Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Empty vessels make much noise

I have always found during my official career that persons who speak softly commanded greater respect than the loud ones. Perhaps the soft manner gives an impression of wisdom, conviction and seriousness unless proved contrary by the words spoken. Even in discussions during meetings, people who normally speak softly raise their voices when an opposite view point is expressed as if loudness of tone would impart greater validity or strength to their views. This in turn is met with louder outbursts reducing the meeting often to Babel of voices. We are witness almost daily to such undesirable trait in the several panel discussions or debates taking place in TV. On the other hand if the voice is kept low and not loud, it will generally create a soothing and conducive climate with others also following suit. The discussions would then be meaningful and participative and everyone would turn to be attentive. If you watch TV carefully you will see really successful and great people speak slowly and softly carrying their points across effectively while loud people who rush their words exhibit lack of confidence.

Although one’s voice is determined at the time of birth, I think a soft voice can be developed with some effort and practice. A loud voice sticks out like a sore thumb in a crowd. Generally a loud voice is associated with boorish nature, anger, dissatisfaction or being upset or agitated. A loud man is some what akin to a bull in china shop. A streak of aggressive behavior, impatience or dominating nature is associated with such persons unless accompanied by a big twinkle in the eyes. This large smile does not come by easily to all. As a result their listeners tend to become wary or equally agitated and invariably defensive. They will not open up resulting in many contracts for selling or buying falling through not because the offers were unattractive but because the mode of speaking put off the parties.

When you overreact to a given situation, become emotional and tend to increase the volume of your speech unconsciously, it is better to imagine a person whom you hold in high esteem and whom you wish to impress is watching the proceedings. Just imagine your mentor is by your side or you are in a place where soft music is played or in a restaurant with candle lights. This will immediately tame your voice and change your perception of the matter being discussed. We have a desire to be seen as reasonable, fair and considerate. This exercise of imagining, someone whom we venerate is present in the place or being in a place like hospital or library where silence is desirable, would have a calming and restraining influence. This is akin to two young siblings always quarreling behaving well at the dining table in the presence of dad. Gradually speaking softly would become a second nature.


  1. Agreed!!speaking softly as a habit can be cultivated and yes it does command greater respect!!!!!.

  2. In concurrence with you.
    It is necessary for all to cultivate the habit of talking softly, though difficult, it commends more respect.

    I like the posts on his blog, the values communicated.

  3. Dear KP:) Thats a wonderful post. I have been trying unsuccessfully to reduce my voice and talk softly. Thanks for the in depth analysis. Shall try to imagine my mentor with me, whenever i speak:) Inspiring writer!

  4. Hi, Happy Birthday and many more joyous returns....

  5. Very interesting. In some cases though, sometimes it's the message and not the messenger that catches attention. Otherwise, indeed a cool calm and collected tone of voice makes for a better impact on the audience... rather than a loud, coarse, unpleasantly booming vocal prowess.