When you look at your strengths and weaknesses, have you ever considered that your soft-spoken voice is not a strength but indeed a weakness? If others cannot hear you, your message is not being received.
Volume is a very tricky dynamic. A voice that is too loud is offensive, overbearing and uncomfortable for your listeners’ ears. One that is too soft, on the other hand, screams timidity, lack of confidence, and insecurity.
- For the majority of those who use an incorrect amount of volume, being too loud is not the problem – being too soft is.
This problem is not an easy one to solve without dedication and a desire to make the change. When I work with others in voice training, they find that discovering their ‘real’ voice is surprisingly simple, basic and fundamental. And, their inner ear is most accommodating – it enjoys the richer, warmer, deeper sound. When I work with those who speak too softly, however, their inner ear revolts.
Your inner ear is best described as how you hear yourself when you speak. Your outer ear, which is how you recognize other people’s voices, is unable to hear your own voice as others do. This is why you are shocked, disgusted or even embarrassed when you hear your voice on an answering machine or some other form of recording equipment: you do not recognize that sound.
Because your inner ear is most comfortable with your soft-spoken level, when you try to increase your volume, your inner ear will tell you that you are shouting. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, the only way you will convince your inner ear to accept an increase in volume is to record both your voice and that of someone else who is speaking at a normal volume level. Play it back at a comfortable listening level and compare the two voices. Who sounds normal and who does not?
Today, the pressure to make the best impression possible to your boss, your prospective clients and even to your colleagues is on-going. If you are not being heard, however, what impression are you sending? While you may not be shy, timid or lacking in confidence, your voice may be saying that you are. That is not the image you want to project if you are determined to be successful in your career.
There are only so many times others will ask you to repeat yourself before they will take over the conversation. When that happens, your words of wisdom are meaningless. If you expect others to understand and appreciate your message, they must be first be able to hear you say it!