Good Listeners Don’t Shout

The feeling conveyed in your voice makes more impact and is remembered longer than the words actually spoken. That’s why you can’t always recall the exact words spoken, but clearly remember how you felt. The tone (its pitch, volume and clarity) all combine to give a listener clues about the way the message needs to be interpreted, conveying your mood and meaning of your statement.

Yelling or raising your voice can be a method used to control the situation and dominate another person. You get loud to force the other person into submission and listen to what you have to say. This in turns tells them to comply with what you want or there will be punishing consequences. However listening rarely occurs during a submissive state. Rather the ‘listener’ is waiting for the speaker to pause, in order to lash out with a rebuttal to defend against this verbal attack. For many, shouting justifies the use of force, as they respond to a verbal assault with physical force in an attempt to preempt the threatening behavior by another person. Therefore, it is important that you regulate your voice to a volume or tone that does not imply aggressive behaviors or dominance over the other person.

You may not be conscious of the kind of body language signals you send out, yet unconsciously you are able to interpret the body language of others. You rely on your ‘gut’ intuitive feelings for this process of interpreting. All movements, in your face, with your head, your legs, your feet and all body parts, combine to make your gestures, your body language. If somebody comes closer to you than you are used to, invading your personal space, he can give you an uneasy feeling. You feel inclined to take a step backward to establish the original personal space with which you are comfortable again. In general, people need a certain amount of personal space to feel optimally o.k. Stand too close and you’ll be marked as “Pushy” or “In your face”. Stand or sit too far away and you’ll be “Keeping your distance” or “Stand offish”. Neither is good, so observe if in a group situation how close are all the other people to each other. Also notice if you move closer to someone and they back away, you’re probably just a tiny bit too much in their personal space, their comfort zone. “You’ve overstepped the mark” and should pull back a little.

You must use your tone to ensure you are not being provocative or antagonistic. Have you ever taken a road trip and gotten lost? You don’t know where you are and feel a bit confused on what to do. Do you stop and get directions? Do you turn around? Do you pull over for the night? Do you keep going? You’re concerned, confused, and unsure what direction to go. That is the tone to use, confused. Really you don’t know what’s going on and why the other person is making these false accusations. You speak slow and softer, but deliberate and clear.

Yelling boss image available from Shutterstock

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Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

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