Unless you live along the Boston-Washington corridor, chances are good that you if you have a problem with volume it is probably that you speak with too little of it. We, in the Northeast region of America, tend to use too much of it – we drive fast, we talk fast, and we are loud.
Volume is tricky because your inner ear often doesn’t tell you the truth when it comes to how loudly or how softly you are speaking. [Of course, your inner ear also lies about the quality of your voice as well. This is the reason so many people are uncomfortable when they hear themselves on their voicemail. They don’t recognize the sound, they don’t like the sound, and they are probably embarrassed by what they are hearing.]
If you are trying to call someone in another room and you do not increase your level of volume from that which you would normally use at the dinner table, for example, do you honestly think the other person will hear you?
Your inner ear is judging your voice based on sound that vibrates in the solid and liquid of the brain. This is distorted sound which is why you do not recognize your voice on recording equipment. Your outer ear is unfortunately not able to hear your voice the way everyone else hears you because when you speak, the sound goes away from your body. In that sense, when you are talking, you are hearing yourself by means of your inner ear. If you want to know exactly how you sound, go stand in a corner with your mouth about 6 inches away from where the wall meet and say something you know from memory. Because your voice will bounce off the wall and travel back past your outer ear, you will then hear yourself exactly the way everyone else does.
Since your inner ear is unable to give you a true account of how you sound, it is often unable to tell you when you are speaking too softly. A good example of this are individuals who are soft-spoken. When they try to increase their volume, their inner ear will tell them that they are shouting when in fact they are not. They are speaking at a volume level with which their inner ear is uncomfortable.
If you have spent your entire life speaking at a soft volume level, your inner ear will shudder when you increase your volume. This is a given. In order to rectify that problem, you need to learn what is a proper volume level if you expect people to not only hear you but listen to you as well.
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 Volume Control.