Showing posts with label Education and Training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education and Training. Show all posts

Monday, March 19, 2012

Quiet But Deadly - Soft Voice - "Sotto Voce"

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Yes. This article was originally going to be titled "Silent But Deadly," but then I realized many of my readers would be aghast at my lack of judgment and taste. Puns are entertaining, but on a serious note, utilizing a well-modulated soft, unwavering voice [the proverbial 'whisper in someone's ear'] is one of the most powerful ways to make your words carry serious intensity.

In individual cases (one person to another), it makes the information seem that much more important. In group cases (where you are speaking to a crowd or lecturing or presenting to a group), it forces your audience to be stock still, to strain to hear your every measured syllable, to focus on what you are saying (and tune out all other distractions, almost hypnotically), and to give every one of your words more impact. Your audience will generally lean forward in order to hear you more clearly. This is reflexive behavior.

Sotto voce, Italian for "soft voice" is always interpreted by the Human Subconscious and social conditioning, as foreshadowing a shared and important secret. It is a tool that few military-trained or public speaking-trained learn how to master... or even to use effectively.

If you gently make bodily contact (in an individual-to-individual case, where you gently touch the other person's shoulder or forearm, you will anchor the content of your message more deeply by the added element of associative touch.

The cliche is that "Silence is golden" (and it may well be in an interrogation), but do not forget, to paraphrase an old aphorism, when you speak softly, you automatically carry a big stick.

Douglas E Castle for The Sending Signals Blog.

Please also look at The Taking Command Blog, too. Thanks.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Explain Yourself - Context And Communications

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If you have just been mugged, served with divorce papers, told that you have one month to live, received a letter of termination from your employer, had dental surgery or just had a telephone conversation with your son who has just lost his graduate school fellowship, it is going to affect the way you speak to others in terms of content, speed, focus and tone. Rather than sound like a maniac, a word-salad machine, a drill sergeant, a disgusted ingrate or an incoherent babbler, explain what happened (i.e., offer your audience context) to you prior to your presentation or conversation so that they will be lenient and compassionate in their receipt of your words.

This introduction of an explanation of context can make a bit of Humanization and empathy work in your favor, and soften an audience to be more receptive to your less impressive (but occasionally more impassioned) speech.

If you walk into the staff lounge of your workplace, which is populated with friends and colleagues (all seemingly happy) right after you've learned that your spouse has been cheating on you with your trusted landscaper (usually named Franco or Fabio), and you blurt out, "What the f**k is wrong with you idiots! Why don't you get back to work?",they will be totally taken aback.

Without at least an explanation of your recent epiphany (and you thought that Franco/ Fabio was being literal when he said, "I love tending to your wife's beautiful topiary garden," and "I have to do some serious aeration."), your colleagues are left to imagine either 1) what they might have done to offend you, and 2) what might be going on in your life that might be making you into a threat to them. Neither sends a good signal.

Rather than having someone scream at me (as if I had done something to warrant his or her anger or resentment), I would automatically feel better, and be more receptive, if he or she were to explain, as a contextual forward, that he or she had just been stopped by a police car and had been subjected to a breathalizer test, a Miller Analogies test, a curbside urine analysis and a full body cavity search. In this way, I would understand that the stressors underlying his or her mannner of speaking were not in response to some shortcoming on my part.

Volunatrily prefacing your words with the context of what is affecting you can give you a great deal more latitude in your communications, and pre-emptively de-fuse your audience from having a strongly adverse reaction (either shutting you out or arguing back at you) to your communications.

Douglas E Castle

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Pace Your Speech! --> S-L-O-W D-O-W-N...

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The average individual speaks fairly rapidly to his or her colleagues, friends and family members. Some of us are habitually prone to speaking quite rapidly, and our audience might often miss a significant portion of the message which we are attempting to communicate -- they will either ask us 1) to slow down; or 2) to repeat what we've said (but at an audible frequency); in the worst case, they may either disregard our rushed communication (as it entails too much effort to follow it), or they may politely listen without telling us that they didn't capture some content.

To make matters worse, when we are very excited, angry or fearful, we naturally tend to accelerate the number of words we spout out per minute, and our voices tend to hit the higher side of our range of pitch (imagine an Irish tenor singing "O' Danny Boy," or a college fraternity party where, after inhaling helium from balloons, the members of the crew take turns speaking like munchkins, tittering and giggling the whole time), which tends to make us sound 1) less in control, and 2) less important.

When you are going to be speaking to an individual, a small group or the entire Press Corps, be certain to counterbalance that natural propensity to speak faster and higher by:
  • Pausing for breath, and minding posture prior to speaking - ramrod straight and in command;
  • Making eye contact with each person in the group by sweeping over them with your gaze - tacitly getting their attention and respect;
  • Taking great care to carefully and clearly enunciate each word, and speak clearly;
  • Consciously keeping the pitch of your voice as deep and resonant as possible;
  • Be fairly loud, but do not get frustrated and shout.
In a crisis, or under emotional pressure, you must send your signals slowly, clearly, resonantly and with the proper "gravity."

We are best in control of our audience, when it seems that we are totally in control of ourselves and the situation which confronts us.

Douglas E Castle


Monday, August 15, 2011

Speak With Impact! 5 Keys.

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Ferdinand de Saussure founded linguistics, sem...Image via Wikipedia

If you speak with impact, you will be admired, respected and remembered. There are several key elements to high-impact speaking. Study them all. Use them all. Master them all. These tips are precious. These techniques are to be cultivated. These little feelas are applicable whether you are speaking via telephone, webcam, or in person -- whether presenting yourself and your thoughts to a crowd or to a select group in a boardroom or a boxcar.

People judge you (very rapidly) by your appearance, your carriage (your posture, your poise, your air of self-confidence, your "charismatic presence"), and by the way in which you speak.

1) Look these BIG THREE techniques up, and then incorporate every one of them in your speaking: rhythm, rhyme and cadence;

2) Speak clearly. Enunciate for clarity, and especially for emphasis;

3) Stay on point. Your first sentence should directly address the topic to be spoken about, and you must emphasize precisely why it is crucially important for everyone to be paying close attention. Your words are important. They convey knowledge. They are weapons of persuasion. You are exerting a force when you speak. You have the power to start or quell a riot. You do;

4) Be as brief as possible, but be certain to express your complete thought. Don't "wing it." Plan what you are going to say. Don't hesitate and temporize with stutterances {*a Lingovation} "" or clearing your throat. It is far better to pause momentarily (and make it appear deliberate and dramatic) than to destroy your effectiveness by making non-speech noises;

5) Speak in Staccato. Bulletize or outline each point directly for emphasis. Don't speak in meandering prose, or rambling. Make points -- as if each were an immutable Law of Physics. You can even number them if you'd like. Each point should be delivered like a punch. Each must be a nugget of brilliance. Your audience should perceive you as their commanding officer -- they should feel like students, hanging on your every word as if not doing so would cause them to fail a test.

When you have finished delivering your words, instead of summarizing, use that last bit of time to grab an acknowledgement from your listeners by asking an anchoring and positioning question. You may use cues such as: "Have I made myself clear?" "Is there anyone who is even slightly confused?" Say "Thank you." Then either leave rapidly (as if you had some important business to attend to), or sit down slowly and majestically, as if you had just delivered the Gettysburg Address -- whichever is appropriate in the circumstances.

Do it. And thank you.

Douglas E Castle
Chairman, TNNWC Management Consulting Services

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