Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Introverted Voice

 
Turquoise Tanager watercolor postcard

About a few days ago, I realized that every time I am talking in a social situation or gathering with people I do not know well (not my close friends and family), I am talked over or the person I am speaking with suddenly just turns their attention somewhere else, while I am mid-sentence.

Since I am not the type who is constantly in social situations with strangers, I thought maybe I wasn’t being clear enough. But after paying a bit more attention to my communication style with strangers, I realized I am generally a very soft spoken person.




As a good introvert, I do not like to draw attention to myself in most situations and I absolutely despise show offs. But what dawned on me was how the introverted voice, or the introverted, is always associated with negative traits.
Nancy Daniel's, who wrote “The Official Guide to Public Speaking” and is the woman behind The Voice Lady, states that a soft spoken person does not appear to be confident, assertive, or self-assured. On the contrary, we appear to be “shy, introverted, and lacking in self-assuredness.” On her webpage, where she talks about Voice Training & Presentation Skills, she states that a soft spoken person needs to train their voice to “normal” levels (in American society). Because if “they” cannot hear us, “they” stop listening. 

Paradise Tanager Watercolor Postcard

I completely understand I live in the real world and that some level of compromise, on my part, will have to take place. But when she states that a normal voice should be heard from 5-6 feet away on a recording, I realize that I might never be able to speak “normally”. That volume is foreign to me in the sense that it offends my hearing, my sense of privacy, and my desire to be discreet (even though I am generally a very animated, goofy, bubbly type of person).


In a society (because there are several cultures where the introverted personality is the ideal) where the loud, the pushy, the bully gets the priority, how much does one compromise before you lose yourself?


P.S. as you may have noticed, I took down the Etsy shop. It's just not me and I want to stay true to myself. My art sells via word of mouth, so if you see something you like, just shoot me an email. :)
And I got a cold...:P Be around visiting everyone soon!

39 comments:

Sulky Kitten said...

I hear you! I always cringe when I'm beside someone who shouts every word out and I feel like stuffing my fingers in my ears. The words "loud and obnoxious" are often together for a good reason. Hope you feel better soon!

turquoisemoon said...

hahaha...I come from a long line of loud mouths. Every year for New Year, I resolve to speak softer. Never make it thru my sister's morning phone call. We find ourselves laughing so loudly.... :)Ya know...who cares??? Just be yourself. If they walk away..hmmm, then they're just rude.

My Little Corner said...

Well first - most people are very bad listeners so often even if you're loud you can lose the attention of others. I recall standing beside a friend who was telling a very interesting story, but slowly the group turned away from him as something else caught their eyes/ears so he kept talking but his story morphed into something about a duck and other rude things the duck was doing. Suddenly something he said was rude enough to bring one of the listeners back who said "wait, what?" And then he wouldn't repeat it. We had fun with it. It's not you, it's them. People are just bad listeners. Especially if their kids are in the room - you'll get dropped so fast if little Johnny does something cute/bad/etc....
Point number 2. I am a loud talker. It's in my family. Believe me I don't want to be. I tell myself before the event to keep it down, but it happens. Especially if it's loud in the room or someone else is loud. I've told myself that I'm not allowed to even whisper as I know my whispers are loud. More than once I've tried to make a comment to my husband in a social situation and everyone's heard - much to my embarrassment. Believe me, I'd rather be like you. You'll know exactly who your true friend are - those who listen to you!

My Little Corner said...

P.S. Get well soon

Gloria in CA said...

I try not to speak in a loud way because it really bothers me when I'm speaking to someone and they seem to be shouting out their words as if they are trying to hear themselves. I've noticed as of late that my dear husband is beginning to speak a little louder that he normally does???I wonder why? Love your birds, always inspiring.

ArtSings1946 said...

Greetings Ana, been having computer problems and won't be able to blog much at all for at the very least the next 10 days, but just wanted to let you know I miss you and your blog.

Love always,
Jan

Kristin said...

I can relate completely! I'm spoken over all.the.time and to me people are always screaming whenever they speak. I really can't understand this need to be loud.

Kristin

Cristiane Marino said...

Oi Ana,

Esse seu post despertou meu lado analista...
Questiono um pouco o que essa especialista disse. Talvez essa questão do treinamento do volume da voz, da impostação e etc. seja importante no mundo corporativo, em apresentações, reuniões e etc., mas não vale para tudo.
Toda conversa é uma via de mão dupla. Não é possível dizer que a falta de atenção do outro se deve ao volume da sua voz. Isso que você descreveu acontece muito comigo e eu não falo baixinho não...
O que acontece é que as pessoas têm cada vez menos disponibilidade para ouvir o outro, só querem falar, falar...quando ouvem algo, nem prestam atenção porque já estão elaborando a resposta que irão dar...
Não carregue esse peso, seja você mesma. As pessoas que realmente se importam com você irão te ouvir.
Agora, quando for o caso de defender seus direitos, grite se necessário.
Bjs

Kyra said...

It's interesting to me that you are thinking about this right now. I'm a bit different. I'm an introvert and shy, but I flip between saying nothing (and people thinking I'm a stuck up witch) or saying too much (and thinking I'm an idiot or whatever.) I have a social anxiety level that makes me dissect everything I said and feel bad about anything and everything I did. I got my hair done today, and spending that much time with someone was hard. I'm pretty sure I said and did things wrong. I think maybe I'm broken, or shouldn't be around others. My husband says I do fine, but I don't feel that way.

I am heard, usually, but I will say this: Even if you did speak up, it isn't likely that others would listen. Most people are intent on being heard and not hearing others. It's OK to just be you, because it's really all you have. It's good enough. ;)

Zena said...

I have been working with communication styles for a long time now (as this is one of the basic competence my students need). As far I am concerned, we must acknowledge our communication style, and stay true to it while improving those areas that prevent us from effective communication. This improvement must be done according our personal style of communication wich is deeply related to our personality and character, and even to our cognitive patterns.

As an introverted myself, and a teacher, I have had to learn to communicate better making the most of what I already had, and refining it, but I still am a reserved person and I have kept my essence

Zena said...

Hope you feel better soon xx

Red Shoes said...

I come from a big family... I tend to be a loud talker... I'm not sure if its from so many years of teaching in large classrooms, and speaking so as to be heard, or if my hearing has slipped a bit from quite a few years of playing guitar too loud through too big of an amp... but still, as I've said before, I am very much an introvert. I don't know if, in smaller groups, that what I have to say just isn't valued or what.

Just today at lunch, I had several people just start talking over me as I was mid sentence... I would just fade off... and after one person said what he wanted to say, he then asked me what I was saying, and I fell into the trap of saying, 'never mind, it's not important...'

*shrugs*

I do understand though...

~shoes~

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I understand completely, Ana. You and me both would get passed over in a social situation...:) In any case, it isn't only you being soft spoken. Some people are loud and you can't hear anyone else speaking. And some people like attention, so they tend to hog up the conversation.

Lucy Chen said...

Hi Ana. I'm an introvert, too. Growing up in China, when I was a small child, my dad had always asked me to be "more brave". And then as I became a young teen, I was good at school and pretty popular, so I'm listened to even when I spoke softly. That's when my confidence grew. And I also think that in China then (10+ years ago), it was less americanised and thus show offs are not looked upon. Then I moved to Australia when I was 15. I went to high school, university and worked in finance. It was at uni and more so at work, that I experienced what you described in this post.

Robin Larkspur said...

It is difficult to be in a social situation, especially if one does not know many of the people; making chit chat is next to impossible. Add to that the loud talkers and the ones who dominate conversations or interrupt....it makes for uneasy times.
Another side of this loud issue is that some people are hard of hearing and are not aware of it. Then tend to compensate by talking quite loudly themselves. Something to keep in mind.

Riot Kitty said...

That last question is so true. I often don't talk much around my family, because they're constantly interrupting or talking over me - and then they ask why I'm not saying anything!

I think I am living proof that you can be an introvert and self-assured (though we all have doubts sometimes, because that's human, right?)

Feel better soon!

Julie Ford Oliver said...

Love your colors.
Anyone who can call off a party of 15 is a hero of mine.
Just because you are an introvert does not mean you are a doormat.

Jane said...

This whole subject is so interesting. All my life I have struggled with feeling like I wasn't being 'heard.' I don't know how anyone (expert or not) can just blanket categorize soft-spoken people as lacking in confidence - and on the flip side, nor is everyone who's speaking voice is more within the 'normal' range necessarily self-assured! Personally I am drawn to soft voices - I especially find soft-spoken men very sexy ;)

Lorraine said...

'I can't hear a thing you've said' boy have I heard that before can you please speak louder (I thought it was loud voice) so the way out: sore throat, it works

foxysue said...

I love you introverted Ana, because we speak the same language softly, but we hear each so very distinctly.

I loved what you noticed about my post, the 'eyes', I never saw those sad eyes, I'm going back to put a smiley face under them. Watch for the post!

BTW I agree with you, if you don't need to sell your art as many do, then I'm sure your art will still find its way to good homes! For a price! x

Susan said...

Hi, thank you for your nice comment on my blog. I really like your work. Beautifull and colorfull.

Jacquelineand.... said...

Feel better soon Ana!

I think it's true, in this culture at least, that people are so busy deciding what they'll say next that they have no time to listen unless something grabs their attention...like a loud voice.

Although my volume control has become less precise in the last few years, my voice has always been pretty soft. Loud voices and noises give me a headache so I try to be considerate of others...one 'trick' I learned was to take a step closer to the person I'm speaking with if it seems their attention is beginning to wander and what I'm saying is important. When the important part is over I can step back again since their attention was re-engaged when I needed it to be.

alteredstatesstudio said...

i know exactly how you feel, except, that i probably still would not have wanted to upset the apple cart, and still would have gone through with the supper...crazy- i know right?! i feel like i am usually the quiet good listener; the one who laughs when appropriate and only speaks when directly spoken to....but, otherwise, is standing by quietly.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

As a fellow introvert, this happens to me frequently as well. I am very soft spoken and generally introspective, so many times people don't even know I'm there lol.

Em said...

I have someone in my life whose volume is set on loud and it's because he's in the radio biz. He just never turns off his radio voice. On the upside, he ennuciates quite well. ;)

As far as someone takling over me, I end up fantasizing about taking out some 3x5 cards and a pen and taking notes when someone does that. And if they ask what I'm doing, I could say, "Well, this is more important than what I was saying, so I figured I'd take notes." I have never done it and can't imagine doing it, but the fantasy is fun.

bella lullo said...

Il tuo uccellino turchese è bellissimo!
Bellalullo

gigihawaii said...

Hmmm. I think I tend to be loud and so is my hubby. Lol. Maybe because we both used to be teachers and had to be loud for everyone in the classroom to hear us? Don't know.

Ariel said...

I can relate to this. I'm not a soft spoken person in front of my family but when it comes to people whom i've to address in a shop or in my son's class i talk that way and you know what, some think that i'm as frightened as a rabbit and i just hate that. well, that's me and I'm not going to change it to suite others assumptions.
Get well soon Ana
Susan

Beth said...

Ahh..I can definitely relate to this. It happens to me all the time. When I was younger, I tried harder to be what people seemed to like---more talk and louder. But as I've grown older, I've decided that I'll just be me. The world needs more listeners anyway. And, besides, when folks no longer see you, you can eavesdrop to your heart's content. A wonderful thing for us writers... :-)

Jess said...

I too have been thinking I talk too quietly. Many times people ask me to repeat what I've just said and it makes me feel self conscious the second time. How very rude those people are who turn their back on you in mid sentence. They could of course, be a litt :)xx

beth said...

i'm not an introvert at all and still find people turning away or being talked over...personally, i think it's them not us....as they are rude !!!

Nadia said...

O my, another thing I can relate to! What I hate the most is that when you are not talking loud or you are just listening, people assume you are not that intelligent! I don't like to speak loud and I don't like pushy people who already have an opinion of you without knowing you! So don't change I would say, just learn to do it your way!
Love the birds and the colours you used!xoxo

Magic Love Crow said...

I love your birds! They are so beautiful! About the speaking, be true to who you are. Maybe you might have to talk a little louder? But, don't change ;o)

Kathy, PaperPumpkin said...

Hello, Ana! It is so wonderful to find you here tonight. I just now got back from 16 straight hours in the ER, waiting to get a room opened for my Mom...and when I opened my blog, it made me smile peacefully tonspend a moment with you. I describe myself as a Behind the Scenes person.others like being in the limelight, great, I'd rather support in back. Confidently.

Sherri B. said...

Ana, you're always so spot on with your introvert observations...I also experience what you do when talking in social settings (with acquaintances and/or strangers). Our society has deemed that the extrovert way is the "right way", and it's a shame that we introverts are sometimes made to feel as if how we interact in the world doesn't meet the standards.

Ileana said...

Beautiful birdie. I bet you he doesn't worry about the sound of his tweet. I think we can learn a lot from this cute little feathery guy.

Cindy D. said...

Well, I'm not an introvert, though I'm a bit of a hermit! But when I finally do get out in the world I suppose I am more of an extrovert. But I agree with those folks above who said it is not you, it is the bad listeners/rude people!

And I have to disagree that there is some general wisdom that introverts have all these negative traits. I call bunk! Introverts are often kind and thoughtful, don't say much unless they actually have something to say, and other very nice qualities, too.

Shushu is adorable! And I love the vibrant color in your turquoise tanager!

Shaharoh said...

People also fail to listen and you shouldn't have to change your voice to heard - considerate people who are interested in what you have should be courteous and listen. I'm an outspoken person but in crowds or among a strange few, my words can get lost among someone's need to control and/or ignore (be rude)the conversation. This is when I add them onto this shrew, mental list of people in my head that I know are a waste of my mental space and remind myself that I must be forceful when I speak with them or to limit my interaction. xoxo, Introvert:)

Jeanie said...

First, stunning birds. I DO love those bright blue birds!

Second, your new template is lovely. I've been wanting to change mine and terrified I will lose my blog if I do. I like the links at the top -- I hope that's one of the blogger templates; I may try to find that one.

Finally, yes -- I know what you mean. Sometimes I say things and no one is paying attention and I realize I didn't say them loud enough to make a ripple. Go figure. Hope you are better now!