The Style File - Issue 2

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THE STYLE FILE december 2011 issue 2

Savvy Communication Communication expert, Kay White answers your questions Here are 5 top tips to make sure you’re heard:

Dear Kay,

By nature, I’m a quiet person and

don’t like to be the centre of attention. How can I make myself

heard when necessary and ensure I have everyone’s full at-

tention? I often believe a decision being made within the team is the wrong one...

Kay: This is a tricky issue for so many people – women in particular - thinking it’s impolite to cut in or speak up and that to disagree will provoke a negative reaction towards us. Being heard doesn’t mean you have to be noisy or a spotlightseeker at all! It means you need to be able to grab and keep attention when you want to, particularly when you believe negative decisions are being made. Good for you for wanting to do something about it.


Imagine you have a volume knob on your voice and on a scale of 1-10, work out where your volume is now. 1 is whispering, 10 is shouting. When you want to get your point across, especially in a meeting, turn your volume knob up a couple of notches.


Rather than trying to rattle through your point to get it out quickly, try to keep a strong, steady pace to your voice. It helps people understand what you’re saying if they can process it whilst you’re speaking. This also gives you a few extra seconds to ensure you weave in words that attract attention.


Make your point about the team: what’s in it for them, what the costs are for them around the decision being made. Use ‘us, our, we, you, together we’ and very little ‘I, my, me, mine.’


Link what you want to say to what the team wants – or wants to avoid. Think of projects or outcomes and link to them using words like “knowing we’re working on ABC” or “understanding we all want to avoid.” This becomes a ‘hook’ for people because you’re thinking about them.


Use people’s names! So simple and powerful. You cut through a lot of ‘noise’ when you use people’s names, virtually waking people up sometimes.


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