Sound expert Julian Treasure has revealed 7 reasons why people do not listen to us when we speak. Besides, he explains how to change the situation.
We find it wise to follow his advice and develop the ability to draw interlocutors’ attention, no matter who they are and what you are talking about.
Julian calls the habits you should get rid of in conversation the seven deadly sins of communication. To some extent, they are inherent to each of us.
Gossiping about someone who is not present at the moment is a bad habit. Both you and your partner know that in about five minutes the gossiper may talk about you.
If you are prone to critical judgment and often express negative thoughts, your partner will feel a tension in a conversation with you. It is difficult to calmly talk to people who may criticize anyone, you in particular.
Negative thoughts are contagious. It’s hard to talk to someone who speaks badly about everything. Julian mentions a dialogue with his mother, who has become very negative in recent years. He remembered once saying it was October 1, to which she reacted: “I know, isn’t it awful?”
You do not want to speak with someone, who is guided by deep-rooted truths and cannot be persuaded. Such a person is not able to perceive new information in a conversation and mixes up facts and opinions, which is very tiring for the interlocutor to deal with.
Nagging is a virus that can spread across the whole country. People are unhappy with policies, weather, prices, roads, transportation, kindergarten and school rules, the quality of products, sports achievements of the national team, the number of hours in a day… It’s time to stop.
Finding an excuse means putting the blame on someone else. Do not blame people around just to avoid taking the responsibility for your actions. The problem cannot be solved when another person is responsible for its existence. We can achieve results only by handling the situation and changing our behavior.
Exaggeration impoverishes our speech. When everything becomes “super” and “mega”, it looks like a lie, and the one who lies can no longer be trusted. As a rule, all super and mega cool things prove to be either not bad or completely ridiculous.
Julian names the 4 basic principles that make our speech convincing and define what we are talking about.
Do not play someone else’s role. Lies will be revealed sooner or later. Authenticity is “the embodiment of your own truth.” Be yourself. Respect the source, but do not conceal your own opinion.
Be truthful, straightforward and understandable. Share your emotions and talk about what you feel. This is the only way to build an effective communication.
Treat people with benevolence. Love balances honesty (it would be honest to say “Oh my God, you are looking disgusting today”, which is too offensive, so instead you can inquire about the state of health).
Honesty does not mean saying the whole truth in the eyes. Being honest means to keep your word and to do what has been promised. It is important to be the one who can be trusted.
We prefer people with deep voices and dislike falsetto because the depth of one’s voice is associated with power and authority. It is proved that politicians with a deep voice are often voted for at elections. The voice can be changed within the register – when it has more nasal features, the voice is high; when the sound is moved deeper in the larynx (most of us speak like this), it becomes lower. If we want to make our words weightier, we need to lower the sound in the chest.
Pitch is the way our voice is felt. Research has shown that we prefer deep, rich, and warm voices, like hot chocolate (on average, men with a deep voice have more children because they are admired by more women). Even if your voice is not low, it can be trained.
It is a combination of stress, tone, and intonation, which allows you to emphasize the important places in the speech and avoid monotony. Those who speak on the same note are difficult to perceive. Julian recommends attending classes with a speech specialist to speak more expressively.
High tempo of your speech does not give the audience any insight into what you’re talking about. On the contrary, if it is too slow, it can lull or annoy them. Those who want to speak effectively should learn to change the tempo of speech depending on the situation: when they want to emphasize something, they need to temporarily slow down and pronounce important ideas clearly and slowly.
Some people talk incessantly, imposing their speech on the surrounding people. Alternatively, you can draw attention to what you want to say by lowering the voice loudness almost to a whisper.
Pauses are an indicator of speaking skills. Pauses draw attention to what you will say next. There is nothing wrong in being silent for a while. Do not try to fill the silence with parasite words like “uh-uh” and “hmm”. Silence can be very powerful.