You’ve seen it before and you didn’t like it. A mom lobbing verbal grenades at her obnoxious children, a husband making his point with syllables of flaming anger, or an irate customer beating a clerk into submission with the subtlety of a tsunami.
When your voice erupts in a detonation of decibels, you’ve lost control. The person on the receiving end of your ill temper (and manners) must either match your fury with their own fire or quench it with a cold shoulder.
Volume doesn’t equal confidence. In fact, when someone is using an overly amplified voice to make their point, it’s an indication they’re teetering at the edge of uncertainty.
Speak softly, with an even measure of clarity and confidence, and you will demolish defensive barriers and more easily invite the attention of your listener. Sure, you can make your point with a roar, but the right whisper can be infinitely louder. Here are three tactics to help you get heard and be remembered.
Stay At The Same Level. No one likes to feel dominated. Whether it’s your intention or not, talking down to someone leaves them with the impression that you feel you’re over or above them. Even if you’re not actually yelling, your body language is screaming. Take a step back, lower your shoulders, or have a seat. Use your body language to let the person you’re speaking with know that their perspective is important, without forcing them into surrender. This will demolish their walls of indifference and make it easier to hear every word you have to say.
Look Every Problem In The Eye. Our eyes are the windows to our soul. Keeping your eyes fixed in conversation is key to getting others to listen, and is instrumental in measuring comprehension. If your listener looks confused, you’ve lost them. If they appear uninterested, then you either have a boring voice or your listener is building a wall of resistance. Either way, you can use their silent signals to redirect the conversation to your benefit. It’s always easier to draw people into your perspective by showing them you care enough to maintain eye contact.
Monkey See, Monkey Do. Everyone with a beating heart longs to feel valued and to know they’re good enough. There’s no better way to show someone they matter than by listening to their questions and concerns, then validating their perspective. When you take time to listen to others, you give value to their world view. Then, when it’s your turn to speak, you’re more likely to have the gesture returned with an attentive listener. By listening to your audience you will model the behavior you expect in return.
Raising your voice may be necessary on occasion. But for the most part, a confident voice is a calm one. The right words, softly spoken will command the attention of your audience. Remember, a flickering candle illuminates the room, a flamethrower burns it to ash.