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How to Speak So That People Want to Listen

23 Oct

How to Speak So That People Want to Listen

Posted By: 
Kaitlyn Guay

“The human voice: it’s the instrument we all play. It’s the most powerful sound in the world, probably it’s the only one that can start a war or say I love you. And yet many people have the experience that when they speak, people don’t listen to them.” -Julian Treasure

In this TED talk viewed by almost eight million people to date, Julian Treasure talks about how we can speak powerfully so we can make change in the world.

First, we need to become aware of what Treasure calls the Seven Deadly Sins of Speaking:

1) Gossip

2) Judging

3) Negativity

4) Complaining

5) Excuses

6) Exaggeration/Lying

7) Dogmatism (The confusion of fact with opinion)

It’s hard to listen to people who do these things, because as an audience member, we feel unsafe. If one is speaking this way about themselves or others, it seems inevitable that their negativity, gossip, lies, or judgement will invariably fall upon us.

Fortunately, Treasure offers us his Four Cornerstones of Speaking (so that people want to listen) using the acronym HAIL:

Honesty- telling the truth

Authenticity- “standing in your own truth”

Integrity- meaning and doing what you say

Love- speaking kindly and with greater awareness

Treasure also delves into how to use your voice as a tool by using different registers, timbre, pitch, pace, volume, and tone to convey a notion of weight, honesty, trustworthiness.

It seems simple, but the knowing how to manipulate and use the many different nuances of the human voice can be huge in getting other to listen. For example, did you know that we tend to elect and trust politicians with a deeper timbre?

How would you use your voice if you were assured that people would listen?