How many times have you experienced someone out-talking you? It is probably even more remarkable if you are a girl or a young woman, however everyone has had some sort of trouble when it came to expressing themselves correctly in order to be heard. Indeed, there were probably times when your inability to be heard has led to miscommunication, which, in its turn, has led to even bigger problems.
This all starts in the classroom, where a child interacts with strangers for the first time and tries to figure out some patterns of communication with them. Learning to use your voice correctly can change your life for the better and make you avoid many mistakes.
In the Classroom
A lot of shy introverted students suffer from the fact that their extroverted classmates get more points for active participation. This can be even more painful when an introverted student realizes that he or she had some good points to mention, and the extroverted student kept talking about nonsense and used up all of the time or stolen a perfectly good chance.
If your teacher is insightful, they will probably invent some better ways for all students to be heard, but usually the situation is far from the ideal and does not involve people who have troubles with expressing themselves in the right way. If this is the case, learn to make your point clear.
You can practice talking in front of the mirror or read out loud. This will help you with such problems as stuttering or an overly low voice. Another way is to raise your hand any time you have something to say, and hence making it clear that you are polite and waiting for your turn, in comparison to the people who just wedge into the discussion uninvited. Make sure to mention the names of the classmates who talked before you, like “Following Martha’s point…”, “Just like Lucas said…”, as this will turn classmates’ attention to you.
In Casual Conversations
Sometimes we encounter miscommunication in casual conversations with friends. Even something as simple as deciding where to go to eat or what movie to watch can lead to the conflict if your friends are not ready to listen to your suggestions, and if you are not ready to listen to theirs. If you do not like spicy food, say so clearly, instead of dropping hints that Mexican food is not ideal for lunch.
In other cases, when we need to share something, our friends and family cannot hear us or simply refuse to do it. Find the right time and place to discuss your problems. If you want to talk about your fears or troubles at work when your partner is also busy or exhausted, you will not be heard the way you want to. Make sure to find the right time for any conversation.
During Work Meetings
When we are in a situation that requires negotiations at work, make sure to talk loud and clear enough. If, for example, you are a barista, it will be hard to make your client’s drink, if they cannot request it correctly.
At work meetings, it is important to know your place. You do not have to talk in mysterious ways or drop hints. Use simpler language and express what you need to say in a way that your partner will know what you want. Make sure to listen to the other party and use the same types of words and mimic their gestures: so they will understand that you have the same level, that you are equal to them.
If someone out-talks you, do not let it slide away. Say “I have not finished making my point” loudly to get the message across. Do not be afraid to sound impolite, because it is your right to express yourself. However, do not interrupt others and show what good conversation skills you have by behaving appropriately.
While Saying No
Sometimes the hardest thing is to turn someone down. People do not like it, and may even consider your negative answer as a joke. Do not be appalled. You have every right to deny a favor or refuse to help someone if you cannot do it. Instead of saying something diplomatic along the lines of “It is not the best time”, “I would happily do it, but…”, just learn to say no and state your reason. Especially if it is an unreasonable or unfavorable request, you do not have to feel remorse for not agreeing to take some obligations. Here are some other reasons and ways to say no.