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When You Speak, Do People Listen: Acquiring Audible Authority In A Noise Poluted Society



Who do you listen to?  I don’t mean who do you hear noise from, as we often can’t help but take in audible chatter, but I want you to think about who you actually hear. 

Are there people in your life, whether it be family, friends or even those in the media, that when they open their mouth, you make sure that your ears are pealed and your mind is focused on their delivery? 

What is it about these individuals that command your attention?  How is it that amongst the white noise of our over zealous society,  you are drawn to their words?

What is value?

Let’s start with a simple definition.

Value = Relative worth, merit or importance.

So the value of a dollar is relative to what you can GET with it.  The value of a college education is relative to what you can DO with it. 

Where does this leave an individual’s words?  Do we even put a value on a particular person’s thoughts?  The fact is, we do it every day without even knowing it.

Every time we ignore someone we reduce the value of their ideas and every time we listen, we increase it.  It’s human nature to gravitate our attention toward those we feel are worth the most to us. 

Having someones attention is equivalent to a dollar bill receiving one dollar’s worth of goods in trade for itself.  Remove the receiving end of a thought and you might as well be playing with Monopoly money.

The value of a Tweet.

Twitter is an amazing barometer for value.  In a numbers driven society we are taught that more is always better, but Twitter helps clearly debunk this idea and shows us what really matters.

When someone tweets one of my posts, I may receive a bit of traffic as a result. 

Depending on the tweeter, this traffic may barely hit my radar or it might open the flood gates of traffic and re-tweets (I apologize if you don’t know about Twitter, but all I can say is, “Remove head from sand…now open your eyes and enjoy the 21st century! )

You might initially think, “Sure, the tweeter that gave you all the traffic had a bunch of followers.”  This is not necessarily the case. 

I see time and time again, tweeters who may only have a few thousand followers, yet command attention ten times more effectively than one with 50,000. 

For some reason, this person has become so valuable to their followers that when they speak, EVERYBODY listens.  Heck, people go out of their way to make sure they didn’t miss anything. 

So when I see this occur, I can’ t help but ask myself, “How did this person build their worth to a place of such high value?

It’s NOT by accident!

It’s easy to look at these attention commanders and think that it’s only their celebrity status that commands such a following. 

It’s convenient for us to blow it off this way so we can get away from the idea that we somehow have control over our own value. 

But their fame is only the RESULT of their actions.  Something they did established this credibility and now they reap the rewards that comes with this power.

Commanding attention opens almost EVERY door.

Whether we’re talking about our job, our family or even our social life, being able to be noticed and absorbed is crucial to our success and well being.

At work it may be that we’re shooting for a particular promotion. 

If we have gained the respect of our boss and therefore their attention, we have a much greater possibility of getting that prize. 

But if we just blend in, it may a lost cause.  As individuals we want to be heard and understood. 

If we can’t extend our thoughts to the rest of society in such a way that attention is gained and sustained we start to feel mentally and emotionally isolated.

When I was a kid, my brother who is 6 years older and I, and my mom, would chat away in the car as we drove around town. 

I always sat in the back, waiting for my opportunity to jump into the conversation. 

Being much younger and less mature, I had a hard time getting much sustained attention and this led me to begin the bad habit of interrupting and talking SUPER fast. 

I felt that if I didn’t shoot right through my thoughts, I may lose my audience.  The problem was that this tactic left me chasing after attention, instead of commanding it naturally.

Over the years I have learned to speak with more clarity and not rush through my thoughts. 

I’ve had to re-train myself to assume people are listening, not that they are waiting to flee from my sound waves. 

What I’ve realized, though, is that it’s not as simple as making that assumption.  I’ve had to learn some key communication tactics to attain the attention I desired. 

It has been through these tidbits of talk tactics that I’ve found my voice and successfully begun to connect with the world around me.

10 Tips To Enhance Your Voice While Maintaining A Respectful Tone

Speak less often: Just like selling a product, if we flood the market, the value of our goods goes down.  Say too much, even if your words are golden, and you will overwhelm your audience and lose their attention.

Carefully choose your words: Lay down a few too many worthless words and you will drive down their value.  By carefully picking the ideas you present to others, you are maximizing the attention they give you.

Carefully choose your audience: Often times it’s not the words we share, but the people we are spewing them to that makes or breaks the power of our presentation.  After you’ve picked your content, make sure you’re audience is ripe for its message.

Don’t be shy | Confidence is KING: I’m a total introvert so it can be a bit scary to speak to certain types of people.  But the fact is, the posture we present when conveying our message will play a big role in how and if it’s absorbed.

Speak softly: If you are speaking the right words, to the right audience, with the right posture, you should never have to speak loudly.  Those around you will naturally focus on your words and do whatever necessary to take it all in.  In fact, just like a loud, obnoxious TV commercial, too much volume will inevitably reduce the desire to listen.

Listen to others: We ALL want to be heard.  It is a natural and healthy desire.  If you are never listening to those around you, you will find it much harder to be heard.  I know for myself, it is more appealing to give attention to someone who gives me the time of day.  (Also, we can learn a lot from those around us.  Get too caught up in your own message and you will lose out on the wealth of wisdom that exits the minds of others.)

Help others communicate THEIR message: One of the most powerful presentations comes in the form of sharing the ideas of another.  You not only gain their respect, but you take an already formed idea and add your own perspective to enhance its value.

Speak from experience: Clarity is key when it comes to effective communication.  Try and audiblize an experience that has not yet been acquired and you will lose the sharp edge of your message.  By speaking from experience we are able to add the exact sights, sounds, smells and feel of the context in question.  This enhances your clarity while defining your expertise.

NEVER embellish: It is quite natural to want to turn up the heat on your words to attract the most attention possible.  The problem with this tactic is that you are improperly establishing the expectations of your audience.  You may initially receive more listeners, but they will quickly become disappointed as they are made aware of your enhancements.

Be patient!: Building respect can be a long, uphill battle, but it is ALWAYS worth the trip.  Losing it, on the other hand, can be accomplished in an instant.  Never go with the desire to rush into your words.  You can easily add to a previous statement, but what has already been spoken can never be unsaid.

Final Thoughts

The more I share my voice online, the more evident it becomes that these principles are not only important, but crucial to acquiring an effective tone. 

I’m finding that gaining respect and building the value of my message is a requirement, not only in the blogging community, but in every day life. 

We are so often drawn to the powerful voices around us that we can easily neglect to seek that same resonance with our own. 

Carefully walk your words into the outside world and you will inevitably increase the value of your message and the authority that goes along with it.

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