For many people who speak in a normal volume of sound, straining to hear someone who speaks too softly is very frustrating. If you are soft-spoken and refuse to increase your volume to be heard comfortably (notice I didn’t say to speak loudly), then your message is not being heard. What message are you sending if no one hears your words?
There are only so many times others will ask you to repeat yourself before taking over the conversation or directing the conversation to someone else. And, what that does for your self-confidence is certainly not positive.
The last thing I want for anyone is to speak too loudly; however, that is not justification for speaking too softly. Yes, the loud voice can hurt your listeners’ ears. The soft voice, on the other hand, doesn’t reach your listeners’ ears. The answer is to learn to speak with the right amount of volume given the room size and background noise.
Everyone is born with the ability to speak within a normal volume of sound. Because of cultural background or even being raised within a ‘quiet’ household, you may have spent your entire life speaking with less than a normal amount of volume and your inner ear is very, very comfortable with that level. Unfortunately, none of your listeners are comfortable with that level because they cannot hear you. If this happens often enough, then they will stop listening.
Perhaps you don’t want to sound offensive, believing that by increasing your volume, you will be too loud. For the thousands of people with whom I have worked, I have yet to ever find a client who spoke with too much volume after we retrained his or her inner ear. It takes perseverance but it is definitely worth the effort because in today’s hectic and fast-paced world, people in business do not have the time to continually ask you to repeat yourself.
If others would describe you as being soft-spoken, it is also quite possible that they are judging you incorrectly. Some of the adjectives that are applied to those who speak too softly include weak, shy, diffident, unprepared, or incapable. Do any of those words describe you? If not, then you are possibly being judged unfairly. (That would be incentive enough for me to want to make the change.)
Learn to speak with a normal volume of sound and I guarantee your confidence and your abilities will be recognized the first time you say it.
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 on voice improvement. If you would like to see Kurt’s ‘before & after’ video clip, visit Voice Training.