1. Volume: Begin by examining your vocal volume to determine how you are perceived by others in social situations. For example, do you stutter and stumble upon your words, struggling to communicate? Perhaps you are the opposite: loud and brash, you let everyone in the room know that you are there. The ideal volume for speaking falls in between these two scenarios. Loud enough to be heard but not shouting at a person. Shouting at clients in Hypnotherapy practice is frowned upon! It’s not a relaxing way to communicate and it can scare people. Now, If I whispered and stuttered at my clients they would not understand what I was saying would they? If this is your problem, consider working with someone on self-confidence and voice projection. Joining a choir for example, is a great and fun way to learn voice projection and gain confidence in volume control and public appearances.
2. Tone: Tonality is important in communication. As a Hypnotherapist it is very important that my tone convey a professional, relaxed manner. I try to speak in even tones, with emphasis when required. Many women especially, have a habit of turning their comments into questions by placing the emphasis at the end of the sentence by raising their tone. To illustrate this tonality, I have created a simple question posed to a hypothetical woman named Mary. Question: “what did you do today Mary?” Answer: “Well, we went canoeing on the lake?” (raises tone of voice at end of sentence to create a question) This should be a statement but it has been turned into a question. Why is this wrong? By turning statements and facts into questions, the validity and merit of what you are saying becomes weakened. If your speech tonality reflects that you are looking for validation in what you are saying, it shows that you have a lack of confidence in your own words.
3. Breathing: Many people who are nervous in social situations unconsciously increase their breathing rate often to the point of sounding breathless (which they tend to be) It is important to remember to take several deep breathes if you find yourself becoming nervous or anxious. Even confident speakers can become breathless due to over exertion and excitement in relaying their point. Take the time to pause during conversations. It allows you to hear what the other person is saying, and if needed gives you time to get your breathing to a comfortable level again. Practicing speaking in front of the mirror is a good way to work on controlling your breathing as you can see how you are acting physically. Do you tense your shoulders? Do you hold your breath at any point? Watch yourself in the mirror and see what happens. Another option is to work with a close friend who will not judge you. You can then have discussions on a variety of social topics, while working on breathing and listening skills.
If you take the time to work on these 3 areas, you are well on your way to mastering the art of socializing comfortably and with confidence.
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