The Soft-Spoken Voice: Is It a Strength or a Weakness?

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Many years ago when I first started my business, I had a most eye-opening experience that I will never forget. It happened on a consecutive Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, I had been working with a group from Nortel in voice and presentation skills. One of the men from the group told me that, in the previous week, he had found others listening to him. That had never happened before. Apparently for Jim, whenever he was in conference, everyone talked over him.

The next day I had a private client by the name of Marie. Marie told me that during the previous weekend, she had had her family over for dinner and she held the topic of conversation at the table. In Marie’s case, that had never happened before because she admitted to me that in the past, her family had always talked over her.

What was wonderful to see in both cases was that Jim’s and Marie’s self-confidence had increased tenfold just by increasing their volume of sound. This was a new experience for me as my prior experience had been teaching voice to broadcast journalism students. They came in with big egos and big voices. Being soft-spoken was not an issue.

The discovery for me was that those who are soft-spoken often think they are being talked over or interrupted because what they are saying is of no value when in fact, that is not the case.

  • If you are soft-spoken, you are being talked over because those of us with bigger voices tire of straining to hear you, tire of asking you to repeat yourself. And we will take over the conversation.

The ability to speak in a normal level of sound is possible for every single person. Is learning how to speak in a normal volume of sound worthwhile? Only if you want others to hear what you have to say!


The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic and watch Nancy as she describes Your Volume Control.