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I want to be able speak with more authority and for people to want to listen to me

(17 Posts)
caughtoutforsure Sat 01-Mar-14 06:10:02

Posted under Relationships as this isn't just about elocution.

I find that people (work, socially etc) don't always take notice of me, or seem to want to listen to me, because I don't speak with authority. My voice is naturally a little quiet and I think not always clear as sometimes people mishear what I say, and I think its also slightly high pitched.

I'm not particularly shy or lacking in confidence but I'd like what I say to come across with more authority - not in a 'do as I say' way, just that what I say is interesting and worth being heard.

Any tips from those who know?

colditz Sat 01-Mar-14 06:19:47

Channel your primary school head teacher.

Chottie Sat 01-Mar-14 06:34:24

Pause before speaking, make sure you have everyone's attentions, speak clearly. Do not gabble and ensure you get across the points you wish to.

Hessy Sat 01-Mar-14 06:39:18

There is a really wonderful, and very readable book, by Patsy Rodenburg called Presence. Rodenburg trains actors at the RSC etc, but I've used exercises from the book with teachers who struggle with behaviour management. It's all about having presence and authority so people listen. Good luck.

Logg1e Sat 01-Mar-14 06:45:29

I don't think you mean "authority". I think you mean "presence".

PastPerfect Sat 01-Mar-14 06:58:24

Don't waffle or repeat someone else's point. I'm amazed in meetings how often this happens and how readily it appears to be tolerated.

Using 40 words when 10 would suffice, or making the same point as your colleague who has just waxed on the same issue discourages people from engaging

Primadonnagirl Sat 01-Mar-14 07:07:38

Me too! Look up Toastmasters to see if there is a club near you..I go for the first time in a couple of weeks...gulp!

TheGreatHunt Sat 01-Mar-14 07:12:01

There's no harm in repeating someone else's point if you're checking your understanding. You can do it to demonstrate you've listened. Obviously if you haven't and are just waffling on then that's ridiculous.

Can you describe some specific situations?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 01-Mar-14 07:30:19

I'd suggest you'd check out locally if there are any night-school courses in drama. If part of your problem is a too-soft voice, you could benefit from learning how to project without shouting.... a skill all actors use. Not elocution especially but voice training.

Mags11 Sat 01-Mar-14 09:15:27

I go to Toastmasters and its one of the best things Ive done. Its a very supportive environment in which to practice speaking in different ways, with constructive feedback. Really good fun too. And its very empowering to feel more assertive - I particularly noticed this at work. Good lucksmile

Dilidali Sat 01-Mar-14 09:35:27

mags, are the membership fees affordable? I don't seem to be able to find this info on their website smile thank you.

PottedPlant Sat 01-Mar-14 10:34:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

caughtoutforsure Sat 01-Mar-14 11:20:54

Log and Hessie - yes, you're right, its presence I'm after, not authority. Will get the book you suggest Hes

TheGreat regarding specifics situations - if there's a discussion going on within a group I might contribute something I think is interesting or helpful and it seems to get ignored. Someone else jumps in with their comment and mine's forgotten which discourages me from contributing.

Also sometimes people speak over me or I can't find a way into a conversation because I think its rude to talk over people, but that seems the only way in sometimes. And at other times I simply can't think of anything interesting to say if perhaps I bump into ta neighbour at the shops, so can't keep a conversation going. Maybe I'm just really boring confused

BeforeAndAfter Sat 01-Mar-14 12:44:38


I have/had the opposite problem to you - I was always accused of being aggressive and discounting other people's opinions. It cut me to the quick as I always felt this was a very unfair accusation and I could never get to the bottom of the problem until ...

Many many years ago I attended a work-related residential personal effectiveness course. One part of the course comprised the attendees being videoed in a business discussion. At the end of the role play we had to describe how we felt others had reacted to us and, once again, the feedback for me was that I didn't give anyone the chance to speak and talked over people which I fervently denied. When the video was played we all laughed when we saw me giving everyone visual cues - I would raise my eyebrows and look at people to give them a chance to speak and I would offer up my hands to show them it was their chance to speak but I never uttered a word. They didn't take my cues to speak so I took that to mean they had no opinion to offer. In reality they just didn't see my cues. Now I verbalise all that (sorry if I sound a bit management-speaky).

Once I realised that different people give and receive messages differently I adapted my style to them and my problem was pretty much solved.

Different theories work for different people but maybe if you're softly spoken and your body language is very still people aren't picking up the signals that you have something to say?

I've picked a weblink to the theory so that you can read through. The essence is that we have communication preferences which impact how we receive messages as well as state them. The preferences are visual, auditory and kinisthetic. I'm a strong visual/kinisthetic combo so when I met an auditory person I tended not to pick up their points and I scared them off with all my hand waving!

Perhaps you could look at your body language and facial expressions too to see that they back up your desire to get a message across?

Good luck and I hope you find this useful.

caughtoutforsure Sat 01-Mar-14 15:00:11

Thanks Before - will take a look at that link smile

Mags11 Sun 02-Mar-14 09:46:26

Dilidali To join Toastmasters is £35 which is your membership and speech books. Depending which club you join there is usually a small monthly club fee which goes towards venue hire etc. Ours is £10 month. The Treasurer in the club should sort it out for you

Dilidali Sun 02-Mar-14 09:49:48

Thank you Mags!

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