3 Tips for Being heard by Bolshy westerners (and it works for pretty well everyone else too)

Why is it so difficult to make yourself heard?Why is it so difficult to make yourself heard?

When you're in IT, the chances are pretty high that you are quieter than your non-IT colleagues. You are probably more introverted than they are and you might even be regarded as being a little bit quiet.

Nothing wrong with being quiet. It has worked for you pretty well. But there comes a time when you need to be sure that your voice is heard

There are three things that you can do to make yourself heard


  1. Turn up the volume
  2. Slow Down
  3. Borrow my Confidence

Have you ever noticed how a Brit makes themselves understood in a foreign country? That's right, they speak louder and enunciate more clearly. I said that they EEE NUN SEA ATE MORE CLEAR LEE.

Do you recall the last time that you were in a busy restaurant and there was one person whose voice could be heard across the room?

One of those loud, penetrating voices that cut through all the chatter

You couldn’t help but listen in and then you simply could not tune them out. You tried to focus on the person you were dining with, but that voice just took over.

Most people speak quietly. Softly. Almost inaudible. Even more so when they are feeling a little intimidated. Say, in a meeting with those more domineering Western style managers, all of whom seem to be vying for the attention seeking prize. It's as if they all have neon signs flashing “look at me! Pat attention to me!” over their heads.

Then you get up to present your project update and suddenly everyone finds their phone so much more interesting.

When they get up to speak they're brimming with confidence, and speak, up. You get up and speak normally, after all, there's no need to SHOUT is there?

So tip number 1 is turn up the volume.

Volume in speaking comes entirely from the air in your lungs

More air means more volume. So you want to take deep great big lungfuls of the stuff. In through the nose and out through the mouth as you speak. Big deep breaths.

Now, you will notice that as you need to breathe in more deeply, that there is a pause in your speaking. It is impossible to speak as you breathe in. (Ok, some people can do circular breathing but you’re not one of them.)

As you breathe in you are pausing, not speaking

I want you to slow that down just a little more. Pause just slightly longer than you feel is comfortable. Now a little bit longer.

And now, as you speak, I'd like you to slow down some more. This is going to feel awkward for you. You think that it is too long and too slow. Not so. Very very few people pause too long and speak too slowly.

Those that you know who do, don’t their words just drip with wisdom?

Yes, they do. It's considered thought. The chosen words are powerful and most importantly, you heard every single one of them.

So as you breathe in through your nose, breathe it deep into your belly and then let plenty of air cross your vocal chords as you speak from your diaphragm (right from that spot just under your ribs in the middle of your torso.

Think of speaking from that spot and sending your words to the back of the room and beyond.

Tip 2, I've already mentioned and that's to slow down.

So as you speak with more volume from your diaphragm, halve the number of words per minute. You'll be aching to speed up. Desperately thinking that this is way too slow. It's not. It's just right.

But I'm not used to this. I have a quiet voice. Always have. Nonsense! You yelled as loud as any baby demanding attention from your mum.

But when I get excited, I speed up and run out of breath

So do we all, if we don’t pay attention to our breathing and pace. Catch yourself and simply repeat what you said at half speed. Don’t worry, they probably didn’t hear what you said the first time anyway, so you won't be repeating something they already heard.

Slow down some more.

Now stand with your head held high, your feet firmly planted on the floor

Your hands dropped straight down by the sides, breathe deep into your belly and out through your mouth. Speak deeply from your diaphragm sending your words to the back of the room and slow down some more.

I know that you can do this. In fact, I'm so confident that you can be heard and will be heard that I'm going to lend you my confidence.

When you are ready to take your meetings and presentations to the next level, ask me about PIMPing your Meeting.

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