pause and pace.
3. Personal Power
Referent power comes from a position of power. Expert power comes from unique knowledge. An authoritative voice gives you personal power. Bob Carr had all three.
A mature voice has more influence. Again, no matter what your experience, you can learn how to have more maturity in your voice.
Voices can sound ageless as my Wagin story highlights. Often the age of the person with an ageless voice will be in the mind of the listener.
Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries. You can subscribe by visiting http://www.8mmedia.com . Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event. Visit Tom's blog at http://www.8mmedia.blogspot.com