04 July 2019 by Foysol Meare

Speak Louder: Start Owning Your Words for Instant Confidence, Presence and Respect

Turn up the VOLUME to get this party started! (Doesn't look like he's mumbling or muttering).

If I gave you one minute to identify all the confident people in a room, how would you do it? Charisma, body language and social-proof are rich areas for clues, but nothing beats the immediate, penetrating sign of a loud voice.

How can it be so simple?

Since everyone can hear them, loud people are owning their words. Implicitly, they're saying ‘I’m so confident of my reality (my view on an external subject, my feelings etc.) that I can deal with being challenged on it’. In other words:

I give more of a shit about what I think of myself, than what others think of me The internal belief of a confident person

The opposite is true for shy people. They speak quietly to mitigate being challenged because they value other’s opinions of them above their own. Confident people are deliberate with their words, but shy people mumble and mutter because they’re too afraid to stand-by and own their words.

I’m writing this article because I’ve made these observations in many scenarios, including coaching sessions with my clients. I also know how quick and easy it is to reap the massive rewards of loudness.

The immediate benefits of loudness will shock you:

  • Feel more confident and better about yourself
  • Clear communication. It trains you to be more precise with your words
  • It’s impossible to mumble or mutter if you’re loud
  • Receive more attention and respect from others
  • Your stories become more interesting, your jokes become funnier
  • Women find you more attractive
  • And countless more

“But I’m shy socially and around women, it’s going to be difficult for me to start being loud right away.”

It may be challenging, but you don’t have to wait until you’re more confident to start talking louder. Instead, use the psychological effect of reciprocity to help you.

Try this right now. Sit up with a good posture, looking ahead and smiling. Notice the immediate change in emotions. Feel happier? That’s reciprocity in action, in the space of a few seconds. Reciprocity represents the cyclical relationship between behaviours and emotions. Usually you smile when you are happy, but the reverse can also be true.

The same effect applies to speaking louder and confidence. Although it’s true that confident people speak loudly, the reverse is also true. You can speak louder and FEEL the positive effects of confidence right away.

How to speak louder?

Nervousness makes people speak from the throat. As well as causing poor tonality, this lowers the volume. To speak louder you need to engage the diaphragm, or in other words, speak from your belly.

Easy way to feel diaphragm engagement:

  1. Stand up straight with good posture, eyes looking straight ahead. (It’s difficult to engage the diaphragm if you have poor posture).
  2. Find a reason to make yourself laugh! Focus on real, belly laughter.
  3. You’ll feel a muscle at the top of your abdomen engaging. That’s the diaphragm.

Now that you know the feeling of belly/diaphragm laughter. Use this feeling to speak loudly from the same point in the belly. When you get this right, it’ll feel like a confident, deep and resonant voice; you’ll recognise it.

Once you can do this reasonably, it’s time to practice and calibrate it. Try this:

  1. Ask a friend to stand facing you, one metre away.
  2. Say aloud: ‘Do I sound confident?’ using the diaphragm. Keep raising your voice each time. Play with different volumes until it sounds confident to you both. You’ll be surprised by how loud you should be.
  3. Step back one metre. Repeat.
  4. Step back another metre. Repeat.

This’ll help you understand how loud you should be when speaking to people at different distances. Notice that you’ll need to be even louder when there’s background noise (e.g. a bar with music, or networking event with people talking).

That’s all you need to start speaking louder in everyday situations. Although a bit awkward at first, with consistent practice it’ll become normal. My students are shocked at how positively people respond to them when they speak louder. Personal development is often very difficult where we must grow through difficult challenges. This isn’t one of them. This is very low hanging fruit that anyone can cultivate immediately to great effect. It’s no stretch to say that you can change your life by changing your voice.