I once met a man who told me that his soft-spoken voice made others become quiet and pay attention to him. It took everything in my power not to laugh in his face. In today’s loud, fast-paced, hectic world, being soft-spoken is definitely not a strength, especially in America. To be constantly asked to repeat yourself is one of the reasons others take over the conversation.
Imagine watching a movie and the volume is not quite loud enough to be able to understand the actors’ words. That is exactly what is happening when you speak and others cannot hear you. To solve the problem with the movie, you simply turn up the volume. Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple with the speaking voice because your inner ear has spent a lifetime being most comfortable with your softer volume level.
Your inner ear is the way you perceive your voice – its timbre, volume, and other qualities. Unfortunately, your inner ear is a poor judge of how you actually sound to everyone else. When you speak, the voice you hear in your head is sound vibrating in the solid and liquid of the brain – distorted sound.
What you hear on your answering machine, voicemail, or other form of recording equipment, however, is sound traveling through the air. And, you do not recognize that voice because it is foreign to you. It is not how your inner ear perceives your voice.
The answer is to train yourself to accept a larger volume of sound. Admittedly, your inner ear will revolt in the beginning because you will think that you are shouting or that you are speaking too loudly. This is why recording yourself is the 1st step in re-training your inner ear to appreciate that increase.
I suggest you record a TV broadcaster’s voice and then record yourself directly following the professional. When you make the recording, be sure that the volume for the broadcaster is at a comfortable listening level. Then when you record yourself, place the microphone the same distance from yourself as it was from your speakers.
Play it back and adjust the volume output according to the professional’s voice. Then listen to your volume. Were you softer than the other voice? If so, can you appreciate the need to speak in a ‘normal’ volume level if you expect to be heard? Notice that I said normal, not loud.
I do not want anyone speaking loudly. Loud hurts your listeners’ ears. Your goal is not to speak loudly but to speak with a normal amount of volume. If you expect your message to be heard, it will not happen until you are ready to accept that increase.
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.
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