Yes, there are times when the sound of one’s voice takes us by surprise…
Just last week, I was speaking to a concerned colleague who called me for help. During a tense and demanding conversation, her voice, as she put it, ‘dropped out.. was ‘missing in action’.
“It has never happened before, Sandra! It just fell away, disappeared, turned into a strangled croak and then… there was an embarrassed silence…” ……… “We’ve all been under pressure at work. It has been challenging and people are tired and cranky. So could that be the cause?”
Yes it could… and it could also relate to other factors – dry, cold air, changes in air conditioning systems, also, shifts in the way that the speaker was standing, sitting, holding tension in her throat, breathing, swallowing, the list goes on…
So what, if anything, can be done about it!
Knowing that things could go off track during conversations, being aware of changes in your state, noticing that your energy levels are falling or rising, picking up changes in your communication partner and how they are focusing on, drifting from or rising to a challenge… all and any of these types of energy interactions can play out or play up in your voice.
Your level of awareness as and when you speak will help you manage your voice and its potentially distracting behaviours.
Awareness is not self-consciousness. Awareness is a neutral state of noticing. It is central to you being able to pick up on a change in your voice’s quality as you are speaking.
We explored that it was her ability to notice which concerned my colleague. The ability to tune in, to relate to that aspect of her voice and its unique behaviours which she experienced in that particular spoken word context, that caused her concern.
Being able to notice, enables someone, anyone, to:
- take a neutral stance
- dispassionately observe
- gather information
- assess the situation
- recover equilibrium
- move towards a solution
Try out these tips and let me know what you discovered about your voice’s response to awkward and challenging situations.