If you are soft-spoken, how do you think others judge you? Do you think they regard you as being confident, assertive, and self-assured? If you are concerned about the image you project, then your soft-spoken voice is definitely not projecting those qualities. Instead, your lack of volume is rightly or wrongly saying that you are shy, introverted, and lacking in assuredness.
Through my many years teaching voice, I have found that some people are soft-spoken because they were raised in a quiet household. Maybe one of the parents worked a night shift and slept during the day in which it was important to play quietly. On the other hand, I have found that there are some who were raised among many children and were taught to be quiet because of the number of people in the household.
Then, too, if your mother or father is soft-spoken, there is a very good chance that you are soft-spoken as well. We imitate our loved ones in our early childhood development which is why we usually sound like our same-sex parent – assuming the relationship in those early years was loving and nurturing.
Unfortunately, the adjectives that often describe those who are soft-spoken may not be applicable to you; but, because you have spent your entire life speaking at a particular volume level, it is difficult to increase your volume properly and not think that you are shouting or speaking too loudly.
You have both an inner ear and an outer ear. How you recognize your voice is by means of your inner ear which is how you think you sound. Your outer ear, however, is how you hear yourself on your answering machine or your voicemail. (Incidentally, what you hear on your voicemail is the truth; what you recognize with your inner ear is not.)
Learning to increase your volume to a normal level of sound takes practice and the retraining of your inner ear because you need to be able to accept that increase. The issue is not to make you speak loudly but to learn to speak at a level that is comfortable for all to hear without having to repeat yourself.
If you are confident but speak softly, your lack of volume is holding you back, not your confidence. And, if you are not being heard the first time you speak, then often there is no second chance because those with larger voices will control the conversation.
Do not allow your lack of volume to stand in your way. If people perceive you as being shy or introverted because they are unable to hear you, then learn to speak at a normal volume level and let the world hear your confidence and assuredness.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic and watch Nancy as she describes Your Least Developed Tool!