man not listening
September 18, 2010

You Talk – But Who Listens?

People seem to be burbling about the conversation that is social media, everywhere I go. And many of us blogging will know the exhilaration of ‘ I talk!’ followed by the let-down of ‘ But is anyone listening now?’

Today though, and to fit with a live event, I thought it would be useful to talk about our actual voices. This was inspired by an audio debate on the web between Matt Mullenweg and Chris Pearson , both leaders in the WordPress community. Their voices are quite different – and I think lead to different judgements about them as people. Estimates are that in live interaction, generally, 38% of the impression we make on others comes via our voices.

So I thought we should start with how to sound relaxed , but authoritative – like we know what we are talking about and should be listened to, but are not uptight about this.

Ins and Outs

Our breath is the basic power of our voices. If we let this drop low into the bottom part of our lungs, so our stomach muscles relax out as we breath in, we get most power for least effort. When we talk , our pauses give us time to let this breath drop down. Where we snatch breath in quickly – and often so we can hear it, like a slight gasp – we don’t give ourselves a chance to let our breath get low and ample.

Plus while our listeners may not be thinking ‘Wow, they sound gaspy and desperate!’
they won’t be hearing ‘cool and controlled’.

So if you’re getting delivering a vlog, or talking in an interview, business pitch or presentation , just take a moment to rest your hand on your stomach, and check your breath is dropping in there.

You may find yourself pausing slightly longer than usual, but you will produce more breath to keep talking at pace and with energy, once the words come tumbling out.

And best of all these pauses have an effect on listeners. In that role, they make us feel we could chip in if we want to, as the tone is conversational. When you pause before answering a question, it often sends out signals of ‘ Right…interesting question and I need to think about this before I answer’.

Effect on us as listeners? Not surprisingly: we like it.

Much more on how we talk coming soon…

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Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Some great tips! I must use those breathing techniques 🙂

    Reply
  2. Thank you Joel and may your inspiration be bountiful…

    Reply

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