How to Be Heard When You Are Quiet – Breaking the Silence


I’m always fascinated by how people interact in group settings. Have you ever noticed that a lot of times certain people tend to dominate the conversation, while others go particularly unnoticed?

I’ve been guilty of assuming that the ones not talking are probably just quiet people. But there is often a lot more going on.

If you are a quiet person, I think you will enjoy some of the great ideas I’ve pulled together and tested myself the next time you are out in social situations (like a business meeting) where you having a hard time getting a good idea across to those around you.

Let’s face it nearly all social groups present a social hierarchy for lack of a better word. 

Naturally there are members of the group who are respected more because of their accomplishments, status, physical presence, etc. These individuals tend to dominate the conversation when everybody’s having a group conversation. This can observed in many different types of any group situations. 

If you find yourself in a social setting and you can’t really get your point across, there could be a few reasons for that. 

  1. You don’t have a loud voice, tend to speak at a low volume, and you’re in a noisy environment.
  2. Your status within the group isn’t high enough, or you are not respected enough for people to listen to you. 
  3.  Maybe you’re not as articulate. Maybe you tend to mumble.
  4. You aren’t seen as having something useful to contribute.
  5. Others in the group are clickish or self-absorbed.

When it comes to getting people to listen to you, here’s how you turn what is typically a bad experience into a good time. I’m sure you will find your own way to implement what you read here, and it will help you whether you have a fear of public speaking or just have a quiet voice.

Real Life Key Strategies That Force Others to Listen and Cause You to Be Heard

  • Incorporate Hand Gestures
  • Strategic Eye Contact
  • Incorporate Moments of Silence
  • Change the Cadence Your Speech
  • Improve Voice Projection
  • Incorporate an Open Body Position That Takes Up Space

The Best Way to Encourage Active Listening

Last night, I went out with a close group of friends. We went to Outback. There were 14 of us sitting at a table. I sat near the middle of a long rectangular table. I noticed that conversations seemed to be going on to my right and to my left on each side of me, but I really wasn’t a part of any conversation.

I decided to try something that I had seen on youtube and see if I can command the groups’ attention at will.

First, let me tell you why I thought this was worth a try. Recently I stumbled across a YouTube video in which people were talking about how Keanu Reeves commands attention even though he has a quiet voice.

See source.

In the video, Keanu was using his hands extensively in order to take charge of the conversation.

Hmm. I thought that could be useful. I might try that.

Last night, I decided to tell a couple of stories with and without using my hands to illustrate. 

I quickly found out that without using my hands, my stories were stillborn. I couldn’t even hold the groups attention long enough to begin.

However, I noticed was if I used my hands in a way where I put them out in front of the group, it nearly required everyone’s eyes to be focused on my hands. Of course, I needed to make sure that my hands and body language matched up with the story I was telling. Easy Hack to Become A Powerful Part of any Conversation

I think we all know intuitively that great speakers and top presenters take little time to engage a group of people and seem to have an easier time shifting the views of others or providing deeper understanding of virtually any topic.

But, quieter members of group discussions can feel stuck, and these circumstances turn into stressful situations.

One of the things that I saw Keanu do in the video was point as if he were seeing something or someone in his story. It made it very visual and engaging.

I think there is most likely a deep biological impact that a non-verbal cue of “pointing” has on our subconscious minds.

I’d assert that our ancestors have used pointing as a survival mechanisms for many sitations.  

While I don’t have any research to support that, I have noticed that if I point at something virtually anywhere, in any environment. Inevitably, people that I don’t know begin looking to see what I’m pointing at.

So body language can absolutely be used to make you appear louder even if you have a naturally quiet voice and demeanor.  

Hands Down the Best Way to Be Heard

As I used my hands to illustrate my point, everyone became transfixed on what I was saying to them, even though, I was speaking in a relatively quiet, low voice. What do you know it works!

During the evening, anytime I wanted to share a story or comment on someone else’s story, I simply used my hands to initiate the intro to the conversation. 

I attempted to integrate my hand gestures into the stories. For instance, if I was talking about something round, I’d make circle motion with my hands. Anytime I went back to trying to communicate without my hand gestures, it was a fail.

So, one of the best things you can do if you feel like you are too quiet to be heard in a conversation that involves multiple people is use your hands strategically. 

In my research of this fascinating topic, another thing that I came across was that you could also use eye contact to hold attention. You can maintain eye contact in a way that also commands attention. Intense longer gazes can do the trick.

You can read all about using eye contact in this article I wrote.

However, this isn’t necessarily as effective in a restaurant setting when you’re all sitting at a table that is long, where you have people to your right and your left and across from you, and so on. In that environment, 

I definitely think that the approach using your hands will be most useful. Incidentally, if you see this posted anywhere other than confidence reboot’s site you will know it’s been reproduced without consent.

Also, by pausing with moments of silence can draw listeners in. I did not find it particularly useful though last night because of the noisy distracting environement we were all in.

I found I had to resort back to hand movement to pull people back in.

Dealing with a Quiet Voice and How to Improve Voice Projection

Another problem that people might be experiencing is that they have a soft voice or low voice.

I remember being in high school and in the choir. There were people that could sing so much louder than others. 

It really is based on our anatomy. Our volume is based on our loan capacity, and I don’t think this of our vocal cords, the way our facial structure is. 

I remember reading books that told me that really powerful singers tend to have a very barrel-shaped chest area. They could really help out the sounds.

I was never very loud. I spent a long time trying to learn to be louder. You can see some exercises that you can certainly use to increase your breath support and airflow. 

I don’t necessarily believe that loudness is the issue. If you are something from Boku problems, you may want to see your throat doctor and have them do an evaluation to see if there are some other things that might be going on like vocal notes or other problems that could be standing in the way of your ability to speak with people more clearly and authority to believe. 

Key Takeaway Points

  • The main takeaway from this section is that you should use your hands if you are in an environment that tends to be noisy and it’s difficult for you to be heard. 
  • If you’re in a smaller setting or a one in one, then use eye contact and pauses in your speech patterns to command attention and certainly don’t overlook the fact that you may need to improve or practice your speaking skills in general.

Practice that Will Improve Your Ability to Be Heard, Get Across New Ideas and Connect

I find that it can be a good thing to record yourself on video or practice in front of a mirror to really. It’s a really great way to get an idea of how new people might perceive you.

Alternatively you can recruit some of your closest friends family members or other supportive environment to practice filling the whole room with your voice and presence.You don’t necessarily have to make a loud noise or loud comment to command attention.

Your friends can help you pay attention to what matters and give you words of encouragement and constructive criticism.

Confidence, Quietness, and Being Shy (The Next Level of Communication)

Another important aspect to take a peek at when you are evaluating your ability to be heard if you’ve been required is just how shy are you? If you tend to stifle your own voice, then you may need to look at the mental aspects of what is holding you back. In some cases, it might be helpful to go back and think about yourself when you were a kid. 

Some mindfulness meditation has helped a lot of people make a great start towards improving any speech anxiety issues. It really doesn’t have to take that much hard work to make a huge improvement in this area.

Maybe you tend to be quiet, or maybe you had an experience that made you think you probably should not speak up in a group.

If you make an attempt to trace it back to the root, sometimes you can have a conversation with yourself or a therapist that will help you move some of that out of the way and improve your ability to connect with others.

Think of little kids. What do you see?

Typically, you might imagine excited, loud, free individuals who speak their minds and aren’t concerned with being too loud. Hence the term “Inside Voice.”

So, chances are you weren’t quiet from birth. Somewhere along the way, during your socialization process, you may have made a choice of whether or not you felt like your opinion mattered.

For me, I definitely remember the point where I became very shy. Unfortunately, I don’t recall what caused it. I do know that it kept me from wanting to be in front of a room or talk to adults. It was probably related to the fact that I tend to be a motormouth. If you can identify what it is that caused you to feel that way in the first place, then you can go to work on reprogramming your mindset around this.

A powerful way to do that is to write down on a piece of paper the following affirmation and make it a habit to repeat it to yourself multiple times a day:

I am so much happer now that I speak my mind openly and freely and others pay attention.

Once you decide that what you have to say matters and should be paid attention to, then you’ll be able to hold the space for yourself to be heard in a room.

Useful Ways and Mental Exercises for Better Outcomes When Engaging with Others

My final thought on the subject is that we are constantly calibrating and cultivating a relationship with ourselves.

This internal relationship really determines how we show up in our own world. If you look to contemporary clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson’s perspective on lying, you may gather that the biggest reason he says not to lie is that it would increase your own shame and guilt and change the way that you see yourself.

The most important thing that you can do for yourself is to cultivate how you relate to yourself. Imagine that there are two of you and that you had to get along in order to do well in life.

Hold Yourself Accountable But Stop Beating Yourself Up

According to Peterson, you might start by trying to be nice to the other self, the other part of us that tends to run the show.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be pretty hard on myself.

Sometimes I stop and ask the question, what would it be like I could treat myself a little bit more like I would treat a friend. Being kind to yourself opens you up to new possibilities.

If you don’t quite speak your mind or tend to be quiet and group conversations, start by not beating yourself up about it. With patience, cultivate new possibilities by using your body language is a powerful way to introduce the ideas that you want to share.

To summarize our discussion here, the most important aspect of making yourself heard when you are quiet is to let your body speak loudest first.

Your body will make the intro for you to be able to get your point across.

You can use your hands, your body position, your eyes and speech patterns together to command people’s attention.

The best body language that you can use is going to be open and large.

That will command the most amount of respect. The more space you can take up around you, the more you will draw people in.

Besides your body language, go to work on your vocal projection. There are many exercises that you can try in the privacy of your own home.

Finally, make sure that your relationship with yourself is a solid one. Be confident in who you are. The only way to gain confidence and respect is first to respect yourself.

I always recommend building confidence through the accomplishment of things that are important to you. The more you build this confidence muscle, the more access you’ll have to it.

Focus on winning at little things at first in your life. Maybe you decide to get all of your homework or laundry done. Little wins lead to bigger wins.

Paul Clukey

Paul is an author, business owner, online blogger, kite surfer, fitness enthusiast father of three, who loves personal development and spends his free time learning and implementing new concepts to grow personally and help others achieve success.

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