In the last TED talk by Julian Treasure, the master of sound, we saw 5 ways to listen better in this noisy world. In today’s brilliant video, he talks about how to speak so that people will listen. Well! I am sure Julian has no such problem since we all hang on to every word he says! Let me summarise the points he mentions in the video.
7 bad habits in communication that we should give up
He begins by talking about 7 habits that we should move away from. These habits make us less credible as speakers and people stop listening to us.
1. Gossiping: We don’t take gossipers seriously because we know 5 minutes later they might be gossiping about us.
2. Judging: It is hard to listen to people who, we know, are judging us and might find us wanting.
3. Negativity: We tend to not listen to people who only respond negatively. Don’t miss the response that Julian’s mother gives him when he innocuously says, “Today is 1st October”. Point proved!
4. Complaining: Julian says this is like “viral misery” and no one wants to listen to it.
5. Excuses: We all have come across such people and we have also been such people who always shift blame and never take responsibility.
6. Exaggeration: How would you describe something really awesome if you always embroider what you say?
7. Dogmatism: Confusion of facts with opinions also harms credibility.
4 powerful cornerstones of powerful speech – HAIL
He, then, moves on to talking about 4 powerful cornerstones of powerful speech. The simple acronym he uses is – HAIL. No, it’s not what falls from the sky. It refers to the word which means ‘greet or acclaim enthusiastically’.
He also adds words of caution – you don’t have to be 100% honest and tell someone how horrible they look. He also says that it is hard to wish people well and judge them at the same time.
Toolbox of vocal chords
Finally, he talks about the toolbox that we have in our vocal chords which we can use to speak to our advantage.
1. Register: Locate your voice – whether you talk from your nose, throat or go down to your chest. Speaking from the chest gives depth to your voice and is equated with power and authority.
2. Timbre: The way your voice feels. We like rich and warm voices. You can always develop this with the help of a voice coach.
3. Prosody: It is the sing song or metalanguage that we use to convey meaning. Prosody, intonation in simpler terms, is the opposite of monotone which no one is interested in listening to.
4. Pace: One can talk really fast in excitement or slow down for emphasis. Or use the third extreme – pauses and silences can also be powerful in speech without the need for filling them with umms and aahs.
5. Pitch: It could be high or low depending on the impact we want to have.
6. Volume: Loud or quiet. It is not a good idea to broadcast all the time in a loud voice.
The above toolbox can be used for important times like talking to people on a stage, proposing to someone you love, ask for a raise or a wedding toast.
Finally, no tool box works unless the engine is heated. And so Julian goes on to demonstrate 6 very simple exercises which can be done to warm up your voice, lips and tongue. This, he says, should be done before any important talking occasion.
Julian ends by envisioning an ideal world by asking – how would the world be if we created sound consciously, conceived sound consciously in environments designed consciously for sound? He also goes on to answer that such a world will be beautiful since understanding would be the norm.
How did you like the video? Do you have any favourite TED talks you’d like to share with the readers? Do drop me a link in the comments.