Recently I attended an excellent seminar with peak performers from around the country, many in the financial services industry. Although annual incomes were never discussed, there is no doubt in my mind that most were earning in the mid-to-high six figure range and at least one in seven figures. These were exceptionally bright entrepreneurs from both coasts and Middle America.
Each had a powerful story to share and all are role models in their respective communities and industries.
But there is one habit that many of them could use to become even more effective. They could talk louder.
Not too long ago, I attended a presentation seminar in which the facilitators urged us to ‘Think Seven’ when presenting in front of a group or sharing in a round table discussion. The term comes from the fact that we all speak at a certain level with a ’1′ being a borderline whisper and a ’10′ being borderline obnoxious (my words–not theirs).
“We suggest that you speak in the 6-7 range,” they suggested. “And although it may not be comfortable for you, that’s not the issue. The issue is to make it comfortable for your listeners.”
They went on to say that many people tend to speak in the 3-5 range and it can be very difficult to hear them.
Allow me to speak for myself in this issue as someone who has been wearing hearing aids for awhile:
IF YOU DO NOT SPEAK LOUDLY ENOUGH, YOU WILL NOT BE HEARD AND WE WILL NOT TELL YOU. RATHER, WE WILL EITHER PRETEND THAT WE DID OR NOT BOTHER MAKING ANY PRETENSE THAT WHAT YOU SAID WAS UNDERSTOOD.
At this meeting of approximately twenty attendees, a gentleman ten years my junior stated that he has recently had a major hearing loss so he would appreciate it if folks would talk at a normal non-shouting, non-whispering level.
I thanked him for his forthright honesty and told the group about the ‘Think Seven’ rule.
Interestingly, for a short time, almost everyone got up to the 6-7 range. However, within a few hours (the conference lasted three days), almost every soft-spoken man and woman reverted to their original style.
True to form, instead of reminding them after awhile, I began to quit listening (as I am sure did the gentleman who brought it up in the first place). Certainly, I missed some worthwhile information but not enough to be a pest about it.
Your reaction might be, “That’s your problem, buddy. You are the one with the hearing problem.”
I offer a different opinion, “It’s the problem of the presenter who is trying to sell or get a message across.”
Plain and simple, people don’t hear what they don’t hear. When that happens, in most cases it will end up being more of a loss for the speaker than the intended recipient.
My suggestion? Take your listener into consideration. Sit up (or better yet, stand up) straight, ask if you are being heard, get out of your comfort zone and think of yourself as a performer.
You will be amazed how ‘Thinking Seven’ will be appreciated by those who struggle hearing the 4′s and 5′s! Better yet, your message will not be lost in thin air and your chance of getting that sale will be greatly enhanced.
Bill Sheridan—SHERIDAN WRITES, LLC
Popularity: 6% [?]