I have recently been to some speech coaching with my softly-spoken daughter. It has been an amazing experience. It is so interesting to see how your voice tone and speed can make a big difference in the way your message is received.
And it started me thinking about how we use our voice with our children.
When we are trying to engage cooperation from our children, it can be really hard to get the tone right. Sometimes we are too aggressive; sometimes too whiney; and when we are expecting some resistance we often resort to asking very timidly.
It is definitely something to play around with and try out. If we want compliance, use a warm inviting tone. Sometimes even whispering instead of shouting can be a great way to get your children’s attention.
The speech coach gives Barack Obama as an example of how we should speak. He speaks slowly, pauses at the commas and fullstops, and the effect is very powerful.
Those of you who know me personally, know that I speak very quickly. Even when I was a kid doing school presentations, I was told to slow down. I have some theories why:
1. a self-conscious assumption that people will lose interest, so I must speak as quickly as I can
2. I can be quite passionate about my work and have so much I want to say – must work on those listening skills eh
3. if I speak quickly I can get out of there faster
The problem with speaking quickly is that children in particular are able to digest maybe half of what I am saying. I haven’t allowed any time for them to process what I am saying so they can understand, or what I am requesting so they can comply.
I think I am going to have to steal some of my daughter’s techniques and practise slowing down! It can be as simple as taking a big belly full of air between phrases and sentences.
And maybe we can all be more conscious of the tone we use. Bye bye to whiney, aggressive and timid. Ok?
I’m curious to hear what you think. Do you find it hard to use the right tone? Or the right speed? Share your experiences or comments on our Facebook page or send me an email.