How to be heard and achieve your goals, part II

how to be heardIn the first part of “How to be Heard’ we argued that being heard follows from showing who you are with confidence.

In this second part we’ll give you some practical tips and tools on how to use your surroundings and your voice as aids in getting heard when you want to be heard.

1. Use your voice the way it should be used

Actually, training your voice to sound the way it sounds naturally, and carries sufficient volume to be heard, is not a bad way to start gaining confidence in using your voice in a way that makes it heard.

A good start is learning to use breathing in the proper way. Your voice is sound, and breathing out creates the sound. As Allison Shapira, a former opera singer turned public speaking coach says: breathing is the key to persuasive public speaking.

To speak and be heard requires some power in the airstream. Most male voices are louder, but don’t let it mislead you that the female voice or the voice of the soft-spoken male should match this volume. It is crucial to stay within your limits and being able to breathe normally. Stay within your comfort zone. That is the prime requirement to being heard.

To breathe out you have to breathe in. Being relaxed is critical to the breathing process, and to speaking naturally and persuasively. You can imagine that you are more relaxed when what you say matches your identity.

Next to training your speaking voice, there are some other things you could do to insure you are being heard.

2. There’s power in numbers

When you are consistently not being heard, or when you often hear your point being made by someone else without attribution to you, it’s time to look for support from other people in the room who are in the same situation.

A nice example of this is the way women in the Obama White House started working together to get their voices heard and their points taken seriously. Whenever women noticed that a point one of their female colleagues had made was not heard or taken up, they would repeat it, with an attribution to its source. It worked!

3. There’s power in repetition

There’s power in numbers, but also in repetition. If there are no other people present who can or want to support you, support yourself. Repeat your point when it has not been heard. Do not be afraid to interrupt when everybody else is doing just that. Just don’t do it in a way that makes people comment on your ‘pushiness’. Just persist in making your point. Be calm and collected, and make your point succinctly. Watch your voice. Don’t let it rise or become strident. Use your natural voice, just as you trained it. Persist and you will exist.

Most importantly: be yourself

Be your self; that is the only effective course to get heard and eventually, listened to. Click To Tweet

Be your self; that is the only effective course to get heard and eventually, listened to. By paying attention to who you are and grow and show your confidence, your voice will sound the way it is supposed to. When your voice matches your identity and personality, you take away one of the main causes of not being heard. This will result in being given recognition for what you might add and actually have already added to the process at hand.

Bonus: Warming up for the performance

Warming up physically

As with all physical activity, when you have to perform, the warming up and your focus determine the outcome. This one is about the warming up, the next one is about the focus.

  • Warm up by breathing slowly in and out. Make sure you breathe in low to your belly, which has to expand out. Exhale completely, starting in your belly and moving upwards. The best way to do this is to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • If possible, also do the following routines with your voice. Make humming sounds, sing the vowels a,e,i,o,u. Repeat the exercise with m and n as in mmmmmm and nnnnnnn.
  • Make hissing sounds like a happy snake.
  • Sing the word: yummy up and down the scales.
  • Sing the word: NOW and raise and lower the volume.
  • Make a long-drawn out siren sound: oooeee and repeat this up and down the scales.
  • Cool down by 12 deep breaths.

Warming up by preparation

Besides the physical preparation, it is also wise to be prepared mentally and in subject matter. Focus is important in achieving any goal.

Mental preparation consists of: checking your confidence level, and adjusting your focus to insure you are being heard.

Preparation in subject matter involves jotting down the points you want to make. Perhaps it is also possible to prepare concerns and questions with a colleague beforehand.

Also make sure that you know who is attending, and prepare yourself to deal with the different styles of communication.

Some questions to make you think about your voice

  • In what situations do think you use your voice naturally?
  • What is distinctive in your own voice as regards to personality, identity, profession, origin, and status?
  • How do you sound when you are calm? What do you do with your body, mind, breathing, and throat?

Awareness of how you use your voice is crucial in being heard. At first you will feel self-conscious. Soon it will be natural to use your voice as one of the instruments you have to achieve your goals with people.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

How we can help you being heard and achieve your goals:

You need two things to be heard. People need to be able to literally hear you when you say something. That is what this blog is about. The second thing you need is more important. In fact, we think it is key to achieving your goals. You need to be able to make your point in a way that reflects who you are. To earn confidence from people, you need to have self-confidence first. That is the point we made in the first blog, and it is what we offer to achieve with you in coaching. Why not try if it works for you, too?

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