How does the sound of your voice resonate with other people?

The pitch and tone of our voices directly affects how we communicate our feelings and desires. You may be coming across as needy and insecure without even knowing it.

To illustrate this fact, I’d like you to imagine that you’re sitting on a bench and waiting at the doctor’s office or waiting for the bus. Let’s say you’re waiting for the bus, to make this visualization a bit easier.

You notice a man walking towards you out of the corner of your eye. As you turn, you see that he’s hunched over and looking at the ground. He’s not particularly old, just seemingly weak and insecure. You look back ahead.

“Excuse me,” calls out a deep voice from beside you.

What do you do?

Now let’s take a step back and rewind. You’re sitting at the same bus stop, all alone. Again you catch a person walking towards you out of the corner of your eye. This time you turn and see a tall man with wide shoulders strutting your way. You hold eye contact with him for a minute and then turn back to look ahead.

“Excuse me,” calls out a voice from beside you.

This time it’s not deep, but rather high pitched and frail, like that of an old women. How do you react?

Do you see what I’m getting at? Both of these situations seem odd because we instinctively link deep voices to characteristics like strength, confidence, and authority. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a big dude and he speaks like one. Steve Jobs was an incredible innovator and marketer. No one will argue that. But watch his videos and listen to his voice. He sounds rather weak and insecure, nothing like The Rock.

If you didn’t know these two men and only heard their voices, you’d paint two very distinct pictures of what you’d expect them to look like and how you’d expect them to act.

You must speak from your belly

To speak in a deep, authoritative tone you must use your full diaphragm. This is known as speaking from your belly. Or speaking from your balls.

Men with deep voices do this, either naturally or because they’ve learned how. Men with shallow, weak voices do not. They instead speak from their chests or throats. Not only does this sound weaker, but the sound does not travel as far. That’s why people like this are often asked to repeat themselves – something that will often damage your confidence and self-esteem.

To internalize this concept I want you to perform the following exercise.

1. Take five breaths through your nose and deep into your belly, so that it rises and expands as you breathe. As you exhale, say “hello” each time.

2. Take five breaths through your mouth and into your chest, so that is rises and expands as you breathe. As you exhale, say “hello” each time.

3. Take five shallow breaths through your mouth and into your throat. As you exhale, say “hello” each time.

How do you sound each time? Do it again if you have to.

If you’re doing it right, your voice should be rather deep for the belly breaths, high pitched for the throat breaths, and somewhere in between for the chest breaths.

Do it again and feel your belly, your chest, and your throat vibrate as you go. Make sure that you’re speaking from your belly. This will change how you speak. People will perceive you as more confident and you’ll embody this confidence as a result.

This is an excerpt from my new book Confidence Hacks. For 23 more hacks, click here.

Read More: 6 Habits That Hold Men Back