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During my workshops, where participants have a Haka experience, there is a lot of shouting. Both men and women have trouble with this. They find it too overwhelming or feel it does not suit them to speak loudly or shout.
The other day, “Anja” (not her real name) told me that she was ashamed to let her voice be heard (loudly).
Do you not dare to let your voice be heard at high volume, too? In this article, I’ll tell you why speaking up is important, how to do it, and what to say.
Why it’s important to make yourself heard
If my son doesn’t watch while biking and almost hits a car, I yell, “Watch out!“. It’s a survival instinct.
I can’t imagine that people can’t or won’t use their voices because they are silent people and lack charisma. This is not true: Everyone has Charisma.
“Anja” certainly cried or screamed as a baby and small child when she was hungry. If she didn’t let her voice be heard, then no strong woman stood before me.
Influence a situation
Everyone wants to be heard. Especially about issues and people they hold dear. If you make your voice heard, you influence a situation and can motivate others to your goals or those causes you believe in. Perhaps your voice is most important in connecting with others, letting your creativity be heard, showing your passion, and making your ideas come alive.
How to let your voice be heard
You don’t have to shout. But no one will hear me during a training or workshop if I whisper or speak inwardly or softly. It is important to speak clearly.
Good preparation is essential for me. I have been giving the Haka experience workshop for almost 10 years now. But every time, I still read through my outline. I do research on the target audience so that what I am going to say really resonates with the participants. This also ensures I don’t speak inertly or softly because I don’t know the content well.
We are often afraid to speak (loudly) because then we make ourselves vulnerable. What we say may not come across well at all. We may even make mistakes, and people may judge us for that. Then, it is easier to speak more softly or to remain silent. Fear keeps us from speaking up. A comforting thought can be that most people forget what we said and how after only five minutes.
I am tense or downright nervous prior to every workshop, training, and talk. What I do to elevate my mindset is to take a deep breath and visualize what it looks like when doing my thing. I imagine myself having fun, coming out of my words well, and participants responding enthusiastically.
What helps well, too, for me, is to stand in front of a mirror beforehand and smile at myself while saying, “I like you.” I also learned a good technique from Karin de Galan to tell myself beforehand that we will make it a party.
I often listen to uplifting music to perform at peak level or do a little dance prior to an event.
If I look down and not at my listeners, there is no contact, and it will be harder for participants to hear me. I keep my back straight and imagine a wire attached to my head that lifts me up. I check this regularly during an event.
The volume should be high enough that everyone can hear you. It’s helpful to check that by asking, “Can you all hear me? Even in the back?” but you don’t have to shout. By speaking softer, you invite people to listen to you more closely. You can play with the intonation in your voice. But sometimes, it’s better not to say anything because silence can be much louder than noise. When I drop a silence, I get immediate attention because people often think they missed something or that something will happen. Silence builds tension, but the participants also have time to process what was just said.
I often hear that people are afraid of becoming hoarse by using their voices, talking loudly, or shouting. I learned the term voice hygiene from my voice coach. It’s not about using mouthwash but treating your vocal cords properly. Don’t push your voice. This does not come across as convincing.
You can get good vocal hygiene by “bubbling” beforehand and afterward. Do this with a straw in a half-full bottle of water. You blow for a minute or two, and you will find that your voice has more volume with less effort. It is like you have been on the vibrating plate with your vocal cords. This also causes your vocal cords to relax after an intense exertion.
It is nice and delicious to take a throat candy for hoarseness. But if you must talk, it is not convenient, and, of course, snacking is not healthy. An alternative is to swallow regularly.
Also, don’t talk loudly all the time. Rest your voice by speaking softer occasionally or saying nothing for a while. Then you will also get immediate attention.
What you need to let yourself be heard
Let people hear who you are, what you stand for, and where you are going. Let your WHY be heard. That is your contribution and its effect on the world. I do it all the time, and immediately, I get attention.
Discover your WHY
Everyone has a WHY that is worthy of being heard. A WHY is always positive, actionable, and certainly not something to be ashamed of. You don’t make up a WHY statement. You discover it. I am convinced that your WHY will help you feel more confident to speak up!
Do you want to discover your WHY so you can dare to let your voice be heard? Contact us today for an informal meeting.
How do you make yourself heard? Let me know in the comment box below. I, and other readers of this article, look forward to read from you!
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Source: Richard Newman, You Were Born to Speak