How-to use a strong voice so that people listen to you

Inner-Strength Training #13: You deserve to be listened to and heard without interruption

Overview:

  • Getting pegged as the “nice girl” has drawbacks sometimes
  • People listen to the tone of your voice just as much as the content
  • Lower voices earn more respect
  • Women speak quickly to avoid interruption
  • We are entitled to have our message be heard
  • When you practice being strong and assertive you will encounter people that try to put you back in your box. Keep moving forward.

The situation: 

You’re at work when either one of your co-workers or a customer motions with their ear or has brazenly interrupted you mid-sentence.

“What do you mean that you can’t hear me?” You think to yourself.

In your mind, you are speaking loud and clear.

So, what’s the issue here? And should invest in a megaphone?

“Your whispering, honey”

If you’re like me then you’ve always had a slight fear that people will interrupt you when you’re speaking.

I try to get all of my words out before someone interrupts me. I also sometimes feel that if I speak too much that I’ll make people angry.  Weird, right?

But, I’m not always like that. It’s more of a ying/yang balance. Sometimes I’m sweet and timid and other times I’m authoritative and firm.

I find myself going into “sweet” mode when I don’t want to rock the boat.

Sometimes, I just need a break from the backlash that a strong woman can face when she owns her own power.

But we can’t break for too long. How you convey your message is so important.

I’ve even had a girl come up to me in an office environment and ask how to deliever bad news to a client even though she’s “nice girl.”

How you sound combined with how you look makes up for 90% of how you are perceived.

How-to deal

To sound more authoritative try these tips:

Almost a year and a half ago I went to the Seattle Voice Institute to learn how to become a better public speaker. Speaking in public is something I’ve always been intrigued by. I like pushing myself to rise to the challenge of it. Because, how scary, right? A room full of people watching you. It can be an out of body experience!

I learned to:

Always speak from your solar plexus…(which is your lower abdomen area).

Tighten up the muscles around this part of your body. It will give you a strong starting point to speak from.  It also makes having an authoritative voice easier…

Project our voices

When we speak without a tight solar plexus, our voice casts a wide net. We need to focus and narrow the channel of our voice. Which means projecting our voice outward.  Think about who you want to hear your voice, this helps you make the connection with the person receiving your message.

Just like your crush at a party

I never really went to parties… but this analogy works just the same.

Remeber every time you had a ol’ fashioned crush on someone?

And when they were in the same room as you. No matter how far apart you were from each other. You could hear what they were saying, even if they weren’t talking to you…..

It’s because they were thinking of you. You were on their mind consciously or unconsciously… Whether they were nervous or excited to be near you.

This is the same framework that we can all use to be heard loud and clear.

Breathe in the crowd

At the Voice Institute, I learned that before speaking to a group of people, or at a meeting, or anytime that we want to connect in general, that we should breathe the crowd in. Take in their essence and drink in a big sip of air.

Did you know?

From the book “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office,” (Which I bought when I was feeling a bit meek and wanted to be stronger) that lower voices command more respect and attention.

The reasoning behind this is that maybe our minds have been socialized to perceive that a lower sounding voice (much like a guys voice) has more authority.

Did you know? Part 2:

Like I mentioned earlier, women (including myself) talk too fast because they fear interruption or don’t want to be seen as a nuisance.

When we speak, we should speak thoughtfully and slowly. As talking too fast downgrades our message. And it seems like we are rushing through our message just to get it all out.

Speaking fast also gives the impression that you don’t deserve the time to be heard. Which is not true.

We are entitled to have the time to speak our full message.

This week, I’m practicing my strong voice as I’ve tetered a bit on the sweet and girlish side of things lately.

What are indicators in your work environment that you need to use a more assertive voice?