Have you ever been told that you’re “too quiet?”
Have you been asked to “speak up” throughout your life?
Have you been called “meek” or been told that you “have no impact” when you speak?

Many of my clients have heard feedback along these lines – often more than once. I myself heard things like this many times in my teens and twenties. Getting louder can seem impossible, or make us feel like we’re not ourselves. Some clients have even tried on their own to pump up their volume. Without a bit of training to recapture the natural expressive capacity we were all born with, attempting to “speak up” often involves straining in the throat, feeling or sounding like we’re yelling. Here are some helpful, alternative approaches to address the feedback that the world is giving you …

You Are Needed
First things first … If you have a Quiet Presence – hallelujah! The world needs you. What I’m about to share is not about changing you into someone loud, boisterous, or aggressive.  It’s not about trying to make you someone you are not. It’s about expanding the resonance of the true you in order to enhance your impact as a leader.

Use Air as Fuel
As my good friend Alexis Ryon-Melcher once said, we’re often taught to RAISE OUR VOLUME in order to be heard. Let’s let that go for the moment. Instead, let the breath do the work (with a little help from your core muscles). Try increasing the volume of your torso: Inhale and fill your body up with air, then speak using that air to nourish your speaking voice.

Notice how it feels to let your voice “ring out” in a space. Notice how it feels to express and make sound with that kind of openness and fullness.

Explore Your Hidden Motivations
Next, get deeply honest with yourself about all of the things influencing your quietness. What Soul Suckers lurk in the background of your tendencies? Are you uncomfortable taking up space or being seen & heard? Is there a little voice saying, “Who are you to speak up?”

Some of us were told at a young, impressionable age that, “Children should be seen and not heard.” We were given messages, sometimes rather subtly yet insidiously, that there isn’t enough space for everyone. We were taught to take up only a fraction of the space in order to make sure there is enough room for others. It’s possible that some of your quiet tendencies stem from an unconscious, habitual desire to hide. What would it mean for you to maintain your quiet presence while allowing yourself to be seen, felt and heard?

Step-by-Step, Inch-by-Inch
Over time, using that nourishing breath, gradually expand how much you let your voice “ring out”.  Intend to include everyone in the room with you with your body language and your volume.  Give yourself permission to take up space.  It might feel uncomfortable or even dangerous at first.  Fine your compassionate edge, and keep growing it bit-by-bit and day-by-day.

Keep in mind, this kind of growth can take time – and it’s worth the effort.

With Love & Passion,
Lauri Smith, CEO
Voice Matters
(an Introvert and HSP with a mission)

Lauri SmithLauri Smith, a member of the San Mateo, CA chapter and the CEO of Voice Matters, is the author of Your Voice Matters: A Guide to Speaking Soulfully When It Counts.  Known as “The Voice Whisperer,” Lauri's passion is elevating leaders’ voices and consciousness, which then transforms and amplifies their impact in the world.   She's worked with thousands of individuals and corporate teams to connect to their deeper purpose and empower innovation – enabling them to speak from their authentically compelling selves when it matters most.  She helps Leaders do more than communicate, she helps them move people.