Would you like to negotiate better business deals? Or, would you like to set boundaries with tough people who bully you at work?
Your voice represents a lot of things. For example, it’s your tool for opening career doors, defending yourself in certain situations, and maintaining a large part of your identity.
Most people who know you can easily recognize you by your voice. And, they’ve learned to react to your voice by how you’ve presented yourself in the past.
Here are some basic tips for how to talk so others will listen:
— Keep calm. Why? People respect a calm person. Others will believe you mean what you say, if you deliver your message in a steady, impactful way.
— Deliver positive messages. If you’re always negative, your friends and associates will learn to turn a deaf ear. Keep in mind that it’s almost impossible to “sell” an idea that isn’t presented in a positive light.
— Don’t act like a know-it-all. No one will pay attention to your ideas, if you totally discredit theirs. Use some humble language, even when you’re delivering good news. For example, say, “I could be wrong, but I think our department is going to win an award this quarter.”
— Try to deliver win/win strategies. For instance, tell your kids, “If you get your rooms clean and help me put away the groceries, we’ll make some time to watch a movie this afternoon.” Help others see the reward of cooperating with you.
Learning to guard your language, so that it defines you in a positive light, is productive. We all like leaders, for example, who say: “We can figure these problems out.”
“I used to beat myself up and proclaim what a fix I was in,” says a sales manager we’ll call Kevin. “One day, my wife videoed my complaints. I was shocked. My first thought was this: I wouldn’t want to work for that guy!”
Kevin says he started writing down positive affirmations every night. He goes over these positive statements every morning for ten minutes.
“I’ve literally learned to ‘speak’ the kind of day I want to have. It’s made a difference. At work, my associates like to hear my pep talks every morning. They tell me they draw energy from my powerful attitude about getting things done.”
If we look back in history at some of our powerful communicators, we can see they literally changed the course of history. Imagine Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy speaking in limp, negative ways. That kind of language might have destroyed their accomplishments.
“I’m trying to speak more confidence into my marriage,” says a man we’ll call Brian.
“I’ve noticed my wife and I get along better these days. I tell her we’ll get our problems ironed out and we’ll have a date night every weekend. We do have a lot going on with illnesses in both our families. However, I keep speaking in a positive way to bolster my wife’s spirit. The minute your language is more powerful and positive, the better you’re going to feel.”
Words provide the “fuel” for the journey you are making in this world. Start tracking how you present your ideas and notice how closely your experiences follow your predictions.
“When I get discouraged,” says a friend of ours we’ll call Karen, “I start encouraging myself by saying things will get better. It’s amazing how this seems to work.”
(Article written by Judi Light Hopson, Emma H. Hopson and Ted Hagen)