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I am loud. My whole family is loud. I have created children that like to talk and do life loud. We have volume issues. I like to consider this a gift; however, the more opportunities I get to speak in front of people, the more I am learning that my voice is my most trusted instrument in my leadership.

Daily I have an audience. It can be a one on one conversation, a small group, a high school boys sports team of 150, or even a church full of people. I need to know my audience. I must know how to communicate to these people in a manner that is direct, focused, and effective. I want to speak powerfully so people will listen. 

We can all agree that there are many different styles of speaking. I subscribe to a number of Podcasts and Youtube channels that are full of leaders who communicate in different ways. However, there are some universal and timeless truths to speaking effectively. One speaker I recently had the pleasure of listening to was from a TED talk by Julian Treasure. This post is in direct influence of his research. You can check out his website by ClLICKING HERE

7 Habits we need to move away from when speaking:

1. Gossip

When listening to gossip about someone else, you know the same person will be gossiping about you when you are not there. It also showcases insecurity. 

2. Judging

Gives the impression they are above you when casting out judgement. They are establishing themselves as unjustified authority. 

3. Negativity

"The sun is out" - I'll probably get a burn and then cancer. No fun. We also tend to believe the negative things people say about us, so in turn, we avoid them. 

4. Complaining

People that complain are not happy people. We do not care to listen to people that are unhappy. Furthermore, complaining is contagious - it's easier to find things to complain about when you are around people who are complaining. 

5. Excuses

Nothing is ever their fault. There is no ownership or accountability. Julian Treasure says that these people have a "blame thrower" and it hurts everyone around them. 

6. Exaggeration

You can lose credibility or be looked at as inauthentic. If you're not careful, exaggeration can turn into a lie. We don't want to listen to people that lie. Click Here for my post on Exaggeration. 

7. Dogmatism 

This is when there is confusion between the facts and your opinions. An example of this is a conversation on politics. Everyone has that one family member that you loathe talking to because all they talk about is their view on politics. Typically what they lack in factual knowledge they make up in passionate speech.

So what do we do? 

Here are 4 cornerstones that can help make our speech more powerful in the world:

Think H.A.I.L. - defined to greet or acclaim enthusiastically  

H - Honesty - to be clear and straight 

A - Authentic - be yourself

I - Integrity - your words and actions align

L - Love - relate and care for others

The words you use and the way you speak will make you someone worth listening to. Your voice is an instrument that you must practice and tune. If you have something important to say, it is equally important for you to practice the way you say it.

- Whisper for important statements to draw someone in.

- Shout or raise the volume at the moments you want remembered for shock value.

- Know when to be silent, practice your pitch and pace of your words. 

- Speak through your diaphragm and chest and not your nose or throat. Lay on the ground face up and practice your speech. When speaking through your chest you will speak deeper and you will sound as if you have depth, power, and authority. For example, studies show we vote for politicians with lower voices. 

- Warm up your lips, mouth, and tongue before you speak. Youtube voice coaches for ideas.